Richard Johnson, senior vice president for strategy at Monitise, comments on how mobile and money is leading to the changing face of commerce
Mobile technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, penetrating more and more aspects of our lives with the help of significant advances such as touchscreen technology and the roll out of 4G networks. Combine this with today's affordable price tags and more of us than ever before can be the proud owner of the latest smartphone.
Analyst house Gartner recently confirmed that smartphones are consistently outselling feature phones. With 435 million mobile phones sold between April and June 2013, smartphone sales accounted for 225 million of these. With smartphone adoption on this kind of scale, it's no surprise that the way we shop, and the face of commerce as a whole has been undergoing a major, mobile facelift.
Capitalising on m-commerce When it comes to m-commerce, what seemed futuristic just a short time ago is now here and more accessible than ever before. Why thumb your way through a catalogue, for example, when you can simply fly your thumb over a touchscreen to not only view, but purchase goods as and when suits you?
The rise in smartphone and tablet usage has established mobile as a key channel for customer engagement and its role in commerce looks set to sky rocket. Industry predictions claim that mobile payments could reach £600 billion by 2015, according to the Yankee Group. That creates an undeniable opportunity for not only retailers, but the mobile operators and financial services organisations that make up the wider ecosystem to use their individual strengths, improve their commercial capability and capitalise on m-commerce.
Let's consider banks first. They have a proven heritage in keeping finances safe and accessible and as such have abundant insight into consumer spending habits. Mobile operators can bring their understanding of mobile user habits to the table. While retailers have established a necessary expertise for developing, importing and marketing products, as well as understanding what consumers buy. If a mutually beneficial relationship can be established there's no reason why this information can't be harnessed for the good of one and all.
Knowledge is power, and in order for this kind of cooperation to work there first needs to be a thorough grasp on what consumers really want from m-commerce. We recently commissioned research with Future Foundation into just this, and found that 50% of smartphone users are already buying goods on their mobile. The ease of use, speed and access to discounts that mobile offers are replacing the role of the retail assistant for swathes of people.
Unfolding the future It is clear that today's generation is more confident than ever in parting with money on the move, via the mobile. However, given the speed in which the industry is moving and the significant steps we've already seen in the m-commerce space, this has in turn, increased their expectations.
Consumers today want to communicate, get information, be entertained, and shop whenever and wherever they are, often at the same time. And they expect a second-to-none user experience while they're at it.
This is challenging the entire m-commerce ecosystem to adapt to new patterns of behaviour. From purchasing goods on mobiles and the use of mobile wallets, to the adoption of mobile discounts and the transfer of value through mobiles, there's plenty coming down the line to be excited about.
In a world that is increasingly interconnected through mobile, ignoring the evolving demands of today's consumers is commercial suicide for anyone looking to establish a place in the flourishing mobile money market.
Retailers, marketers, mobile operators and financial organisations alike need to fully explore the mobile technology developments that are driving the shift in buying behaviour if they want to capitalise on the opportunities open to them.
Monitise is a provider of mobile money services for banking, paying and buying with a mobile device. Major banks, payments companies, retailers, mobile networks and media owners use Monitise's technology platforms and services to securely connect people with their money in developed and emerging markets.