Two topics are today making a lot of buzz, but only buzz and no real business: Mobile Payment and Mobile Marketing.

When talking about mobile payment we see a huge ongoing buzz

(, but still great scepticism about the reality of mobile payment as a business (see How do you get merchants to accept mobile payments? )

In the case of mobile payment all arguments are today focusing on how to convince merchants to adopt it, and regarding mobile marketing how to convince brands and advertisers to invest on it.

But what about the customer in all that? it seems that industry players are not focusing on the real question: what does the end users want (or might want) to do with his mobile?

Here are some answers to that question:

  • The customer wants a group of service, not one
  • The customer is first interested in services that will make his every life easier: transport services (metro, bus etc..) and paring services
  • Then he might be interested in very simple proximity services (see the Combini case in Japan), M-parking, vending machines
  • He wants entertainment services (see the Parrot photo frame )
  • And he is very interested in having all its bulky “merchants cards” (supermarkets, cinemas, sport clubs, coupons…) on his mobile.

But he is definetly not asking for his “bank card” (be it credit or debit…) do be dematerialized in his mobile…

How should merchant take advantage of contactless / NFC?

Contactless or NFC is not a service in itself, proposing to the customer a contactless card or a NFC phone with the simple argument that it will speed up the transaction at the cash desk is just a stupid idea.

But contactless has something other transaction technologies didn’t… it brings “experience”…

Just look at the way commuters use there Oyster, Octopus or Navigo Cards, everyone has its own way of waving the card… it is seen as easy, convenience, fun, magic…

There comes the real story: “contactless” is the first secure transaction technology that enhances “shopper experience” in store.

This is what will make NFC a killer application for the retail industry, it will create a new shopping experience, and “Shopper Marketing” is today (see here) “the” leverage to attract and retain customers and make a retail business more profitable.

Real life example: the fast food industry.

Industry mindset today is that contactless will bring huge value to the fast food industry because it enables faster payments. Speed being the first success factor of a fast food restaurant.

… false….

The payment only takes 10% of a “service time” in a fast food restaurant, the longest, most painful process is the “ordering process”: reading the menu, understanding the menus, choosing the products, changing one’s mind, waiting for the “order building”, shouting at the assistant …

Today fast food merchants need to work on how to get their customer to “build” their order outside the store (web, IVR, mobile) and confirm it in a very easy way once in store… then payment velocity will come as a “bonus”… here is an example on how it can be handled in the future : NFC Mobile Kiosk for fast food.

Before being a payment tool, contactless and mostly NFC should be treated as a marketing tool for the merchants; then it will be much easier to make them invest in expensive POS infrastructures.