Awareness of mobile payments (paying with a mobile phone app instead of handing over cash or swiping a credit card), grew dramatically in 2015. An Accenture report from October 2015 indicated that more than half of consumers are aware they can use their mobile phones to pay at brick & mortar establishments, which is a 40% increase from 2014.
Announcements by large technology companies such as Apple, Google, and Samsung that they would equip POS terminals at participating merchants with the hardware to process payments directly from a mobile phone, generated widespread recognition that mobile phones had new capabilities. Despite the increase in familiarity, adoption has been low. Usage rates have been flat over the same period increasing by only 1% according to the same report. Per a Trustev report, only 21% of iPhone users have made a mobile payment and of those, 50% use it only once a week.
Because of this, small businesses may not be convinced they need to adapt to this emerging payment technology. However, the smart phone is only continuing to evolve and become more advanced. All trends point to mobile payments as the future and a natural progression for consumers and the industry. A wait and see approach may not hurt future sales, but embracing mobile payments early in 2016, as Starbucks has already done and proven results from, can help businesses gain a competitive edge.
Here are four ways to embrace mobile payment technology now to win and keep customers.
Create customer convenience
Customers may not always have their wallets handy, but they usually have a mobile phone within quick grasp. As the trend of shopping by mobile through e-commerce sites continues, the comfort to extend paying by phone at brick & mortar establishments will grow. Nothing beats the convenience of mobile for all payments. Businesses allowing this rapid payment process will be top of mind as interest for the frictionless experience grows.
Also, a mobile purchasing app can be used anywhere: sitting at work, on the train, in the airport, at the gym, or on the road. By accepting orders through this method, it's possible to secure business before customers even walk through the front door. In addition, payment apps can store multiple credit cards, so customers don't have to burrow through a wallet to find the right one saving time for everyone, even for your next customer.
Build loyalty and a following
A valuable mobile payments app will integrate gift cards and loyalty programs, making tracking points, dollars and rewards effortless. No need to punch a card, take a phone number, or any other personal information from your customers. Points instantly accrue after a purchase when the program is activated. Customers can see the points on their phone and that keeps them coming back. True loyalty leads to a dedicated following. Building loyalty and a following early on by mobile phone makes it difficult for competitors to lure away your business. Loyalty programs in apps are more flexible, too. Want customers to focus on a new menu item? Increase the loyalty points for it and see orders take off.
Intelligent search features in mobile payment apps help customers discover your business when they are in the area, searching for a specific menu item, or even a particular menu ingredient. When you participate in a payments app that does this, the visibility of your business increases. In the past physical location was everything. Today being on the mobile phone screen of a potential customer first is the key to success. Treatmo also levels the playing field. Merchants cannot pay for visibility. Items purchased are streamed to a user's social network creating awareness of food and products organically.
Shape a community
Treatmo is about community. The social commerce features let users treat other users in the app who they have added to their network. Merchants can create a user account as well and friend customers. By doing so they create a following of authentic consumers and regular shoppers, interested in the products. By interacting frequently, offering giveaways, and introducing new menu items or products, merchants can create buzz that leads to orders and an increase in engagement with their mobile storefront.
Treatmo does all of the above. Join early on and position your business for growth as mobile payments gains in popularity. Make discovery, purchasing, and loyalty building completely seamless. Treatmo does not require additional hardware, and its merchant systems work on any web-based tool (tablet, smart phone). By becoming a Treatmo Hotspot, you'll win the early business that now goes by mobile phone and impress consumers.