As we discussed in Part I and Part II of this three part series, Universal Commerce is here and the technology sector has taken note and is developing the tools to make it most effective. Now it’s time to talk about the small businesses and retailers, who must recognized this trend if they insist on remaining competitive in their markets.
Different information-based technologies for smartphones, tablets or laptops were created with no common interactive purposes. “The People” took those technologies and used them to create a truly, universal buying experience. Add cloud technology to your smartphone or mobile device and now all your financial info is at your fingertips.
The end result of this new consumer movement is to buy the best quality products at the cheapest price in the most simple and efficient way possible.
“The People” started this “Revolution,” but small businesses and retailers need not be left behind and the “Virtual Wallet” makes it easier for small businesses to battle for dollars with big business.
For Universal Commerce to be truly “Universal,” its enabling infrastructure has to be:
- OPEN – Capable of supporting any payment brand, any payment network, any mobile network operator & any NFC equipped phone.
- SCALABLE – Easy to add support for new payment of any type.
- SECURE – Support a variety of security strategies that are strong and integrated with security systems of other partnerships.
“Partnership” is the key word because Universal Commerce can only work with diverse partners. No company has the financial resources to build this system alone, not even Google. Their Google Wallet was created so it could always add new business partners and methods of payments.
The dynamics for a small business to join Universal Commerce is the same as a big business. First Data’s report “Universal Commerce: A Seamless, Personalized Purchase Experience for Today’s Connected Consumers” gives these three tips for retailers to follow so they too can join the ‘Revolution”:
- UPDATE POINT-OF-SALE-EQUIPMENT: Some upgrades can be done through software. Others like contactless payment may require hardware changes. Many newer point-of-sale devices are now built with contactless capability as a standard feature.
- MOBILIZE EXISTING PAYMENT PROGRAMS INTO MOBILE WALLETS: Card and other payment options are accessed easier through a mobile wallet than a leather wallet. When your business is connected to money-saving offers and promotions, consumers will come to your store first!
- CREATE A MULTICHANNEL MARKETING PROGRAM: 21st century technologies (such as card-linked and mobile coupons plus vouchers) offers retailers more targeted promotions to attract new customers. These same promotions also bring back your longtime customers.
The more you know about your customer, the more successful buying experience you can create for them.
Universal Commerce is not just for new players like Google or mobile phone companies. Traditional financial institutions should get in the game, too because banks and credit unions have very strong brand loyalty.
According to First Data, financial institutions should:
- OWN A VIRTUAL WALLET: 66% of consumers would rather trust their bank to provide the virtual wallet.
Universe Commerce may offer a new democracy where all businesses play on an equal field. Small business may have an edge because it takes longer for big business to make a change, such as this.
Whatever the outcome, the 21st century consumer is not going back to being the less-informed consumer of the 20th century. Our technology keeps getting smarter as our universe keeps getting smaller.
Regardless, Universal Commerce is here to stay!
“The People” have spoken: “Viva La Revolution!”