By Ben Carsley, Writer/Editor (@BC_PYMNTS)
Welcome to Day Three of PYMNTS.com’s Mobile World Congress 2013 Recap: a comprehensive look at all the most important payments announcements and coolest stories from MWC2013 in Barcelona, Spain.
We will be live on-site for all four days of the conference and aim to bring you as many major news stories, fascinating tidbits, product reviews/demos and more from one of the industry’s biggest and most important shows. If you missed Day One, catch our write-up here. Our Day Two roundup can be found here.
Think we should have covered another big story? Want to share a cool product or feature you saw with us? Let me know in the comments below!
Gemalto Focuses On Integration With Mobile Wallet
I had a chance to demo Gemalto’s new LinqUs mobile wallet platform, and it’s clear to me that single-app integration is the focus on their new mWallet platform. From one single white label app, you can access features such as NFC payments, traditional banking options, transit services and couponing, moving fairly seamlessly between uses without needing to open other apps. Once you select a card to use for NFC payments, you can also use the phone to make contactless purchases without opening the app: a nice feature that should be a true time-saver.
The other cool feature Gemalto included in its mobile app is that it’s integrated with Google Maps, allowing users to see where they can take advantage of coupons, run to ATMs or better utilize many of the other features Gemalto has included in LinqUs. LinqUs is also integrated with Western Union and MoneyGram, making remittances and P2P payments an easy and straightforward process.
LinqUs is currently available as a white label option in Germany and also helps to power Isis’ platform in the U.S., although Isis uses a different interface.
Attacking Retail From All Angles
To close out the day, I attended the seminar “Retail Therapy: Enhancing the Shopping Experience Through Mobile,” which tackled various ways the retail industry can better target and serve consumers. Participants from eBay, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Visa, GS1 Germany, Blippar, Brightstar, Metro Group and Groupon all gave their takes and share their experiences as to how retail is changing.
Danielle Lee of AT&T AdWorks gave one of the seminar’s more interesting presentations, speaking about AT&T Alerts: an SMS-based targeted offering program that, according to Lee, has seen hugely positive reaction from users to this point. Users have to double-opt in to the program, which sends them push notifications for deals when they enter a certain geo-fenced area, which is determined by the advertisers themselves. Since the platform works through SMS, consumers don’t have to download an app, and AT&T Alerts works on feature phones as well as smartphones.
One of the more amusing anecdotes came from Benjamin Burghardt of Metro Group, who showed a slide depicting the company’s first take on mobile shopping back in 2003: a tablet-like computer with a barcode reader that was attached to a physical shopping cart. Burghardt used the point to demonstrate how far mobile shopping has come from its humble beginnings. Features like shopping list creation, in-store orientation and product information were in many ways precursors to the payment functionality we expect from mobile shopping today.
David Katz of Groupon gave some honest answers about how his company is changing its business model, adding “evergreen” deals to its slate in addition to keeping its more standard flash deals, which are available for only a limited period of time. Katz also shared some very promising mobile numbers, revealing that one third of U.S. Groupon transactions now come from mobile, and that mobile customers spend 50 percent more than do their website-using counterparts.
“We’re finally getting to the point where mobile is now, and not something off in the distance,” Katz said.
Finally, Ambarish Mitra, CEO and co-founder of Blippar, gave an interesting take on his augmented reality company, and how generating additional and innovative content can improve consumers’ shopping experience. To use Blippar, you simply point your smartphone’s camera at a piece of content and after that, the choices are pretty limitless. Companies can choose to send you videos, games, offers, information or pretty much any media they choose, and such offerings can be dynamic based on location or time as well. It was a pretty cool demonstration of how augmented reality could become a part of a typical shopping experience in the not-so-distant future.
MasterCard Stays In The Limelight
One day after their Mobile World Symposium, which we covered here, MasterCard made several more announcements regarding global partnerships. MasterCard is focusing on the Brazilian, Indian and South African markets through partnerships with companies such as TIM, Gemalto, Beam, eServGlobal, Otio and others, using mobile and prepaid to bring financial inclusion to populations that are sorely lacking. Read a complete recap of MasterCard’s deals here.