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Moving Your Business into the Mobile Payment Era

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If you’ve ever spent time in an Apple Store, you may have noticed a customer walk in, take a product off the shelf, and leave with it — without ever talking to anyone. It looks like a more casual version of shoplifting. But, of course, what you’re seeing isn’t theft: It’s Apple’s mobile payment system in action.
 
When implemented properly, mobile payment systems can be beneficial both to consumers and businesses, but that doesn’t mean they’re without their downsides. It’s important to know the pros and cons of implementing a mobile payment system and determine whether it’s time for your company to jump in the game.
 

The Mobile Attraction

The idea that a customer can skip long lines and buy a product from his couch is a selling point in itself. But implementing a mobile payment system can also provide key advantages for your business:
 
●    Get to Know Your Customers: Generally, to pay via a mobile device, customers need to set up an account. The basic information they provide in this setup can be very valuable when it comes to promotions and marketing campaigns. The more customers use the mobile payment system, the more data you can collect, making it easy to understand specific purchasing demographics to better tailor your product offerings.
 
●    Speed Up Transactions: Like the Apple Store, allowing customers to pay directly from their phones can speed up the transaction process immensely, providing a better experience for customers and greater efficiency for businesses.
 
●    Create a Fun Experience: People love apps, especially well-designed ones. Give a person an app that’s a pleasure to use, and he’s more likely to browse through your product line on a regular basis.
 
●    Make Buying Frictionless: The easier it is to buy something, the more likely it is that people will follow their impulse and do just that. If a customer’s looking at your products on his phone, he shouldn’t have to search for a desktop computer to purchase them.
 
As with any new technology, there are some obstacles to setting up a mobile solution:
 
●    Learning Curve: The biggest hurdle with any mobile app is getting people to try it out. Not everyone is up for learning a new way of doing things. Do some research on your existing customer base before implementing a mobile solution. If your website only gets a few visits from mobile devices, it may not be worth implementing a mobile payment system yet.
 
●    The Number of Options: Having a mobile payment system doesn’t mean doing away with credit cards and cash options. If your customer base is still small and you don’t want to deal with yet another payment system, it may not be time to invest in a mobile option.
 

When to Invest in the Trend

Some simple indicators can help you determine whether a mobile payment system is right for your business:
 
●    Customer Volume: Mobile apps can help immensely in tracking and organizing rewards programs for a large customer base.
 
●    Repeat Business: If your product is something that’s purchased on a regular basis, a mobile app can be a killer way for people to easily purchase what they need. Mobile payments can be set to recur automatically at certain intervals, or a purchase history can be made accessible to the user so purchases are easy to repeat.
 
●    Mobile Visits: Your customers are already telling you what they want by the devices they use to visit your site, and research shows that 64 percent of smartphone owners use their device to shop. It’s possible your customers are already a step ahead of you.
 
Remember that implementing a mobile payment system doesn’t necessarily mean creating your own app from scratch. Depending on your needs, you can build a mobile solution on top of existing networks by using tools like LevelUp or Stripe, which give you all the power you need with a surprisingly simple setup. Don’t let the easy setup fool you, however — a mobile payment system can be a powerful tool when it comes to increasing loyalty and profits.
 
What are some ways your company could take advantage of data gathered from mobile purchases?

Published: February 4, 2014
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Ioannis Verdelis

Ioannis Verdelis is the co-founder and COO of Fleksy, a revolutionary keyboard that makes typing on a touchscreen so easy you can type without even looking. Connect with him on Twitter.

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