Simon Hill of Digital Trends recently observed that while the concept of ditching physical wallets and having all digital cards on our phones is undeniably attractive, it simply isn’t enough.
“Even when mobile payment systems are ubiquitous, we’re confident that they work, and we’re convinced of their safety, providers are still going to have to persuade us to choose them over plastic, and the biggest stumbling block right now is convenience,” he stated.
Indeed, as Daniel Csoka, managing director of Mobile Money Matters, told Digital Trends, effective loyalty and offers combined with customer engagement is a winning combination. In fact, Csoka envisions a near future where our smartphones add value for merchants and consumers, and the shopping experience is ‘Uberized.’
“You drive to the mall and use your mobile app to get access to special VIP parking, because you’re a valued shopper. The mall now knows that you’ve arrived and Brooks Brothers sends you a notification that the blue blazer you were looking at online is in stock,” Hill elaborated. “You use indoor maps on your mobile to locate the store and, as you approach, a beacon informs the sales staff that you’ve arrived. There’s no register, but the assistant has an iPad and your photo and profile automatically pops up with details on what you want. They have the blazer ready, but also point out a buy-one-get-one-free deal on matching shirts. You try the blazer on, decide to take it along with the shirts, and simply walk out. The receipt is emailed to you.”
As we’ve previously discussed on Rambus Press, simplicity alone does not guarantee adoption of mobile payments. For many industry players, there is now a focus on delivering a compelling shopping experience to the consumer, rather than purely simplifying the physical process of paying. As can be seen with successful mobile applications, such as Starbucks, the intelligent, specific deployment of value-added services is key to establishing a compelling reason for use and delivering a buying experience to the consumer.
Although the OEM Pay platforms, banks and retailers recognize the value of value-added services, at present their deployment across the wider industry is fragmented. Schemes are often limited to specific merchants, cardholders, applications, locations or operating systems. To reference Starbucks, a key part of their success is the fact that users can earn and deploy their loyalty points with any smartphone, anywhere. With over three billion loyalty cards predicted to have been provisioned to mobile applications by 2021, however, consumers will soon enjoy a far more consistent experience.
Predictive analytics and machine learning are another way for banks and retailers to build a compelling shopping experience. Mobile applications can leverage past behavior and intelligently deploy vast swathes of user data to deliver smart recommendations. In addition, augmented reality enables consumers to analyze product information and read reviews in-store and in real time, rather than having to research at home before heading out to the store.
By 2020, consumers will expect a lot more than just convenience from their mobile payments application. Success will therefore be dependent on the effective integration of these value-added components.