Mobile is changing the global retail landscape at a lightening pace.
Thanks to the proliferation of smartphones and mobile internet, retailers of all shapes and sizes are experiencing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to engage with customers in a new way that can both, encourage online sales and supplement bricks and mortar growth.
The scope to change the way we pay for goods is huge and by creating flexible, relevant mobile solutions for all sizes and types of retailers and consumers, mobile network operators can provide a vast range of services for different people all over the world. From the most technologically advanced regions to those with a small but growing population of mobile users.
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Shopping for pleasure is a popular pastime for many people in developed countries meanwhile
In less developed countries it can be a very different story. The task of having to visit the nearest convenience store to buy life’s necessities can involve a long and arduous journey on public transport or foot. This is a major inconvenience for a lot of people around the world.
A significant percentage of purchases made every day are made at convenience stores. These small, usually family-run businesses handle large amounts of cash on a regular basis, which is far from ideal. Mobile network operators (MNOs) can support these types of merchants by offering them the possibility of accepting mobile wallet payments from customers and making remote payments to suppliers.
Other benefits of MNOs deepening their relationship with the retail industry include marketing services such as coupons, and add-on services that make full use of their networks and consumer reach. Consumers can use their smartphones to find out what to buy, where to buy it, how to get there, how to make a purchase, how to contact customer service, and so on. For me, actually purchasing items, being guided and paying for things like parking, tickets and lunch, with a smartphone fits neatly into this picture.
But MNOs can’t do this alone. They’ll need to strike up smart partnerships with suppliers and distributors to offer advertising and coupon distribution to brands, retail chains, and advertising or media agencies. In markets with a low penetration of mobile financial services, they’ll need to partner with card issuers and payment networks to enable mobile payments wherever there’s a store of any kind.
In the latest of our business insights articles, The Retail Logic, we look at the importance of creating mobile payment solutions that benefit merchants of all sizes. Mobile wallets offered by operators can not only help retailers in both mature and emerging markets to manage the large amount of daily transactions, but also encourage loyalty by serving more of customers’ everyday needs.
If you’re interested in m-commerce and the impact of mobile on retail, checkout out our m-commerce blog.
Written by: Jan Hallberg, Head of Marketing, M-Commerce, Ericsson.