From Mom-and-Pop Retailers to Millennials, Mobile Commerce is Growing in Popularity
Retailers must be ahead of the curve. They must be willing to embrace mobile commerce technology, even if their consumer base has not yet adopted it. It's only a matter of time before they will.
When we think of mobile commerce, it's often in terms of retail. Mobile commerce, or m-commerce as it's referred to in the industry, includes the sale of both goods and services via mobile devices. (Case in point: buying extra lives via the Candy Crush mobile app.)
Here are a few eye-opening (and wallet-opening) statistics:
- Purchases from mobile devices will double by 2020, reaching a whopping $250 billion in transactions. (Forrester)
- In 2018, U.S. adults are expected to spend an average of 3 hours, 23 minutes a day on non-voice mobile media. (eMarketer)
- 80% of internet users own a smartphone. (Smart Insights)
- Mobile offers are redeemed 10 times more often than print offers (eMarketer)
- In terms of discretionary spending, mobile commerce is outpacing both ecommerce and brick-and-mortar stores (UPS)
Technology is playing a key factor in consumers' acceptance of and eagerness to use m-commerce. Augmented reality, for instance, is improving the mobile shopping experience — and boosting the profits of retailers that embrace it.
If you think it's only the Millennials and Gen Z who are jumping on the mobile commerce bandwagon, think again. A 2016 Pew survey found that 24 percent of baby boomers and 33 percent of Gen Xers used mobile payments. If your customer demographics skew younger, keep in mind that many Millennials simply don't carry cash. They rely on Venmo, Uber, Lyft and the like — all through their smartphones.
The actual shopping experience itself is morphing, fueling m-commerce activity. Pop-up shops are all the rage, a phenomenon that's more than just a fleeting trend. In fact, the pop-up industry has grown to approximately $10 billion in sales, according to Popup Republic.
What does this all mean for retailers? Retailers must be ahead of the curve. They must be willing to embrace mobile commerce technology, even if their consumer base has not yet adopted it. It's only a matter of time before they will.
So what types of options are out there today for retailers? The good news is, even small businesses such as the aforementioned pop-up stores can easily accept digital payments — including mobile pay options.
PayPal is synonymous with digital payments, and its Venmo mobile app now can be used to shop at millions of U.S. retailers. Both PayPal and Venmo charge merchants 2.9 percent of the transaction amount plus 30 cents per transaction.
Another option is Square, with fees in line with those of PayPal and Venmo. A Square Reader can accept Apple Pay, Android Pay and chip cards. You also can set up a free online site with Square Point of Sale; Square for Retail costs $60/month per register.
Shopify also offers a point-of-sale solution that also accepts Apple Pay, Android Pay, and credit card payments. Credit card rates are as low as 2.4 percent with no additional fees.
While the Stripe payment system is designed for internet-based businesses, it does work with a variety of mobile apps. Its fees also are comparable to those of other vendors.
Retailers would be wise to keep an eye on newcomer Zelle, a digital payments network involving all the big players: Bank of America, BB&T, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, PNC Bank, US Bank, and Wells Fargo. Don't be surprised if you see point-of-service integrations with both online and offline retailers in the near future.