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Mobile business: Don't believe the hype

Antony Savvas | Jan. 4, 2013
Despite the hype around mobile business, UK firms are failing to generate significant sales, through poorly designed mobile websites and barely any support for mobile wallets, according to two separate in-depth studies.

ICM said there was a lack of retailer support with few terminals and little or no in-store promotion. In addition, widely held consumer security concerns have not been addressed, for instance what happens if customers lose their phone?

More than half (51 per cent) of the consumers surveyed would use mobile wallets if their worries about security were addressed.

Consumers are ready to accept a range of security measures to gain confidence in mobile wallets - including a bank/mobile provider guaranteeing any financial losses (56 per cent), entering a PIN on every transaction (43 per cent) or after a number of transactions (37 percent), and being able to shut the mobile down remotely (40 per cent).

Other forms of protection like setting a daily cap on spending (34 per cent), facial recognition (33 per cent) and voice recognition (24 per cent) on the mobile handset also had consumer support.

ICM also believes that retail brands aren't doing enough to connect with their customers using the mobile tools they are already comfortable with, particularly apps.

In the run up to Christmas ICM found only one high street retailer using apps specifically designed to help with Christmas shopping.

In addition, said ICM, there simply aren't enough NFC (near field communication) enabled smartphones in the field, meaning many people can't yet make contactless payments by mobile even if they wanted to.

A major barrier to take up in 2013 is that smartphone users tend to be tied into long contracts, and people won't break their contracts just to get an NFC enabled device, said ICM.

Jamie Belnikoff, associate director at ICM Research, said, "Mobile wallets are about more than just paying - they allow consumers to manage their vouchers and discounts, loyalty cards, event tickets and public transport passes all in one place.

"Whilst people appreciate these advantages, their genuine security concerns, the lack of terminals in shops and absence of in-store promotions are preventing broader consumer take-up."


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