This week Co-operative Food
announced that it will become the UK’s first major grocery retailer to introduce contactless payment in its stores nationwide after joining forces with Barclaycard. Rollout will start in 2011 at 100 stores with most of the rest following before the (contactless) Olympics in 2012, assuming success in the 100 stores. I was interested that the release mentioned the top drivers for contactless which are increased customer choice and transaction speed as well as for the store fewer lost customers put off by long queues.
You can add more advantages to this list though. The one that is "behind the scenes" for most shoppers but very much top of mind for the merchant is the reduction in cash handling, which is prone to errors, fraud and time consuming.
The Olympics will see tickets bought by NFC too.
A couple of weeks ago I blogged about some transport related schemes that have been announced recently too in the Czech Republic and in Moscow. There are many NFC trials around the world and I'd expect them to convert one by one into commercial launches and they will be anywhere that requires rapid throughput of high but lower value transactions. So convenience stores and transport ticketing fit this profile very well. This is exactly how I'm expecting mobile commerce
to grow. What I'm really looking forward to though is when it's no longer newsworthy because it's so common. Whilst NFC phones aren't generally available yet in our shops, contactless initiatives like the Co-operative's with Barclaycard are vital in user education in countries where contactless isn't very common. Then when NFC phones are common, they will contribute to the overall development in mobile commerce that we forecast over the next few years.