Moving Mobile Payments to Main Street

by Net Future Institute on July 9, 2014

By Chuck Martin

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.

One of the obvious reasons is that more people have mobile devices, creating a larger base.

There are two elements that drive growth of mobile commerce, one being the technology and the other consumer behavior.

I saw a great example of this over the weekend while shopping at Macy’s.

As I approached the register to pay for an item, I noticed what appeared to be a mobile-payment enabled terminal had been installed. It’s friendly notice Tap to pay. Pure magic at the top of the machine invites do-it-yourself payments.

I quickly loaded my Isis mobile wallet to pay and when prompted, tapped my phone to the device. No luck.

Since there was no line and I had a very friendly and cooperative sales associate, we decided to try again.

My phone seemed to execute the payment, but the terminal screen kept saying “Processing. Please Wait.”

The sales associate’s terminal showed no payment received, though my phone appeared to execute the transaction, vibration and all.

We tried again. Same result.

The sales associate was now becoming concerned that I would be charged multiple times for the item, though I assured her I would assume that risk.

After four tries, we moved to tapping a credit card. “Sometimes that works,” she said, though it didn’t work in the next few tries.

To pay, I then moved to the tried and true and swiped my credit card through the reader and paid.

Though I’ve had a number of similar mobile payment experiences there’s some silver lining here.

The mobile payment hardware finally is being deployed in many locations, no small feat in itself. And various payment methods are available for mobile phones, the other required link.

Once both components are readily available, which is happening, the full capability will exist.

The last link is consumer behavior.

Once salespeople become familiar with how to use the technology, mobile point-of-sales will at least have a chance to move forward in a big way.


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 internationally. He also addresses Social Media in Mobile.


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