It seems like every day, the mobile payment marketplace is getting a little more crowded. From established leaders like PayPal and Google to new, innovative startups that are changing the mobile payment landscape, one thing is clear – mobile payments will become even more common the future. In fact, some in the industry think we're only at the start of the mobile payment revolution. The good new is, those who are serious players in the industry and who want to remain in the game long-term have set their sights on delivering what end-users really want - seamless payment capabilities that improve the mobile payment experience.
And why wouldn't companies have their sights set that this goal? Reports show that, by 2017, there will be 1.5 billion smartphone users worldwide. That's a lot of people who want simple and intuitive interactions with brands and mobile payment.
For both businesses and brands, mobile payments represent a chance to deliver value in a far more personal way than ever before. Smart brands realize that mobile payments are not a fad or a trend. These kinds of payments represent a new chance to deepen relationships with existing customers and to attract new ones - if those businesses and brands can deliver the kind of experiences that mobile users want.
Forrester Research predicts that over $90 billion USD will change hands as the result of mobile payments. This is almost a 50% increase over the $12.8 billion USD in 2012.
Smart Companies are Embracing Mobile Payment Technology
So who are the companies embracing mobile payment technology, and how are they using payment apps to build relationships?
Starbucks - A Leader in More Than Lattes
Not surprisingly, Starbucks leads the global charge among mobile purchasing apps. It's the #1 downloaded food and beverage app in the world. Starbucks' strategy is one of convergence. It has brought together the entire brand experience into one mobile app that allows users to pay for purchases, find Starbucks locations, track rewards, create custom drink products and even download a free weekly song.
Dunkin' Donuts - Mobile Payments Encouraged With Mobile Savings
While very similar to Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts differentiates itself in the mobile payment world by placing an emphasis on mobile-only offers such as savings on menu combos, and coupons that keep customers engaged and making regular stops to the U.S. coffee giant's growing number of locations.
7-Eleven - Integration With Life and Mobile
The convenience store giant wants to be a big part of your life - digitally, of course. The company's mobile app gives users time, date and current temperature based on their location, but digs a deeper connection with customers by giving them details on local 7-Eleven deals and encourages them to buy with mobile-only coupons that can be scanned/used in-store.
Other companies like NY Taxi, Facebook and countless retailers are quickly adopting mobile payments, giving priority to integration of the appropriate technology.
Customers Want an Experience, Not a Platform
Regardless of their platforms, these leaders are seen as innovative by consumers - which translates into loyalty, more online buying and the need for evolution of mobile payment technology. Competition is heating up in the mobile payment marketplace and that means consumers can expect a fight over their digital wallets.
The future of mobile payments is now – and there are plenty of mobile payment solutions available to both merchants and consumers. Time will tell what combination of platform, apps and user experience will set the leaders apart from the rest of the crowd.
Eran Feinstein is the founder of Direct Pay Online. Direct Pay Online provides global e-commerce and online payments solutions for the travel and related industries He is a leading authority in the fields of e-commerce, travel and payments, having acquired extensive experience from various parts of the world.