Friday, May 4, 2018
In a survey of 1,794 small business owners, ShopKeep found a slight increase in mobile wallet adoption over a two-year period. In a report titled ShopKeep Small Business Pulse: 2018, ShopKeep evaluated responses from a diversified base of U.S. retail and hospitality customers. Among merchants polled, 50 percent had one to three employees, and 57 percent were female business owners, which survey researchers called "a positive sign considering that women's self-employment rate has historically been lower than men's."
This year's findings are at odds with the company's 2016 report in which 42 percent of respondents expected half of all transactions soon to be mobile payment schemes. Despite the 2016 forecast, mobile payment activity remained flat among 68 percent of merchants surveyed, with 24 percent seeing only a modest lift. Even merchants with mobile payment capabilities said they are hesitant to activate the services, according to survey data. Michael DeSimone, chief executive officer at ShopKeep, attributed this hesitation to marketplace uncertainties.
"There is still a lot of confusion in the marketplace when it comes to digital wallets and mobile payments. In the ShopKeep Small Business Pulse, 43 percent of small business owners stated that they don't even offer mobile wallet options to their customers," DeSimone noted. "With 25,000 small businesses on our platform, we know many of these customers actually are equipped to accept mobile payments, so we believe that improving education, as well as adding incentives like tying mobile payments to a loyalty program, could be something we see more of in the future to drive further adoption of the technology."
Sandy Travers, co-founder and co-CEO at DigiPay Solutions Inc., recommends removing barriers to entry, such as a requirement for personally identifiable information and lack of universal apps. "Mobile wallets need to be device-agnostic, and many mobile wallet schemes require users to input Social Security numbers during the registration process," Travers stated. "Until we remove these barriers, we'll see increased mobile wallet usage in select verticals, but not on a broad, national scale."
DeSimone additionally noted that mobile payments are not top of mind among small and midsize merchants, many of whom are struggling to maintain profitability. In an environment with an 82 percent failure rate, survey data highlights the need for effective planning and cash flow management, he noted. Following are additional recommendations.
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