By Chuck Martin
Small businesses sure are getting a lot of attention in the world of mobile commerce.
Square, the mobile payment platform, just introduced a digital marketplace for small businesses to sell their products nationally.
The virtual location, named Square Market, will allow people to open or extend their store and add products and photos of items for sale. Square makes its money on the transaction fee for items sold.
Another small business-focused effort by a New York startup named bMobilized was introduced this week.
The stand-alone mobile commerce platform lets small and medium-sizes businesses enter products for sale and provides the usual shopping tools, like shopping carts, product search and various payment options, such as PayPal and credit cards.
The mobile sales platform is free to small businesses while in its current test mode, with future costs not yet stated.
Various speakers at a recent mobile commerce conference also pointed to small businesses as the mobile payments growth arena, primarily since many are disappointed with current payment systems and charges.
Since most businesses are small businesses, the opportunity to introduce new commerce capabilities is large.
This also opens the door for a lot of fragmentation.
For example, last week I saw a mobile payment checkout system at a west coast coffee shop. The system comprised an iPad with a custom stand and holder. The cashier said the system came from a small company in San Francisco that they knew of.
The reality is that some small businesses will be more comfortable dealing with local suppliers with products custom-tailored for them and what they do.
There also will be the larger-scale platforms and solutions, from companies such as Square and PayPal, that roll out nationally and expand internationally.
And then there are the very large scale platforms, such as from credit card and transaction processing companies that will be global and ubiquitous.
The current good news for small businesses looking to enter the world of mobile commerce is that they will have plenty of choices.
The question is whether the number of choices becomes a good or a bad thing.
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.