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Retailers starting to make decisions based on mobile payment trends

January 25, 2016

In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about the need for companies to do more to push mobile payments in such a way that consumers would see the inherent value of them.

In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about the need for companies to do more to push mobile payments in such a way that consumers would see the inherent value of them. And after some hiccups and false starts, it now seems as though more retailers – both large and small – are starting to take this emerging payment option more seriously than they have in the past.

One of the big issues that might have held both consumers and retailers alike back from adopting mobile payments – and therefore stagnating the entire progression of the platform in the first place – is that there just weren’t a lot of devices out there in the hands of shoppers capable of making such a purchase, according to a report from Mobile Payments Today. But in the last year-plus there has been a big push among tech manufacturers like Apple and Samsung to put more NFC-enabled smartphones onto the market. That in turn seems to be pushing retailers to consider options they previously had not.

“There has been a huge shift in consumer behavior, which means commerce is changing,” Les Matthews, senior vice president of U.S. market development at MasterCard, said during a panel he moderated about what’s next in payments for retailers, according to the site. “Tech has created the connected consumer. This creates a whole new challenge for brands. How do you interact with that consumer?”

Mobile payments are coming, and many retailers are starting to accept it.Mobile payments are coming, and many retailers are starting to accept it.

What else is driving interest?
Even beyond that, though, is the fact that many major national retailers spent much of the last year or so dealing with the coming liability shift on EMV-enabled credit and debit cards, and now that they’ve come out the other side on that front, they’re now able to focus a little more on weighing their options for adopting a mobile payment platform, the report said. And once those companies have finally landed somewhere on these payment options, it’s more likely that smaller ones will follow suit.

Ratnakar Lavu, Kohl’s executive vice president for digital technology, noted that the key for retailers of any size is – and should be – to make completing transactions as simple as possible, the report said. As such, the more companies can do to make mobile devices work well during the shopping experience as well as at checkout, the better off both will be.

What does this mean?
Certainly, all these shifts among big retailers portend that a major change is probably going to come to the payments industry
sooner rather than later, fulfilling years of expectations from experts who thought there must be a logical tipping point at which consumers start adopting these new platforms en masse.

What that likely means for smaller businesses, though, is that the sooner they get on board with adopting mobile payments on their own, the more likely they may be to connect with consumers who are now starting to do the same thing. That, in turn, could end up helping them to establish themselves in the emerging mobile marketplace.

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