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Mobile payments is an oxymoron: Barclaycard

September 12, 2011

A screen grab from Barclaycard's iPhone app

NEW YORK – Companies need to think about how mobile payments can help merchants and consumers instead of focusing solely on mobile payments as a revenue driver, according to an executive at Mobile Marketer’s Mobile Marketing Summit: Holiday Focus 2011.

During the “How mobile payments will shape holiday 2011 for retail” session last week, the executive from Barclaycard spoke about the importance of mobile commerce for retailers and merchants. Additionally, the executive said that companies need to focus less on the commerce aspect and more on user experience with mobile payments.

“Mobile payments is an oxymoron,” said Dekkers Davidson, head of mobile business at Barclaycard US, Wilmington, DE.

“Mobile payments doesn’t solve problems for merchants or consumers,” he said. “Instead, it solves the problem of commerce.”

Mobile is here
According to Mr. Davidson, mobile and commerce are finally starting to become vital parts of companies’ marketing strategies.

“Mobile is a vast way to connect,” Mr. Davidson said.

“The someday of mobile is upon is, perhaps longer than we thought it would, but it’s here,” he said.

Now that mobile has made a significant presence, companies need to tweak their focus on how to tie it to their acquisition and retention marketing.

“It’s important to think about how marketing can drive commerce,” Mr. Davidson said.

“When we think about mobile commerce, we always need to think about the perspective from clients,” he said.

In particular, mobile has the opportunity to be added as a part of the consumer shopping experience, which includes in-store, catalog, online and social media.

However, Mr. Davidson said that it is too early to tell if mobile will become an additional layer of the shopping experience or if it will become a unifying layer in the experience.

Specifically, he predicted that by 2015, 10 percent of all transactions will be done with mobile commerce.

“Can you imagine a world with brands that don’t have Web sites?” Mr. Davidson said.

“The power of mobile is that it is personable,” he said.

Keep it simple
With NFC, the cloud and other payment solutions, the challenge is to find a way that consumers can understand it.

“Mobile expectations are meeting merchants’ needs, and consumers now expect brands to have a mobile presence,” Mr. Davidson said.

“When there were just stores, payments were linear,” he said. “Now it’s complicated, but it has the opportunity to be interesting for consumers.

“Mobile payments is not just helping people make payments, it’s about creating a customer experience.”

Mr. Davidson expects to see the mobile market become more personal this holiday season with targeted coupons, incentives and offers.

“The key to an in-store mobile experience happens when a merchant knows you, and they have started to create a personalized experience,” Mr. Davidson said.

“The market is going from mass experimentation to starting to feel more personal,” he said.

Final Take
Dekkers Davidson, head of mobile business at Barclaycard US, Wilmington, DE

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