November 30, 2011
At the annual CARTES trade show held in Paris this past month, it was amazing to see how much focus was put into mobile solutions. Even those companies whose businesses are not relevant to mobile had some form of the word in their name. There were even chip card manufacturers touting the mobility of their product. After all, how could a chip card not be mobile?! Clearly, mCommerce is the buzz now all over the world.
The paradigm shift of merchants and soon consumers being able to use their cell phones and tablets to transact with each other is happening at warp speed around the globe. In many countries where electronic payment infrastructures had never been very well developed, they are leap frogging over the traditional card-based systems right into mobile ones. At our ROAM Data stand inside of the Ingenico booth at CARTES, visitors from all over the world were lined up to hear how our program is enabling ISOs/MSPs and acquirers compete against the likes of Square. It reminds me of my days working at Triton when retail ATM’s were taking off in the U.S. and the land grab in convenience stores and other key segments began to take hold in foreign countries.
It was very interesting to hear and field the many questions posed by foreign banks, acquirers, ISOs and integrators alike. Is mobile POS acceptance moving more into traditional merchant locations or new markets? Are most of Square’s customers really considered merchants? Could an existing virtual terminal (eCommerce) product be adapted to an mCommerce solution as easily as it would seem? What is the future of traditional payment terminals when mobile card reading devices have become so inexpensive? How soon can the next generation ROAM Swipe Reader with EMV and NFC support be available? How do the card schemes view the deployment of ‘chip and sig’ systems in terms of chargeback liability and interchange rates? Will customers in all markets eventually accept an emailed receipt as has become the norm in the U.S.?
The next 2-3 years is going to be very interesting and exciting as all of these questions begin to get answered both at home and abroad. If we learn from recent history with the penetration of card acceptance into the quick service industries including fast food restaurants, movie theaters, taxi cabs and stadiums…new accepting markets will deploy in rapid waves enabled by new technologies which will crossover into established markets. If a payment system can be fully integrated into the quick service merchant’s check out process and speed customers through faster than if they were paying with cash then why wouldn’t any other type of retailer prefer to streamline the process for their customers as well? Clearly the Apple stores have demonstrated this while focusing on a personal touch for their clients.
So what’s my advice to those competing in this space? I’m not much of a Colts fan but I think we all learned from Peyton Manning’s absence this year. Intellectually, one could always understand how such a strong offense made their defense look so much better than it really was by keeping them off the field and well-rested when they did come on. Seeing this all play out this year so badly without him really drives home the point in black and white: you cannot be overly focused on defending your turf…you must be aggressive and on the offensive, particularly when it comes to staying ahead of the competition in this rapidly evolving mobile frontier that we’ve entered.
About ROAM Data
ROAM Data provides patented mCommerce software, hardware and services that enable merchants to win customer spend and loyalty. ROAM Data securely delivers faster more convenient transactions for small and large merchants across virtually any mobile device. ROAM’s mission is to enable mCommerce to improve lives.
ROAM’s team has been innovating in this space for over 10 years and has cracked the four major problems that have held back the full scale adoption of mCommerce namely: device complexity, payment security, legacy system integration and app deployment/maintenance. ROAM partners and customers include some of the largest payment providers e.g. Intuit Payment Solutions, Ingenico, First Data, Chase Paymentech. ROAM won the 2010 Technology Innovation Award sponsored by the Electronic Transaction Association and is setting the standard for scalable mCommerce solutions for merchants everywhere. Visit us at www.roamdata.com