Shoppers have already started to turn to their smartphones to check out prices before buying, to look up product availability or a review, or to collect vouchers and discount offers.
Increasingly they are using their mobiles as a way to pay for goods. Mobile payments using so-called Near Field Communications (NFC) are one of a myriad of m-commerce activities becoming increasingly popular with consumers.
M-commerce currently makes up only a very small proportion of online spending (around five per cent) and total retail (no more than 0.5 per cent), but the everyday use of mobiles by consumers as part of the shopping process means it is set to boom.
Many smartphones currently on the market already contain embedded NFC chips that can send encrypted data at a short distance (‘near field’) to a reader located, for instance, next to a retail cash register. It means shoppers who have their credit card information stored in their NFC smartphones can pay for purchases simply by tapping their mobiles onto a reader unit in the retail store. It is much easier than the cumbersome credit card, PIN keying and/or signature routines. The NFC applications are being launched in multiple sectors including sales, marketing, promotions, payment, transport, tourism, retail, events, and social networking.
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