Retail Week’s George MacDonald on new ways of buying
We were delighted to chat to George MacDonald, Executive editor of Retail Week about SimplyTap’s current Empire magazine ad campaign with HMV. The innovative ad allows consumers to make instant off the page purchases using QR Codes. George says: ‘New and more convenient ways of buying are increasingly important to retailers. They’re becoming interested in mobile and campaigns such as this because it gives them the means to grab more of spend.’
Square step up mobile retail innovation
We’re big fans of innovation at the MMN and are fascinated by what Jack Dorsey is doing at Square. He’s trying to break through the complex value chain which is involved in payments. He wants to have complete control over the process by owning both ends – the customer’s handset and the in-store till. It’s almost like an Apple model for the High Street. On the downside, trying to take on the world is inevitably slow and you’ve got to displace other businesses in the value chain like NCR. Till packages are quite complex and it’s telling that Square are only really making headway in coffee shops and restaurants. Supermarkets and department stores add extra complexity to the electronic point of sale with discount prices, vouchers and stock availability. Can Dorsey make his business truly attractive to medium and larger retailers? He’s obviously had great success with Square so far and the market has followed with companies like iZettle springing up. Can Dorsey run fast enough without everyone else catching up?
Why Apple aren’t dominating mobile payments… yet
Someone who won’t be in the race against Square just yet is Apple. There’s been speculation in the media about why they’ve been reticent about their mobile payment plans in the face of ambitious projects from Google and Microsoft. Apple is an enormous company which is principally a hardware business. None of its current revenue streams are impacted by it not moving forward into mobile payments right now and it’s become so large that it doesn’t have to innovate in non-core areas anymore. Apple has the luxury of being able to sit there knowing that it has hundreds of millions of customers using its technology and hang fire until the right moment. Why should it chuck a fortune away on mobile payments at this stage when it can buy the most successful business when things are more established? It’s a different story for banks and payment companies who need to innovate because their current revenue streams could be impacted by developments in the industry.
Networks to join forces on an open mobile payments platform
Talking of which, Project Oscar, a multi-carrier common UK mobile payment platform was meant to launch in time for the Olympics. However the FT reported this week that it could get the regulatory nod this summer. The operators have chosen not to comment on the project but on paper, it’s a really exciting development. We know historically with things like mobile data, that the temptation will be to try and own the entire environment. However if an open platform is put in place there could be proper innovation, proper consumer value and proper value for everyone in the eco-system. It could provide us with a step change in the growth of mobile payments and mobile money in the UK.
An m-commerce solution for small retailers
A study this week by Onepoll found that small retailers are moving slowly in their uptake of m-commerce. This isn’t a surprise – these guys are finding it tough: they’re worried about getting customers through the door and earning revenue. They know mobile is going to be big but they want to find out about it in a low risk way without having to invest in it heavily. We’re absolutely primed to introduce small businesses to the mobile retail environment. Through our common platform SimplyTap they can join other retailers and access new customers and channels in which to sell their products.
Visa look at how mobile payments will help all retailers
This week our MD John Milliken presented MMN to retailers at Visa’s When Worlds Collide event in London. More will be revealed about Visa’s plans for the future in next week’s post but it wasn’t a surprise that they emphasised mobile payment as a priority. Retailers of all sizes can accelerate their shift to mobile with Visa’s support of NFC and MMN’s instant mobile checkout, market places and network.