Industry experts are calling smartphones the biggest industry revolution since the credit card.
When examining the mobile payments world, it is now being said that the revolution it has brought along with it for retail is comparable to that which was seen in 1958 when the first Visa was introduced by Bank of America in the form of the BankAmericard.
Smartphones now offer a widespread transaction method that consumers can use on a mainstream basis.
Just as credit cards are now vital to today retail marketplace, regardless of the status of the economy as a whole, mobile payments is now expanding the possibilities and options available for making purchases in the online and offline spheres. American consumers and businesses used their credit cards for over $1.5 trillion in transactions in 2011, according to Visa and MasterCard’s data, alone.
However, since the introduction of that first credit card, the actual experience of shopping and making a purchase while in-store has remained essentially the same. That is, it had remained the same until smartphones became as prevalent as they are.
Mobile payments have altered and enhanced the way that consumers shop, even while in-store.
The technologies available through this single device are quite diverse. From simple internet access through a browser, to text messaging, apps, NFC, digital wallets, QR codes and other barcodes, GPS based local marketing, and smartphone coupons, the list seems to be almost never ending.
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All of these mobile payments opportunities and options mean that the consumer isn’t just accessible on a computer for online shopping anymore. Instead, the online and offline worlds are brought together, no matter where the shopper may be – including while inside the store itself.
Though tablets are important players in the online world of m-commerce, they are typically too large for consumers to carry around with them everywhere they go. It is the smartphone that is now taking the first steps at changing the way that a consumer’s wallet functions – in that, it often doesn’t involve a physical wallet, at all.
Mobile payments through a smartphone are opening up the digital world and bringing it with consumers wherever they go. The retail environment has changed for today’s shopper, and stores are beginning to realize that they are going to need to change with it.