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The Transactions of Tomorrow: Mobile Payment

From teenage girls eagerly discussing the latest hot gossip to senior executives’ excitedly discussing the next key business trend, you do not need an expert to diagnose the UK as a mobile mad nation. According to Ofcom, 92% of UK adults own a mobile phone, translating to over 81 million mobile phone subscriptions for the country as a whole. Of particular intrigue has been the increasing prevalence of smartphones and tablets within this massive market. Globally, there are around 1 billion such devices currently in use, with that figure set to double over the coming three years according to The Telegraph. Over the course of the coming year, mobile will become the dominant means by which online users access the internet in the UK.

Given this permanent paradigm shift in the mobile environment, franchises would do well to develop a mobile site conducive to the devices now widespread amongst their customer base. A number of franchises, including Zine UK and My Destination, have already made efforts to this effect, affording themselves a whole new interface with which to interact with customers.

Businesses will be especially interested to learn that 2013 is expected to see mobile sales (that is, sales transactions conducted via mobile) take off in the UK, having already done so elsewhere. Curiously, the focal point of online transactions in the modern world is sub-Saharan Africa, where inability to access a bank account has forced many to avail of mobile-transaction services. Britain’s more developed banking sector has (until now) impeded the development of a similar degree of mobile fiscal fluency, but with the undeniable and growing popularity of smartphones amongst the general public it was inevitable that the trend would eventually find its way onto British shores. Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao believes 2013 will be the year that British customers will embrace mobile payment to the full, and is so confident to this end that his company have even collaborated with arch nemesis O2 to ensure the correct infrastructure is in place to facilitate the rollout of mobile commerce across the country.

But in truth, mobile payment is already a massive market in the UK, accounting for £57million worth of sales in 2012. That figure (and its corresponding percentage of total online resale transactions) can expect to grow over the coming years as mobile continues to advance at the expense of laptops and the long-struggling PC. This being the case, there are a number of steps (according to Gloople) that franchises can take to increase their mobile business. Having developed a mobile site, the business should be sure to include a payment facility compatible with this mobile format, clearly visible in the form of a “buy it now” option accompanying every item. Offering discounted rates to mobile purchasers is a terrific method for increasing mobile transactions as well as acclimatising your consumer base to the novel notion of buying using their device.

Studies have confirmed that this novelty implores people to make small purchases through mobile as opposed to larger buys. Applicable largely to trust issues people might have with mobile purchasing. With this in mind, smaller purchases are the best way to build mobile credibility with your customer. Finally, making the website responsive (i.e. adjustable to the screen it is being viewed) on has been shown to greatly increase customer confidence in the website and thus raises the likelihood that they will commit to a mobile purchase.

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