The Green Sheet Online Edition
July 08, 2013 • Issue 13:07:01
Small merchants falling behind on mobile
Data security and compliance solutions specialist ControlScan and TransFirst, a provider of payment processing services, released Small Merchants and Mobile Payments: 2013 Survey of Technology Awareness and Adoption on June 13, 2013. The report contains results of the companies' survey of Level 4 merchants - those who process fewer than 20,000 e-commerce or 1 million physical card transactions annually. The survey's aim was to get a feel for merchant awareness and readiness to adopt mobile payment technologies.
Findings indicate that while consumer use of mobile payment technologies has steadily grown, Level 4 merchants are not, as a group, evolving their businesses to effectively capitalize on this business trend. For example, roughly two-thirds of Level 4 merchants' websites are not optimized for mobile platforms.
The need to optimize for mobile now
The survey acknowledged that small business owners are often distracted by the day-to-day details of running a business and can often miss subtle changes in consumer demands and habits. But taking a wait-and-see attitude toward optimizing for mobile sales can leave small business owners in the position of missing opportunities for growth, as well as risking being left behind if consumers find purchasing their product or service to be a hassle.
According to the report, as mobile technology becomes more prevalent and accepted by consumers, many large retailers are ramping up their mobile presence. If smaller merchants do not do the same, they are putting up unnecessary roadblocks to mobile consumers.
"Merchants should seek out service providers who take the time to understand and cost-effectively meet their business objectives," said David Abouchar, Senior Director of Product Management at ControlScan. "Ask the prospective service provider for examples of their work with similar merchants.
"How did they help that merchant increase revenue without losing any additional money to fraud or chargebacks? Mobile technologies will continue to develop over time, so the merchant service provider should offer solutions that can help the merchant adapt and grow as things evolve."
Opportunities for ISOs
Merchant service providers must stay ahead of consumer trends to remain helpful to the customers they serve, according to the report. Helping their client merchants meet the challenge of mobile commerce through cost-effective solutions will keep them front of mind and provide opportunities to capture more sales and increase retention.
The report advised that ISOs and merchant level salespeople should review their products to determine if they are giving merchants the right tools to grow their businesses with mobile commerce. Service providers also need a strategy for communicating the availability and utility of these products and services to their merchants. "If you don't talk to your merchants, somebody else will," said Craig Tieken, Director of Product at TransFirst. "The merchant service provider's role is changing, and those taking a consultative approach with their merchants will come out on top."
According to the survey, during December 2012, 25 percent of all website hits originated from mobile devices, an 84 percent increase year over year. Researchers advised e-commerce businesses to take steps to ensure easy, secure access to their products and services to generate continued sales and keep the attention of mobile consumers.
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