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BIM exec: Invest in mobile payments immediately to capture critical moment

LITCHFIELD PARK, AZ – A BuyIt Mobility Networks executive at the Mobile Shopping Fall Summit said that now is the time for retailers to invest in mobile payments when they can facilitate the shifting behavior in a way that can benefit themselves.

During the “Yes, mobile can improve loyalty and lower costs… Really, it can” session, the BIM exec discussed the worries that many retailers rightfully feel towards mobile payments. He then addressed those worries by providing tips on how to best leverage mobile payments to boost revenue.

“Obviously we all know that [mobile] is very real, substantial,” said Aydin Kadaster, chief operating officer of BuyIt Mobility Networks, New York. “It’s becoming ubiquitous.

“Consumers are using mobile already in informal and formal ways to augment their shopping experience,” he said. “It’s something that’s becoming the hub of the way we interact and process our information. It’s the hub of everything we’re doing and in particular significance for retailers to capitalize on.

“This is actually a form factor since its redefining the way consumers engage and interact, it’s a new way to set a shopping paradigm. When I walk into a store and use my phone, there are so many things that I’m doing that I was doing with a different form factor. We’re actually at a very critical point right now where behaviors are shifting and being reset. That’s a huge opportunity to the extent that you can facilitate that.”

Revenue worries
The current state of mobile payments is complex and diverse, with new solutions popping up every day and clouding the arena for retailers.

Retailers may be confused about which option to experiment with, and they might worry about losing money with such experimentation. They may be hesitant to invest in a solution that consumers have yet to wholeheartedly adopt on their own.

However, Mr. Kadaster believes that this confusion makes it all the more important for retailers to invest immediately.

Since consumers are at this critical point where they are on the brink of setting mobile payment behavior, retailers can step in to direct the behaviors in a way that will benefit their company. Conversely, if retailers miss out on this opportunity, they risk letting competitors set the standards and beat them to the punch.

There are already a few companies out there that are getting mobile payments right.

Everyone can see that Starbucks is at the forefront of the mobile payments scene. In the third-quarter 2013, 10 percent of Starbucks in-store U.S. sales stemmed from mobile payments, and the company saw a 100 percent year-over-year growth in dollars loaded on mobile cards (see story).

Dunkin Donuts has also been making moves in the mobile payments sphere with its mobile application that can also be integrated into Passbook (see story).

Make it your own
Mr. Kadaster advises retailers to learn from these companies and cater it to their own business.

The first thing retailers need to figure out is how can they use mobile payments to address their customers’ pain points. Maybe a mobile payments solution would help save them time by skipping a line.

Since swiping a credit card and scanning an app takes about the same effort, retailers need to provide additional benefits to consumers beyond the basic transaction.

Retailers need to ensure that the mobile payment solution is easy and seamless while providing personalized, fun engagement with consumers.

Then retailers need to ensure that they are not raising their own costs and that they are on a path towards boosting revenue.

Lastly, retailers need to protect their brand by keeping their own name front and center in the payment solution.

“If you look at Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donut, they’re adding value to consumers in ways that those consumers care about,” Mr. Kadaster said.

“They’re speeding up lines, they’re adding things to loyalty,” he said. “But they’re also doing so in a way that’s beneficial to their economics. When they launched apps, they forced people to use their own [branded app].

“Mobile is real and urgent. Think about it now. You should be a part of that. You should be actively thinking about it.”

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York