The Race in How to Get Money from Mobile Shoppers

by Net Future Institute on April 11, 2013

To Chuck Martin

The race to mobile point of purchase looks like it’s between the retailers and the consumers.

The latest research from Javelin Strategy and Research (see story in today’s mCommerce Daily, POS 3.0: Mobile Proximity Payments Will Increase 11X in Six Years) shows that the mobilization of checkout technology marches on.

Everyone knows big money is changing hands at the last stage of the purchase cycle, with more than $4 trillion (yes, with a “t”), slated to pass through point of sales terminals within five years.

Then there are the consumers who are handing over all that money by various means at checkout.

The catch is that it is still a tiny portion of payment at checkout that comes via mobile. One estimate, in a large survey by GfK, found that only 6 percent of smartphone owners used their phones to make a point-of-sale purchase.

And if the capability to use their phones to make a purchase was there, fewer than a quarter (22%) said they would like to do it.

Another area where the mobile industry is going gangbusters relating to shopping is in location-based services, ranging from on-the-spot deals to highly-targeted, in-store advertising. In that area, most consumers (68%) expressed concern about sharing their location information to receive offers, according to the GfK study.

Some consumers do see value in using their phones while shopping, though fewer than half (42%) have used their phones to compare prices while at a retail store.

The “If you build it, they will come” approach to deploying in-store mobile capabilities may face at least a short-term yawn by many consumers.

However, the influence that mobile has on shoppers who do adopt it cannot be overlooked.

Of the smartphone owners who compared prices as they shopped, close to two-thirds changed where they made a purchase.

Many of those same shoppers will likely to be the early adopters of mobile point of sale.

  Chuck Martin is editor of mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk. He is author of “The Third Screen,” “The Smartphone Handbook,” and the soon-to-be-published “Mobile Influence.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute and a frequent mobile keynote speaker around the globe.

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