Mobile Payments: Consumers are the Key to Success
By David Stone, CEO and Co-Founder, CashStar
The announcement of the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) is indicative that mobile wallets and mobile payments are clearly a battleground that many of the constituents in the ecosystem are fighting to own. While it remains unclear who will win, how and if these competitive and complementary players can and will coalesce to a unified system, there are ample indicators that mobile payments are here to stay and that adoption is beginning.
The real key to success and increasing mobile payments adoption is the consumer, not the many companies pushing their own technologies. For any mobile payment system to thrive there have to be obvious benefits for the consumer, such as convenience and speed. Even more importantly, consumers need tangible benefits like rewards incentives and personalized shopping experiences. And of course, this all relies on the user experience being intuitive and simple.
Increasingly smartphones are offering more and more capabilities that consumers are getting comfortable with. It will happen. eGift Cards in particular are an early means for driving comfort and adoption. Starbucks with its closed loop card and eGift Card powered by CashStar are a primary example of early adoption. Consumers have demonstrated they are comfortable buying and paying for coffee and cappuccinos with their smartphones through their Starbucks wallets. And now Dunkin Donuts has entered the space with its own app that lets customers pay for their orders by scanning their mobile Dunkin’ Donuts Cards in-store.
Even with Starbucks’ and Dunkin Donuts’ double shot of caffeine helping to drive consumer adoption of mobile payments, many questions still need to be answered before we reach critical mass, including when will…
- Enough retailers have POS systems enabled to accept mobile payments?
- The many strange bedfellows in the ecosystem stop competing for their own advantage and work together to develop a single standard for all consumers and retailers?
- The companies who control portions of the mobile payments ecosystem work together to provide real tangible benefits to the consumer?
For now, eGifting remains one of the best examples of mobile payments in action.