A detailed forecast and quantitative analysis of the emerging Mobile Commerce industry was presented and discussed at the Pre Paid Press Expo in the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, and the results were remarkable.
Mobile payments and mobile commerce have become different products, applicable to different markets. One of the key differences is the use of Pre-Paid and Stored Value cards as a 'virtual bank' and a new revenue source for products like the Google Wallet and Isis. Read an overview of the analysis presented by David W. Schropfer at the Expo. The presentation preceded an expert panel discussion which also included mobile commerce experts: Dennis Andrews and T. Jack Williams. Moderator Lori Breitzke expertly guided the conversation to discuss and debate the technologies, business models, and the future players of the emerging mobile commerce industry. Her insightful questions elicited critical feedback from the panelists and from the audience, including a consensus on the current Mobile Commerce leader, and the concept of depositing cash at retail stores.
GOOGLE WALLET IN THE LEAD
Surprisingly, all three panelists agreed that the Google Wallet is positioned to lead the emerging mobile commerce industry despite the fact the product has not yet been released to the general market (the first market tests are expected before the end of the year). This consensus was not based on Google’s acquisition announcement of Motorola Mobility, but rather in Google's obvious focus on organizing the breadth of features and benefits into a product interface that consumers can use and understand easily. The panel agreed that the company that organized loyalty programs and coupons/promotions with payments in a single product that benefits both retailers and consumers with incentives will be in the best position to lead this sector. According to the panel, that company is currently Google.
CASH "DEPOSITS" AT RETAIL STORES?
Another key insight is on the subject of cash, and the use of cash by the under banked and unbanked. In the morning keynote address, Frank Squilla of InComm speculated that branch banking may be entering a transformative phase, and financial institutions would need to find new ways to economically interact with consumers. That interaction may be as simple as the ability to load and unload Google or IsisPrepaid card with cash anywhere the product is accepted. Depending on the final design of these products, both of which are expected to launch tests in the 3rd quarter this year, these new forms of prepaid products have the potential to create a "load anywhere/spend anywhere" opportunity for consumers while providing features and benefits that were previously reserved for traditional debit and credit card customer, such as: digital loyalty programs, points programs, another redemption vehicles.
Click here to read an overview of the presentation that launched the debate and discussion.
David W. Schropfer is the co-founder of the Luciano Group, an international consulting firm, where he is responsible for strategic development and negotiation for the firm and its clients in the areas of mobile payments, partnership agreements, and interconnections. He is also the author of The Smartphone Wallet - Understanding the Disruption Ahead, the first book on mobile payments for consumers and retailers.