NRF Launches New Mobile Retail Initiative
The NRF (National Retail Federation) has launched a new Mobile Initiative. This will "offer best practices and learning opportunities for retailers diving into m-commerce". I'm going to cover this exciting development in my blogposts this week and next. This week I'm going to look at the mobile payments aspect: next I'll look at the role of mobile in retail more widely. At Juniper Research we agree with the NRF that the importance of the mobile device to retail purchasing is only going to grow. In fact our new report (out this week) forecasts that nearly half of mobile users will pay by phone for digital or physical goods in 2014. There's been a lot of focus (quite rightly of course) on innovations in mobile payments in the USA and other developed nations. The report discusses case studies like 1-800Flowers.com where you can buy that last minute bouquet, as well as new services from companies such as eBay Mobile, Amazon, and the retailers themselves. The eBay iPhone app is available in eight languages and is downloadable in 77 countries. In 2009, eBay integrated PayPal into the eBay mobile Web site and iPhone application. It is this following aspect that I want to highlight though: as we can see mobile payment for physical goods is a global development, whilst the NRF's membership itself is global in scope. I'd suggest that it's all too easy to be aware of just the global companies or the latest smart phone app. In fact, as we found in the report, developing countries are exploiting mobile payments for physical goods too. We're seeing integrated malls and services like PayMate in India where you can buy all manner of digital and physical goods from tickets to household goods to books. You link your bank account, credit card or prepaid account to your phone and authorise via IVR & PIN and away you go. Works on any phone. In this way mobile payment companies are adapting to local markets whilst still exploiting the ubiquity of the devices. Retailers the world over have an opportunity to develop the mobile channel for payments. But there are many more uses for our mobiles in purchasing - we'll look at some of those next week.