Are You Ready For Mobile Payments? Can You Afford Not To Be?

cell-phone-money.jpgToday, not having a mobile e-commerce capability is not going to hurt you.
However, “tomorrow”, as more and more consumers access web sites and utilize their phones as powerful tools, including for commerce, you will need to carefully evaluate your audience and see if it’s time to offer mobile payment solutions.
Evaluating your audience is very important. Maybe such a small number of your customers or potential customers need or want mobile e-commerce options that it’s not worth it for you. On the other hand, maybe sales would increase if you had such an option.
A mobile payment solution goes hand in hand with ensuring your web site, or at least key portions of it, are properly formatted for the small screens of cell phone web browsers. Related to this point see – Making Your Web Site Readable On Mobile Devices and Building A Web Site for Mobile Devices is Different Than a Traditional One.
Mobile payments are comprised of three aspects, in my view:

  • Visiting a web site and paying for services or products through a mobile browser
  • Paying for “on the spot” retail transactions (someone gives you a credit card)
  • Accessing bank accounts and conducting non-retail financial transactions

A recent study by PriceGrabber shows that:

  • Nearly two-thirds of online consumers own a mobile phone capable of connecting with the Internet
  • The iPhone, released on June 29, 2007, jump-started mainstream smartphone adoption; with 75% more online consumers purchasing their first Web-enabled phone in 2007 compared to 2006
  • 1 in 10 online consumers has purchased products and/or services online from their mobile device
  • Online consumers also use their mobile phone for daily weather forecasts (55%), driving directions (48%), news updates (47%), movie times and restaurant reviews (34%), and online banking (25%)
  • One-third of online consumers without a Web-enabled phone will purchase one in the next year

Mobile commerce is “small” but it’s GROWING.
PayPal already lets you use PayPal to send money through your cell phone. Many other companies have various solutions to enable your cell phone as a digital wallet or at least a tool to authorize the debit of money from your credit card.
I was at breakfast this week with executives of a large, small-business-focused company and their soon-to-be announced mobile payment service is fast and easy to use.
Whether you enable your mobile users to purchase items on their cell phones from your web site or you equip your sales team to process transactions on their mobile devices – considering the feasibility of a mobile commerce strategy is important.
Like any technology implementation be sure to test, test, refine, refine – before you fully implement and invest a lot of money.