Based on the sheer volume of investments, predictions and hype about the potential of mobile payments, the above headline could have been written years ago. But one tangible recent development indicates that mobile payments may finally be about to take off.
In the past, there have been many hurdles holding the mobile payment market back. These included:
- Handsets. They lacked the appropriate SIM or RFID technology.
- Networks. Banks and credit card companies are notoriously slow, lack innovation and are conservative by nature.
- Security. Communicating over unsecure mobile networks is already an issue, and when it comes to financial transactions, security becomes paramount.
- Merchant Acceptance. Establishing a large enough footprint of national and independent merchants is very difficult. In technology, we call this a problem of “scale”.
- Consumer Behavior. Consumers don’t change their behavior unless there is a good reason to do so. For any number of reasons, most consumers have not yet embraced mobile payments.
Interesting post at American Express Open Forum titled “The Secret to Repeat Business: Grow Your Fanbase.”
After noting that small merchants are “soured by $500 rate cards and the 50 percent cut that flash sales sites take from merchants,” Paul Rosenfeld, CEO of Fanminder, lays out two alternative, more successful strategies:
1) Engage your customers through fan lists that inform and provide deals; and
2) Grow your fanbase.
He then outlines five (5) specific steps for growing your fanbase, (which I’ve modified slightly for our purposes here):
1) Ask your customers to join in person. There still is nothing like the personal touch.
2) Post signs where people look. Savvy Cellar has posted signs above the bar, on the back of the menu. We are thinking about adding signs in or outside the restroom (seriously people do text in there) and on our customer receipts. The latter idea has helped grow Savvy Cellar’s email list.
I was pleased to meet Paul Rosenfeld during the spring of this year. We had just launched a new Savvy Cellar Wine Bar & Wine Shop at the foot of Castro Street in Mountain View, CA. As a tech product guy and part-time wine marketing sloth, I am always on the lookout for ways to connect with new customers. Mobile marketing always sounded simple. But when I’d kick the tires on potential solutions, they usually fell down in one or more dimensions:
- complexity to configure
- administrative time required to manage
- lack of fit with other marketing activities
- inability to actually reach target consumers.