I just finished reading, “Mobile Payment Platform Wars: LevelUp, Paydiant, PayPal, & More” by Gregory T. Huang on the Xconomy website, and I am reminded of the common question I get asked whenever I speak at a conference or attend a mobile payment industry event:
“Who will emerge as the leader in the mobile payment space and when should we expect that to happen?"
Unlike the answers provided in the article, my answer is always a set of three rhetorical questions:
“From the merchant point of view, does it really matter who is #1, #2, etc. as long as you can accept what your customers prefer to use?”
“Why should you treat mobile payment acceptance any differently?”
It sounds simple and it should be – assuming you have the right solution in place. Plus, mobile payments are just a portion of a larger mobile commerce solution that drives the value-add that merchants and consumer demand. But the industry continues to focus on the questions and problems with mobile payments and commerce instead of the answers and solutions that can help merchants right now.
The “Merchant Dilemma” - as I refer to it - is the fear, uncertainty and doubt around mobile commerce that paralyzes merchants into doing nothing. Wondering when to expect a mobile payment leader to emerge (aka “wait and see” or “hoping”) is not a strategy for growth and profitability for business owners.
Merchants: you need to capitalize on this opportunity to leapfrog your competition! The longer you wait, the more market share your competition will take away from you by adopting mobile commerce solutions ahead of you.
Here are my two favorite recommendations to get you moving in the right direction:
1. Never turn away a paying customer again.
Seek out mobile commerce solutions that provide flexibility so you can tailor the solution to fit your business and your market. Ignore any “one size fits all” product that forces your business (aka “square peg”) to adjust to fit the technology (aka “round hole”), because everyone knows that never works.
Also, be sure that the solution provides access to multiple options to support what your customers already use today and want to use tomorrow. Recognize that no two businesses, regions, or locations are exactly alike, so you will need to be able to support many options consistently and completely, without cluttering the countertop with the “octopus tentacles” of acceptance devices.
2. Act now - don’t wait.
Now is the time to make technology work for you - not the other way around. Drive “more better business” right now by rewarding loyal, repeat business and connecting with new customers who will do the same. Your current and future customers will love you even more, and your competition will begin to hate you as you take away business from them.