Is Now the Right Time to Get Ready for Mobile Commerce?

by on April 11, 2013 · 2 comments

Getting Ready for Mobile Commerce

For everyone in the retail trade, whether online or from a traditional storefront, the last decade has been an avalanche of innovations in how commerce is conducted.

The Internet was the instrument of change and software programmers and designers wasted no time panning for gold in the multitude of opportunities flowing by in these oceans of change.

The phrase “e-commerce” has grown in importance over time, necessitating the need for an online presence, both to augment existing sales while delivering products down an exciting new channel to the ultimate consumer.

As with any activity involving the exchange of money, the criminal element in our society was quick to step up their game as well, inflicting fraud upon the scene and demanding a focus on security and safety.

Will Mobile Commerce Take the Place of Ecommerce?

Most of the dust created by this massive change has settled but futurists are now pointing to mobile, suggesting that the letter “m” will soon replace “e”, when it comes to significance in the commercial arena.

Is this just more marketing hype from hardware and software providers or is there real substance to this “Brave New World”?

The Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) is a membership association devoted to helping “the entire community of merchants assess current opportunities, review potential benefits and risks, and decide what proper courses of action to consider for both the near and long term.”

In that regard, they recently released a set of new resources, designed to educate all merchants and defuse the marketing hype that is prevalent in today’s press (if you wish to read more, click here).

The ETA published two whitepapers on the topic of mobile payments. The first one provides a brief outline and discourse on the key topics that will concern every merchant in today’s retail community.

The second paper broadens the discussion by expanding the amount of subject matter in a number of high profile areas. After a brief status overview, the next three sections address the real concerns going forward:

  1. Understanding merchant risks and costs;
  2. Questions to consider before deploying mobile payments, and
  3. Mobile payment technologies.

The Impact of Smartphone Technology

The impetus for change is clearly smartphone technology. These new phones, roughly 30% of all cell phones and more than 50% of new sales, are equipped with a complex operating system that allows for easy access to the Internet and the local processing of
sophisticated software applications.

Designers are hard at work connecting the universe of social networking tools to promote instant marketing, based on your previous buying preferences, right down to the palm of your hand.

The new wave of innovation is being called “Interactive POS Marketing” or “Universal Commerce”, to name a few terms that have already been created. If you combine these facts with the latest prediction from the respected Gartner research firm that 1.2 billion smartphones and tablets will be sold globally in 2013, after sales of 821 billion were recorded in 2012, then it is not too difficult to see what all the fuss is about.

M-Commerce is More than Consumer-based Options

Much of the marketing hype surrounds consumer-based solutions. Most of these are in their early development stage. If all things go as planned, the best timeframe suggested is 3 to 5 years for complete implementation of m-commerce.

The good news for small business owners is that this lengthy period will allow plenty of time for planning, determining the best technologies and then upgrading later to the correct equipment and software that should stand the test of time.

The excitement today, however, is around remote merchant processing. These new solutions have been thoroughly tested and have evolved gradually over the past decade from a set of clunky, cumbersome devices to one single, simple device that plugs
into the earphone socket of your smartphone.

Your merchant processor will supply a software app that will connect to his servers and then you are off and running. You will also benefit from the lowest discount fees in the industry since the cardholder will be present and the same device will read the stripe on his card.

Change is coming and having a merchant processor that can support both your current and long-term needs will be paramount.

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Tom Cleveland is a writer for He has over 30 years of experience in executive management, corporate governance and business development. Tom served as CFO for various Visa International entities from 1980 until his retirement in 1999 and was instrumental in expanding the global reach of the Visa system. Tom’s writing on business issues has appeared in the NY Daily News and Business Insider among others.

Tom has written 1 articles on Expand2Web

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Derek Carroll April 11, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Great, nice article.
I was worried at first when Istarted to read it… I thought, Oh My God, things happen so fast, how to keep up with the change and remain relevant.
Luckily, we’ve got a bit of time to prepare 🙂 – but we better start moving forward.
Time and tide waits for no man.
I can see some small businesses suffering in the future as they fear the changes and fail to embrace the change – these are interesting times.
Thanks for a nice article Tom, and a jolt into the “relevant”…


John Rooney April 16, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Ah mobile!! Gotta love it. Far more important then first thought.


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