Over the weekend, I had to catch up on some long put-off shopping trips so had yet another opportunity to do some more mobile commerce benchmarking. First up was a visit to the local camera shop, where my son, a professional videographer, frequently shops and needed to check on some new lighting equipment. I asked him how the prices were compared to online and at other stores, and he said he wasn't aware.
Following the money in mobile can be a bit of a chicken and egg exercise. As mobile shoppers bounce between smartphones and tablets, merchants are challenged to keep up with which activity is happening where, at least in terms of spending. Numerous studies show that more money is spent via tablets, though much of the shopping activity, especially in terms of research, is done on smartphones, often on the fly.
Scanning is about to get a bit more personal. Not as in giving away personal information, but rather in the form of receiving offers based on what was scanned and scanning history. It used to be that scanning a QR code led to a static website, as any consumer early to scanning codes knows.
More people are going to be paying in stores with their mobile devices. However, it's not going to happen in a very big way this year, based on new research. The overall size of the market of money moving through digital devices already is in the trillions of dollars globally, as I wrote about here yesterday.
The migration of money to the digital world continues unabated. The total value of digital payments this year is expected to increase from $2.5 trillion to more than $4.7 trillion by 2019, representing an average annual increase of 14%, based on new research.
Mobile payments predictions and mobile payments reality may be getting closer to each other. We regularly see research of increasing numbers of people making purchases from their phones and tablets. The phenomenon is quite global. For example, more than a quarter of online sales in the U.K. take place via smartphones and tablets, according to eMarketer. Mobile commerce in that market is projected to increase 65% this year, according to the research company.
Shopping with mobile is becoming both easier and a bit more complex. Consumers have a choice to use a retailer or third party app as well as well as to use that merchant's mobile website or someone else's.
While Amazon's new phone introduced yesterday received a mix of reviews, the commerce aspects of the phone can't be ignored. The Fire Phone has all the normal smartphone features, like a two-year contract (from AT&T), decent screen, good sound and all the other elements you might presume to find in a smartphone today.
Two of the big guns in the world of AR (Augmented Reality) are now one. The Blippar purchase of Layar today is yet another step along the road to mobile commerce. While Blippar is hardly a household name, it has served companies with names that are, including Domino's, Heinz, Wrigley's Gum, Stylist Magazine and Cadbury.
Ever since Apple introduced iBeacons last year, the technology and what it might do for retail has been the talk of the town. Some retailers have told me their early trials have hardly been a big success, since consumers must have a particular app loaded and have their smartphone's Bluetooth turned on while they pass near a beacon. Large, physical retailers already are challenged to get shoppers to download and regularly use their apps rather than their mobile website, which in many cases, seems a more natural transition for an online shopper.