Guest Post: MWC retrospective on NFC & mobile wallet

by Jon Banks, director of payments solutions, The Logic Group

Of all the conversations I had at MWC [Mobile World Congress] 2014, the topic of ‘mobile wallet’ generated by far the most interest and excitement. The GSMA’s High Street of the Future exhibition provided a tangible demonstration of how services such as mobile wallets could realise future customer experiences and shape the connected high-street of the future. These real time enabled-demonstrations showed that – with the correct ecosystem of customer interaction vendors, retailers can develop a targeted and interactive shopping experience that evokes brand advocacy with the customer.

As the digitalisation of the retail store develops, the opportunity to mobilise marketing and advertising through the mobile wallet presents new channels through which retailers may interact with their customers.

Shortly before the event, the retail payments industry was changed considerably when MasterCard and Visa announced that both will be supporting Host Card Emulation (HCE) for the mobile wallet.

The deployment of HCE by mobile handset vendors completely changes the business model for NFC enabled services and service providers.

With this, they are now more readily able to deploy both NFC enabled payment and value added services, without reliance on a physical secure element SIM based or otherwise.

While there was a general buzz around HCE, there was still recognition that traditional hardware secure element solutions had a role to play, with data being secured in the most appropriate way for the application being deployed.

Exhibitors at MWC 2014 certainly highlighted how the connected city and mobile device are changing our world.

Samsung revealed the Galaxy S5 which sported NFC and bio-metric finger print scanning capabilities.

Beacons continue to stimulate discussion, with a general consensus that the deployment needs to be sensitive to customer experience and that aggressive location based marketing (messaging, offer distribution) avoided to prevent consumer alienation.

For retailers this is great news. As the mobile device becomes more intertwined into our daily lives, the mobile wallet resides at the core.

Its possibilities for converging payments and loyalty offer a host of opportunities to increase customer engagement and personalisation.

Retailers can focus on creating an in-store experience that uses mobile to enhance the customer journey by making shopping more convenient, as well as offering a new touch point to engage consumers.

Converging payment and loyalty within a mobile wallet will garner valuable personalised data on who a customer is and what they truly want.

The right Payment Service Provider can help retailers get down to ‘basket level’ granularity and give truly personalised data to the retailer – closing the gap between point of sale and point of redemption.

This enables retailers to implement highly sophisticated loyalty campaigns, specific to the customers’ personal buying habits.

One such example could be the real time issuance of coupons at the point of sale following a purchase, targeting discounts on the customer’s most bought products.

As MWC demonstrated, this year [2014 ]and beyond will be an exciting time for retailers.

The mobile wallet offers retailers and consumers alike huge possibilities when it comes to digitalising the shopping experience and rejuvenating the High Street.

For retailers in particular the reality of a mobile wallet could transform how they engage and serve customers proactively ahead of an actual purchase taking place and as equally important post purchase.

The mobile wallet is moving from an ideology to become a very real part of the multi-channel offering.

Author biog

Jon Banks is currently the director of payment solutions for The Logic Group. Jon has been with The Logic Group since 2012. He responsible for looking at how to enhance and develop the payments ecosystem to support better consumer interactions and has over 17 year’ experience in the cards and payments industry.

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