By Chuck Martin
When it comes to mobile payments being used at checkout in stores, there’s still a long road ahead.
A new study shows that while many (28%) retailers plan to adopt some form of mobile POS (point of sale) by the end of this year, an even larger number (33%) say they have no plans to do so at all within the next three years.
That same study, by IHL Group, also found that tablet shipments will continue their dramatic growth in numbers, with specialty retailers deploying almost half (45%) of the tablets shipped to retail for POS.
Tablets are most popular in small independent retailers and large, mall-based specialty chains, according to IHL Group.
The report of the relatively slow adoption rate of mobile POS is somewhat consistent with other studies, including one by Javelin Strategy forecasting that only 13% of retail point of sales will be by mobile in five years.
This has some interesting implications for mobile shoppers, since it appears they’ll be dealing with a rather scattered number of merchants who can take mobile payments at checkout.
And a lot of the mobile POS will be happening in smaller stores, while many large retailers deploy the devices to sales associates to assist consumers as they shop.
A taxi I took from the airport into Manhattan today reminded me of how fractured the payments market still is.
In many taxis, drivers use various mobile payment platforms, such as from Square or Intuit, and with the small device plugged into their phone, swipe credit cards, with the receipt automatically emailed or texted.
My taxi today was somewhat automated, but hardly streamlined. While a decent vehicle (the air conditioning actually worked), the payment technology was anything by seamless.
On one screen, I had to agree to the charge and type in the amount of tip. Once completed, the driver had me swipe my credit card on yet another device, on the other side of the taxi. Then a printout came to the drive from another device in the front of the cab.
After all this, he handed me the tiny piece of cash register paper to sign, after which be printed yet another piece of paper as a receipt.
It stuck me that the driver was in the relatively same position as a number of retailers. A lot of moving parts and a bit clunky, but the driver got paid.
Mobile POS? Not so much.
Chuck Martin is Editor of the mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk column. He is the author of “Mobile Influence,” “The Third Screen,” and “The Smartphone Handbook.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute. Chuck Martin is a frequent Mobile Keynote Speaker and Mobile Marketing Speaker around the world.