Mobile Predictions for 2012
Smartphones and tablets will start to take a bigger share of our lives and the dominance of mobile technology will shape how consumers shop. Expect to see increased mobile payment functions and upgrades to make transacting quicker and life easier this year. What follows is my forecast for hot topics and trends in the mobile commerce space in 2012.
The Year of Living Loyally
With growing consumer dependency on smartphones, there's an increasing demand for mobile coupons, mobile barcodes, QR codes and NFC applications. Mobile CRM will continue to take shape in 2012, with more retailers launching location-based marketing campaigns in the form of promotions, vouchers and coupons as you enter a store.
NFC No Longer MIA
Near field communication (NFC) and related payment schemes began to take root in 2011, but the current payment generation is still far from ubiquitous. NFC is merely one piece of the puzzle — it's a layer in the solution but not a holistic payment answer. Widespread adoption of m-commerce will be driven by loyalty programs, not payment services.
This year we'll continue to see different uses of m-commerce in emerging markets as opposed to the developed world. We'll see emerging markets using mobile remittance as a necessity, while the developed world will continue to adopt mobile payments technology as an added convenience to their daily lives.
Banking the Unbanked
Another hot topic in mobile will be its use as a means to bank the unbanked here in the U.S. and other emerging economies. We'll see telecom operators and banks continue to band together to offer the world’s underbanked population easy access to financial institutions and services.
Mobility play is strong in this space as workflows are being mobilized inside companies’ accounting departments. Payment decisions, wires, funds movement, security and permissions can all be done via mobile devices to ensure increased efficiency in revenue streams. We'll see increased interest in and adoption of mobile banking from a business perspective.
Loyalty programs are easing the transition into a m-commerce world. We'll start to see consumers become more comfortable and confident transacting via their mobile device. I'm very optimistic this year will be another strong one for the mobile payments space with heavy competition from retailers, operators and banks to enroll and retain customers.