By Katherine Bartels
Business analysts have forecasted that 2013 is going to be a year full of change for small and large businesses alike. From ObamaCare and the Fiscal Cliff to the launch of Facebook’s Graph Search and Twitter’s Vine, business owners have a lot to navigate in the coming months. But with everything that small-business owners must adapt to this year, we want to make sure that retail business owners don’t miss out on one of this year’s biggest trends and opportunities for growth – the rise of mobile commerce.
Mobile devices are modernizing the retail industry in two critical ways:
- As the preferred online shopping portal
- As the new mobile wallet
What does this mean for retailers? In summary, having a mobile-friendly business is no longer a “should do” it is now a “must do” in order to remain successful in this economy. According to BizBest Daily, roughly 55% of Americans own a smart phone.What’s more, the average mobile device user spends between two and five hours on their portable instrument per day.
The hours logged by mobile device users have translated into real revenue for online retailers. According to the research firm eMarketer, consumers made a whopping $25 billion in online purchases via mobile devices last year alone.The mobile commerce boom – which makes up about 11% of ecommerce sales – is only going to grow.
Crucial aspects of the mobile commerce market are visibility and ease of use. Consumers not only want to have the option to make an online purchase from a mobile device, they also want it to be easy. In a recent National Public Radio interview, Andrew Gazdecki, CEO of Bizness Apps, said that small retailers need to sit up and take notice of this trend. Small-business owners need to take advantage of the consumer demand to easily make online purchases anytime, anywhere. That means retailers need to invest in mobile-friendly retail websites and install safeguards to secure mobile shoppers’ personal information.
But there’s more to the mobile commerce trend than just online shopping…
Starting next week many major credit card companies will be adding a charge fee when customers pay with plastic, meaning that retailers will literally need to pay per swipe. In effort to reduce this cost, many states are allowing retailers to add a surcharge to minimize this credit card processing fee. The choice, however, is up to the retailer: either cover the cost for the processing fee or tack it onto customers’ bills. Either way, these additional costs will likely lead many consumers to use their mobile device or ‘mobile wallet’ when shopping.
In short: retailers big and small need to be ready. To stay competitive, we recommend that stores offer payment methods that are compatible with mobile devices. Innovative payment services with low transaction fees include Google Wallet, LevelUp, and SQUARE.