Photo: LDProd/iStock Photo: LDProd/iStock

The future of mobile payments is hugely exciting to me, for two big—and completely selfish— reasons. They’re factors that resonate powerfully with most consumers, and they’re why I think SMEs are seeing profits jump as they embrace this exciting new technology—and why those who don’t will wish they had.

Firstly, I hate purses and refuse to carry one. A goodly percentage the population agrees with me on this one. When I go out, I have to carry my wallet in one pocket and my phone in another; mobile payments mean I’ll only need one of those two going forward. Less to carry means a less-bulky pocket.

Secondly, petty annoyances can make shopping a nightmare. Mobile payments mean I’ll never again need to make a decision at the point of purchase about which credit card to use, or go searching for an ATM, or dig furiously in my wallet for the loyalty card that goes with that store. I call this kind of convenience “instantability.”

Who among us relishes waiting in line to pay for something? How many times have you just dumped whatever it was you were waiting to pay for onto the nearest counter, and bailed without buying? With mobile pay, your customer’s wait time in the cashier’s line will be cut in half, and she’s more likely to walk out of the store with what she came in for than frustrated and empty-handed.

There are three main types of mobile payments: person-to-person payments, like PayPal; mobile point-of-sale payments, like Square; “mobile wallet” payments like those made with a retailer app (e.g. Starbucks), or stand-alone app (e.g. Android Pay).

According to a recent survey by market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB),

15% of respondents said they used a mobile wallet app in the past six months,
22% said they planned to do so in the next six months.
27% of those who already use a mobile wallet said they are “very likely to switch to other businesses with mobile payments capability” and 18% said they would “increase the frequency of business if mobile payments capability were present.

The retail industry still has a long way to go to match those use trends. SMEs need to upgrade from their old magnetic point-of-sale terminals to smart (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa), compatible ones. Once that’s done, though, the ability for merchants to easily add a smartphone option will turn mobile payments into the new normal.

The Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) Perspectives’ white paper, The Mobile Revolution: How Mobile Technologies Drive a Trillion-Dollar Impact (January 15, 2015) points to a widening gap between mobile-fueled SMEs and late-adopter laggards. The bottom line: Companies that implement a mobile strategy reliably outperform their counterparts in revenue, development and operations. Small and medium-sized businesses world-wide are already taking advantage of the advances in transaction security and customer relations offered by mobile payment systems to compete successfully with much larger players, leaving the laggards to eat their dust.

Tapping into the growing trend of mobile payments is a powerful way to improve customer loyalty and increase sales. Whether it’s through an app connected to your customer’s bank account, one specific to a retailer, or a mobile point-of-sale app, mobile payments offer the same benefits for smaller business that they do for large corporations like Starbucks and Subway that have already embraced them.

It’s a tough world out there for SMEs, which is why early adoption of this customer-centric mobile pay technology is critical to distancing yourself from your less-nimble competitors. Be the first on your block, not the last, to offer your customers the convenience, safety, and ease of mobile pay, and they’ll reward you with their love and their money.

Corrine Sandler is a serial entrepreneur, thought leader and top 100 Woman entrepreneur. She is the CEO of ValidateIt™, a technology insight platform, and the founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Fresh Intelligence®, a custom global market research agency. Both businesses build on her mission of making insights and intelligence accessible to the world.


Have you adopted mobile payment technology yet? Why, or why not? Let us know by commenting below.

Loading comments, please wait.