The New Smart Money Can I get your number? Mobile commerce makes purchasing as simple as waving your smartphone at the register.
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You know the clunky, unsightly cash register occupying all that real estate in your place of business? Say goodbye. It's now a paperweight--a fossil, a relic of a bygone era where cash and plastic reigned supreme. The future of point-of-sale transaction processing lies in the mobile phone, the one thing your customers carry with them wherever they go--the one thing they absolutely never leave home without.
Merchants have heard this prognostication before, of course. Pundits have forecasted the emergence of mobile wallets for roughly a decade. The tech sector has promised--but failed to deliver--a secure, alternative payment system that would accelerate the transaction process, increase customer spending and streamline operations. The kind of system that would be a godsend for verticals like quick-service restaurants and convenience stores. But mobile commerce always failed to take off.
This time, though, things look different. (Really.) For starters, consumers are showing far more interest in making purchases using their mobile devices. Close to half of U.S. smartphone owners have either used their devices for mobile shopping or plan to do so in the imminent future, according to a survey conducted by ABI Research. Americans spent more than $3.4 billion on mobile shopping in 2010, up from $1.9 billion the previous year, the report says--and it predicts that online shopping will yield $163 billion in worldwide sales by 2015, representing 12 percent of total global e-commerce turnover.