Mobile Commerce: A Big Year Later for Beacons, Payments, Agencies

What a difference a year can make in the world of mobile commerce.

As I prepare for the MediaPost annual OMMA mCommerce conference in New York later this week, I decided to take a look at last year’s program to see what has changed in a year.

OMMA mCommerce last year occurred just a few weeks before Apple released its latest operating system iOS 7, which launched iBeacon technology into the retail environment.

For many months following that announcement, beacons dominated mobile tech discussions at retail and numerous beacon trials were launched. 

At this week’s event, beacons will be front and center, with the opening keynote address by Ryan Craver, senior vice president and chief of staff at Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor.

Last week, the retailer launched the first, large-scale in-store beacon implementation in North America, as we wrote about here (Lord & Taylor, Hudson’s Bay Go Big on Beacons). We’ll hear the thinking behind that program, as well as some of the other mobile innovations happening in and around the stores.

OMMA mCommerce this week also will feature the details of how beacons were just used to increase sales for a brand, in a case study presentation by Hillshire agency BPN (Hillshire Taps Beacons: 20X Purchase Intent Increase).

And while beacons were barely on anyone’s radar a year ago, there will be an entire panel discussion at this week’s event, including early results of the beacon rollout at 100 stores on London’s Regent Street, from the CEO of Autograph, the company behind that program.

I’ll also bring a live beacon or two for anyone in the audience to try out.

The mobile payments discussion last year focused on the long-range implications for collecting money by mobile from buyers and sellers.

The discussion this Thursday will center on the mobile wallets and payments that are working today, including the new entrants with various payment methods.

Last year, the opening agency panel looked at targeting mobile consumers on the move. At OMMA mCommerce this week, agency executives will deal with moving past trials into the real money in mobile commerce.

This week’s opening agency panel, with top execs from Joule, The Media Kitchen, MEC North America, Meredith Xcelerated Marketing and Mobext/Havas, will focus on mapping the mobile strategy.

Last year, one of the discussions was about commerce strategies for smartphone and tablet behaviors. With a year’s more experience, executives from Sears, Isobar, Magnetic, Ansible Mobile and RetailMeNot this week will gauge the future of the mobile shopping app.

As yet another one-year benchmark, when I contacted agencies to participate in the conference last year, several said they or their clients were not involved in mobile commerce.

This year, the response was a total 180, with instant and extreme interest and desired participation.

Mobile commerce has evolved to a point that no one can ignore it. And it’s not going away.

Here’s the agenda for the conference. I hope to see you there (and  please do say hello!)

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