Can mobile ever match online as a payment method?

Bango at MobileSquared roadshow

"Users need a fast, trusted and reliable payment experience"

Yes it can and it already is. This was one of the conclusions at the MobileSquared roadshow that took place in London last week. The roadshow, organized by Nick Lane, Chief Strategy Analyst at MobileSquared, was a great platform to discuss all the latest trends on mobile. It had a great line up of speakers and lots of interesting case studies, including one for the Spot the dog iPad mobile app, by Penguin publishers, who created the app as another channel to engage with mothers.

“It’s all about trust for the user,” said Sabine Irgang, COO of itsmy.com, when asked if mobile could match online as a payment method. “Users need a fast, trusted and reliable payment experience. If, after 30 seconds to 1 minute, they don’t receive the content, they’ll report it as an error”.

Anil Malhotra, Co-founder of Bango thinks that mobile can dwarf online payments and that it offers greater choice to users. The mobile 21st wallet, as Bango calls it, is operated through a mobile device and provides the same portability as a customer’s wallet but benefits from greater choice. It is very tightly integrated with the phone, so that customers can charge payments to their phone bill with a click. Most importantly the customer controls how this wallet works for them – not PayPal, not Apple, not the card company.

Having listened to the varied range of topics discussed, one can say that the mobile industry has moved a long way – with many brands now having a mobile presence. But there was unanimous agreement that there’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of education to get those brands still reluctant to embrace mobile to take the jump. Some UK retailers, in particular, continue to shy away from the idea of developing a mobile strategy and are only taking baby steps. This is partly due to a lack of understanding about what can be done on mobile and the tendency by some to see mobile as a separate channel rather than as another element of the overall digital marketing strategy.

But as smartphones continue to become the preferred choice for users and more people access the internet from mobile devices, it will be a matter of months and not years for mobile to become a fully integrated element of the marketing mix. The delivery, consumption and monetization of content to the mobile-connected consumer will be on the agenda of every corporation’s strategy meetings.

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