Mobile payments aren’t just a trendy way pay to pay for your coffee, but a real shift in consumer behavior. A recent report by IDC says that by 2017, 1.5 billion smartphones will be in use globally and a Forrester Survey released last week said that while 31% of smartphone owners will purchase from their device in 2014, that number will reach 55% by 2018. As smartphones become more and more prevalent, and consumers become more and more accustomed to paying without a credit card in hand, business leaders are recognizing that they’re going to have to get more familiar with this new form of payment. We looked into the 3 main reasons why (and how your business can capitalize on this movement).
1. New customers and increased sales
Even today, more than 20% of payments are already being conducted with a mobile device using popular person-to-person money transfer services. Couple that with the nearly 50% of smartphone users that look for coupons, deals, and discounts via their phone as well as the proliferation of mobile payment platforms like Google Wallet and Isis and this number will only continue to grow.
The habit of paying for things on smartphones and tablets is already second nature for people, particularly among younger consumers. Giving these customers the ability to pay however they want means you don’t lose that business as they continue to make up more and more transactions.
If you have a coupon or a discount for first-time users of your services, by listing it online or through a mobile coupon app, you can get additional exposure for your business
2. Convenience for consumers
Studies by Visa show that Americans are twice as likely to carry a phone as cash and those between 18 and 34 are four times more likely. For a lot of young consumers, paying through an app on their phone is the preferred way method simply because they don’t carry anything else. The big retailers (like Starbucks, Walmart, etc.) already offer mobile payments, and savvy business owners are following suit.
Accepting mobile payments can also have the added benefit of speeding up checkout lines (instead of waiting for an attendant, customers can pay any clerk with payment-equipped mobile device) – meanwhile clerks can focus on customer service instead of handling the register duties.
Even cooler, mobile payments also give small business owners the ability to setup location based reminders (using geo-fencing) that can alert a customer that the store is having a sale as they pass by or that a shipment of their favorite brand of jeans just arrived.
Mobile scanner systems might be expensive, so simply by storing payment information securely online, you can reduce the need for a customer to carry their credit card each time.
3. Marketing data
When a customer pays with their smartphone, businesses can capture more than just a credit card number – they now have the ability to track purchase history, item preferences, email address, returns, and location.
This information can be used to build a customer profile that can help in making crucial marketing decision (like when to send promotions, what items to re-order, etc.) and can help turn a one-time sale into a repeat customer through targeted marketing efforts direct to them.
Your customer database is an excellent place to store additional information about your clients. If your payments are tied to the customer, you can see how they grow in their use of their services, or what opportunities you have to bring them along in your business.
Mobile payments are coming, more and more each day – and with a just a little investment in time and technology, small businesses can take advantage too.
Image Credit: mobile payment, Edward Li, Flickr