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2014: the year of ‘Buy with Google’?

2014 feels like a significant year for the mobile wallet.

Perhaps before long we’ll all be more comfortable ‘buying with Google’ on mobile websites and apps.

The payment industry itself seems to be shaping up for a leap forward, with its leading conference opting for a rebrand. After 15 years as the Mobile Financial Services & NFC Summit the event has been renamed as the Mobile Wallet & Retail Innovation event in 2014.

This change reflects the slow clarification of what has been a bit of a curate’s egg until now. Confusion around NFC and smartphone hardware, as well as just what it is that the consumer wants, has distracted from exciting potential of the mobile wallet as a tool to buy on mobile websites.

In 2013, merchant-specific payment apps were arguably more successful than broader mobile payment solutions. The Starbucks app is regularly cited as one of the biggest successes thus far, used for 10% of all transactions and providing the customer with an experience enhanced by rewards. The point being, the customer wants more than just quicker payment.

Island Records and Time Out launch NFC campaigns

After looking at the pros and cons of NFC (near field communication), it’s clear there’s a place for tapping to enjoy content as well as to pay for products.

However, the customer’s willingness to tap a poster with their phone is dependent on how well many initial NFC campaigns are carried out. Some clunky efforts, with terrible landing pages and insufficient incentives have risked putting users off for good.

This is changing as brands start to use the technology in better surroundings and to better purpose. A mall is the perfect environment to encourage users to tap with their friends.

To that end, from this week, shoppers can “turn on, tap and enjoy” content and competitions at Westfield shopping centres in London through CBS Outdoor digital pods, which use Proxama’s TapPoint NFC platform.

Tap on the map? Maybe I was wrong about NFC

I recently wrote about mobile NFC being dead in the water. Since then a few dissenting voices have piped up. Understandably, some working in this area. 

One of the voices was Proxama’s. It runs TapPoint, which is a cloud-based SAAS. I spoke to the MD, Miles Quitmann, and he was refreshingly honest enough to turn my oil tanker of beef around and leave me excited about the possibilities of loyalty ‘on tap’. 

So here’s a summary of emerging possibilities for marketers, using the growing number of NFC enabled smartphones in the market.