For anyone looking to small businesses to be a key driver of mobile payments there's good news and bad news. The good news is that the number of small merchants using a smartphone or tablet to accept credit card payments has almost doubled from 10% last year to 17% now. The key reasons cited for going mobile was the ability to accept payments from any location, though 63% say they have not replaced their traditional point of sale equipment with their smartphone or tablet system.
Coupons and deals keep hanging in as a driver of mobile commerce. Digging into the recent UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study by comScore, I noted that coupons are still near the top of the list for mobile shoppers. After the ability to buy online and then make returns to the store, the next aspect causing the likelihood to shop with a retailer is the pushing of coupons/promotions to shoppers' smartphones, by almost half (47%) or respondents.
Mobile commerce is seeping into all corners of shopping, no matter the product size or price. After I addressed a group of car dealers who wanted to know how they might leverage mobile in their dealerships recently, some of the questions revolved around the use of QR codes and pricing. Specifically, some dealers wanted to know if they should include car pricing on their mobile listings and whether they should bother to include QR codes on the vehicles themselves.
Over the last many months, I've been researching and writing a new book about the mobile commerce revolution and the dramatic shift in purchasing behaviors due to mobile and tablet penetration. As many of you are regular readers of this column, I wanted to let you know that the book, Mobile Influence (The New Power of the Consumer), was published today. In the book, we argue that the traditional sales funnel is being replaced by what I call the Mobile Shopping Life Cycle.
Replacements for relatively routine activities could be the drivers for some aspects of mobile commerce. A new study around mobile ticketing projects that more than 950 million phone users globally will use their handsets for mobile ticketing within five years. That would be an increase from about 460 million this year, according to the findings from Juniper Research.
What is the ultimate role of the mobile device in the hands of sales associates? For the last several days I've been pondering the recent Harris poll earlier showing that the majority (59%) of smartphone-armed showroomers prefer looking up product information on their phone to asking salespeople for help. While there may be anecdotal research indicating that shoppers typically ask a sales person to direct them to the location of a product, that majority mobile preference number still seems significant. We know from various studies that consumers want to shop and buy in a physical store, making brick and mortar …
Most of the focus around mobile commerce at retail revolves around everything that happens before the actual purchase. There's smartphone and tablet research, use of geo-targeting as mobile shoppers are out and about and all kinds of incentives near and at the point of purchase. But what about after the purchase is made? According to one indicator, retailers have some work to do to satisfy mobile customers after they buy.
Whenever projections are made, it often becomes news when the projections are either exceeded or fall short. This phenomenon is often magnified around mobile commerce, it being both so relatively new and running at such a high velocity of development globally. The latest NFC projections from Gartner are a good example. The big news, of course, is that the research firm now sees the growth of NFC payments as smaller than initially thought.
Many retailers are in the driver's seat for mobile commerce, but some of them may not yet realize it. Mobile shoppers are actively using retailers' websites to research and increasingly buy. The bad news for retailer is that many of their stores are still being used for showrooming, much to Amazon's benefit. In its second monthly report on mobile retail activity, m-commerce platform provider Branding Brand looked at the state of mobile retail activity compared to a year ago.
For mobile commerce, the tablet is getting bigger even as it becomes physically smaller. The wireless device seems to be edging front and center in the purchase stage of online shopping. A recent Forester Research study found that almost a third (30%) of U.S. tablet owners used the devices for shopping purposes, noting that a much smaller percentage (13%) of smartphone users have ever bought anything via their device. (Of course, there are many more smartphone than tablet owners, so while the percentage is lower the number is large.)