Will Mobile Payments Succeed on their Own?

I recently came across a Fortune article entitled, “Why Mobile Wallets Alone Will Fail.” The article brings up some interesting points. We’ve discussed how mobile wallets are slow to grow due to the lack of NFC-enabled mobile devices, but the Fortune article suggests that there’s also something else missing—interaction.

Think of going to a small, local shop that you often frequent. There may only be a few store clerks, or just the owner, but if you’re a regular, they remember you. They might ask how your new headphones are working out for you, and may even suggest other items that they think you would like. Now, imagine going to a big-box store, such as Target. Chances are, your shopping experiences are very different. You might walk through the automated door, grab a cart, and head to the aisles with items that you need. You’re not greeted by anyone until you arrive at the point of sale (POS).

Essentially, shopping at large, chain stores has become dehumanized. But, rather than throwing a store greeter into the mix, investing in more technology could actually improve the shopping experience and expand the usage of mobile payment. While we’ve discussed customer experience in the retail industry before, tying it to the mobile payment experience could be a win-win for both.

Once customers are at the POS, its too late—they aren’t going to buy anything else aside from a pack of gum or magazine. By leveraging the smartphone, stores could create apps that greet customers as they enter a store, reward customers for being there, allow customers to create lists and point out the aisles the products are located in, suggest complimentary products and more.

After the customers have been interacting with their mobile device throughout their shopping experience, using it to pay for their goods will become second nature. Creating a new shopping experience, rather than just having a new way to pay for things, will be the ticket to successful mobile payment adoption. Or, as the Fortune article states, “Alone, mobile payment won’t take off with shoppers in a big way, but only as part of something that lifts up the shopping experience radically and fundamentally, then it will be awesome.”

Do you agree that mobile payments need to be part of a greater mobile shopping experience in order to succeed? Share your thoughts by commenting below, or on our Facebook or twitter pages.