The future might be mobile, but what about the customer?

Imagine a future where mobile payments are seamlessly integrated into our daily lives. So, for example, you could be on a crowded train and spot a poster offering a week’s holiday in the sun for a bargain price. All you have to do is scan the QR code, authenticate your cardholder credentials and hey presto – you will be booked for that holiday. The potential of mobile marketing for commerce is staggering. Yet the lack of technological consolidation and a concomitant failure to respond to existing and actual consumer behaviour mean that it could be years yet before we begin to see the benefits of mobile commerce. How did it come to be so? What might make improve the situation?

Mobile Commerce

All good marketing strategy places the customer at its heart, right? You’d think so. But it seems that in the world of marketing for mobile commerce, the exact opposite seems to be the case. Let’s start off by trying to clear up what mobile commerce is all about.

Mobile commerce, or m-commerce is any transaction made from a mobile device, whether by SMS, through an app, browser-based or via contactless payment. Contactless payments might grab a lot of headlines but in reality the customer still has to be present to make a transaction and as yet, it is a tiny part of a small market. Contactless transactions are also:

  • limited to small amounts
  • customers may still have to queue to get to the point of sale
  • the technology has failed to capitalise on the customer’s impulsive nature.

Elementary marketing mistake no. 1.

KISS – Keep it Simple, Stupid

Elementary mistake no. 2 is the failure to make mobile payments systems safe or, if they are as safe as can be, to explain this to people in an easily understood way.

  • Mobile payments also need to be open and accessible to all consumers in order to encourage adoption, not restricted to those with a certain mobile handset, QR code reader or bank account
  • Too many mobile payment offerings confuse the customer who has to log into a mobile app to buy their coffee, use another app like Pingit to transfer money, use NFC to pay for their lunch and then go into their mobile browser to order bigger items like TVs online.

Boring. Simplicity, universality and intuitive, user-friendly processes will promote positive experiences for consumers and enhance take-up.

What are the Benefits?

Mobile payments can turn any location into a pop-up store and can let consumers make purchases within minutes. With mobile payments, marketers can engage with consumers from any location, at any time and access an unprecedented amount of knowledge about their target customers, making upsell and targeted messaging a reality.

What about the Customer?

Its simple really, put the customer at the heart of the transaction. You’ll soon see why the world of mobile payments is currently sub-optimal. So:

  • Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and design and build systems accordingly
  • Remember, you need the customer long before the customer needs you or what you have to sell
  • Make your site mobile friendly
  • Think about where your QR code leads the customer and what it offers them once there . . .

Ask not what value your customer gives you, but what you can do for your customer . . . and then you will realise value for both parties.

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