Growth of mPayments puts marketers front and center
Most technology watchers know about the tipping point concept—the moment when “someday we’ll” suddenly becomes “what do you mean you don’t?” For payments via a mobile device, or mPayments, the tipping point may be nearer than you think.
According to Deloitte’s Global Mobile Consumer Survey, US report,1 the percentage of consumers who said they used a phone to make an in-store payment increased to 18 percent in 2015, up nearly fourfold from five percent the prior year. Similarly, Deloitte’s Digital Democracy Survey2 revealed that nearly one in five consumers reported using a phone-based mobile payment app either daily or weekly, and young adults are the ones leading the charge.
What’s the appeal of mPayments for consumers? Taking out a phone is easier than fishing out a credit card. As mPayment-enabled wearables gain traction, a consumer might not have to take out anything at all. So it’s little surprise that many of the categories in which mPayments are making the fastest inroads—such as gas, parking, coffee, and fast food—are for purchases that consumers already associate with speed and convenience. Accepting and promoting mPayments can help a retailer amplify that existing brand and identity.
The message for marketers is not only that mPayments are here to stay, but also that they may become integral to the brand promise. That means a reliable, user-friendly, visibly secure mPayments system is a brand and market challenge, not just a technology one. Similarly, these systems can help transform the brick-and-mortar experience by helping marketers personalize offers and target advertisements, coupons, or product discounts.
Making the leap
There are still a number of ways to handle mPayments, including web-, text-, and QR code-based options. Most mPayment systems represent a significant point-of-sale investment for retailers, but it’s one that is likely to prove cost-efficient. Given the up-front investment required, it is natural for retailers to want more certainty in the technological viability, stability, and ROI of mPayment solutions before deployment.3 One way of overcoming this is looking into the collaboration opportunities between mPayment providers and retailers. By developing custom solutions for verified retailers, mPayment providers are more likely to widen the user network.
Remember consumers’ concerns in the early e-commerce days, when conventional wisdom said using credit cards online was too risky and would never work? Today, some consumers have similar concerns about paying with their phones. Respondents to the Global Mobile Consumer Survey US report cited security as the number-one reason, across all age groups, for avoiding mobile payments. According to Global Mobile Trends Report: 1st edition4 approximately 40 percent of global mobile users list security as the number one concern, even though mPayments can be as secure as—if not more secure than—other forms of payment. As consumers become more aware of that fact, their attitude toward mPayments may mirror the shift that eventually unleashed online shopping.
Analysts can debate where the precise tipping point lies. But it’s clear mPayments have left the “someday” phase behind. For CMOs, mPayments offer a great opportunity to better connect with their customers. They should think about how they can integrate this new source of valuable customer data to their existing targeting channels, consider developing customized solutions based on buying behaviors, and look for ways to differentiate their solutions through use of mPayments technology.
1 Craig Wigginton, Mike Curran, Ays Aytolu, Anisha Sharma, and Catherine Nasr. Global Mobile Consumer Survey, US Edition: Rise of the always-connected consumer
2 Gerald Belson, Kevin Westcott, and Scott Lippstreu. Digital democracy survey: A multi-generational view of consumer technology, media and telecom trends, 10th edition,
3 Preeta M. Banerjee, and Craig Wigginton. Smart device, smart pay: Taking mobile payments from coffee shops to retail stores
4 Craig Wigginton, Mike Curran, Paul Lee and Ays Aytolu. Global Mobile Consumer Trends: 1st Edition Mobile proves to be indispensable in an always-connected world