Mobile Payments Will Top $1 Trillion by 2017 (And What That Means For Your Business)

In just four years, mobile payments should top $1 trillion, predicts one market research firm.

IDC Financial Insights says that by 2017, the majority of these payments will be from mobile commerce (a consumer purchasing something through a company’s mobile website), but that NFC payments (using a mobile device to pay for an item at the point of sale) will be  a significant player as well, according to an article on Mashable.com.

“The growing prevalence of smartphones is enabling a variety of mobile payment methods, which combined are becoming a significant share of global commerce. We expect growth rates to continue to accelerate as consumers and retailers become more comfortable with the technology,” Aaron McPherson, IDC’s practice director of worldwide payment strategies, said in a statement.

What does this mean for your business? If you want to stay in the game in the future, you’d be wise to invest in a mobile payment system now.

In a recent article, Forbes outlined several reasons businesses should jump on the mobile payment bandwagon:

1. Your customers are racing to use mobile: The transition to mobile is still in its infancy, but it will be one fast-growing baby. Case in point: There are more iPhones sold each day than there are babies born in the world. Online auction giant eBay reported $5 billion in mobile sales in 2011, and expected that number to double in just one year. Mobile is as revolutionary to business owners now as the internet was in the early ’90s, and your business will want a piece of that $1 trillion by the time 2017 rolls around.

2. Your customers love their smartphones: You’re hard-pressed to venture out too many places in the U.S. and not find people staring intently at their smartphones. Customers use them everywhere: At work and school, on the subway and in cabs, and even in your store. Adopting mobile payments will make it easier for them to do business with you anytime, anywhere. What’s more, Forbes cited research that found that users have more of an emotional relationship with their smartphone than any other device. If your business is able to create a unique and personal mobile experience for customers, you can extend that emotional attachment to your brand as well.

3. Your customers are global: Unlike the internet, which has grown first in the developed world and expanded from there, mobile is already a global phenomenon. In fact, according to Forbes, in emerging countries many users are going online for the first time via a mobile device rather than a computer. By investing in mobile, your brand has the opportunity to reach out to new international customers ahead of your competitors.

4. Your competitors are slow: Speaking of getting ahead of your competitors, in “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” best-selling author Clayton M. Christensen says that traditionally when a technological innovation changes the way an industry functions, most of those within that industry will be unable to or too slow to adapt to the new model. Don’t let your business be the one that’s left behind. Instead, get ahead of the mobile trend to give yourself not only a competitive advantage, but also the chance to survive.

5. Your business can get ahead of the learning curve: Sure, adopting new technology isn’t without its headaches and growing pains. You’ll have to experiment with user interaction, distribution and the best mobile payment methods to arrive at a mobile experience that works for both you and your customers. The good news is that starting early allows you to find what works and what doesn’t to fine tune your product before mobile starts making up the majority of your bottom line.

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