Saturday, August 11, 2012

"Mobile Payments" Increasingly is About Other Things

Ever since the mobile payments business began its ascent of the  "hype" meter, there has been volumes of debate about where the value of "mobile payments" actually lies. For many suppliers, the value remains in the transaction fees purchases drive.

For many others, including perhaps most other potential interests in the ecosystem, the value lies elsewhere. Advertising, promotions or loyalty are some of the ways mobile commerce, in a broad sense, can be realized. 

Some would argue the value lies squarely in the ability of mobile commerce tools to allow merchants to find customers, have customers find them engage customers and enhance the shopping experience. 

Merchants care about knowing as much as they can about a customer that has walked through the front door of the shop. Retailers care about allowing customers to find exactly what they want, as fast as possible, perhaps find products they didn't know they needed, then buy quickly and efficiently, without standing in long lines. 

Retailers care about maintaining relationships with those shoppers after they leave the store. 
At the end of the day, most of the potential value of mobile commerce will involve all sorts of things besides the actual way a customer makes a purchase. 

Experience might be the reason Starbucks essentially decided to outsource its payments operations to Square, instead of any other supplier you might name. Apparently, Starbucks thinks Square's interface and app make for the best end user experience, as a "payment app."

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