Mobile Anarchy

How smartphones may blow up the way customers shop, pay and fall in love with your c-store brand

By
Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Content Development Coordinator

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The major players involved have divergent agendas. Battles rage over ownership of what many call the “secure element,” or the piece of the payment transaction that verifies a person’s identity. Central to that conflict is the ownership of data and consumer buying history, by any measure the holiest of turf. Retailers, including some of the country’s largest names, have even banded together to create their own mobile-wallet solution as a way to hold onto that data.

These battles affect the viability of technologies, pitting near-field communications (NFC) against on-screen barcodes against snapshots of quick-response (QR) codes. And threats of data-breach liability and security mandates lay like cost-punitive land mines at retailers’ feet.

Then there’s the consumer—by all accounts, both the hot sauce and the wild card.

A recently released study by New York-based Deloitte points to a level of demand that far outpaces supply-chain readiness. In that study, executives from major consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies expected a 35% growth in consumer purchasing via online methods in the next year and 76% growth in three years. In contrast, consumers responding to the survey said they expect their online purchases to increase by 67% in the next year and 158% in three years. (For more on the study, see infographic.)

Now weave in concerns about identity theft in the wake of last fall’s Target breach involving 110 million cardholders. It would seem that customers across all channels want more secure ways to pay, especially as their transactions migrate online. Mobile holds such promise.

So what’s holding up the mobile-wallet avalanche?

In short, the public wants more than the flash of technology to change its mag-stripe way of life.

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