By Daryl Colwell | @DHColwell | Vice President, Business Development
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt of an op-ed published June 25, 2012, in Advertising Age. Read the full opinion piece here.
Mobile payments are touted as the next big thing in marketing. Brands can instantly access an individual customer’s in-store purchase data and serve up targeted deals. The customer pays simply by holding up his smartphone to the checkout scanner — no digging into the wallet for a credit card, dollar bills or, heaven forbid, loose change.
The Yankee Group estimates that the worldwide transaction value of mobile payments will total nearly $1 trillion by 2014, up from $162 billion in 2010. But then why does it seem that the only people using it are customers purchasing their their double-caffe skinny lattes at Starbucks?
Mobile payments may be a perfect mix of targeted e-commerce with bricks-and-mortar shopping, but the current crop of services is confusing to use for the average consumer.
Consumers’ ambivalence about mobile payments is clear. Only 20 percent of people surveyed by IDC have purchased a product from a store via their mobile phone. And of those who have devices enabled with Near Field Communications — the technology behind mobile purchasing — only 2 percent are expected to use them in 2012.
Marketers have only themselves to blame for this lackluster penetration. The hype has not been backed up with proper education and incentives that make it easy for consumers to use and derive value from mobile purchases.