Whenever I leave my house, I have my wallet in one pocket and my cell phone in the other. (Well, okay, these days it’s a Blackberry so it’s much more than just a “cell phone”.)
There is no chance I leave either one behind. If I did, I’d notice it right away… unless, of course, I put something else in that pocket. Without my phone or without my wallet I feel kinda naked. Just like most people these days.
We take our used-to-be-cell-phones now-smart-phone everywhere we go. Here, now, in the 21st centry, a smart phone is almost a body part.
When a cell phone came about, it replaced a regular, “land” phone line and allowed us to take it on the road. Then it replaced our computer. And our MP3 player. Sometimes it manages to replace TV and books (a hard thing to pull of because of the size.) However, one thing is pretty obvious: The next fronteir is your wallet and credit cards. Smart phones are about to replace those and that is likely to happen very soon.
Already now, if you have an account with PayPal, you can pay for things online on sites like eBay and Amazon, right from your smart phone. Through PayPal, it will automatically charge your credit card or take the money out of your bank account.
What does this mean to us business owners?
It’s very simple: When the smart-phone payment technology becomes available, not embracing it will be like refusing to take credit cards today. (Just to be fair, some businesses chose not to take credit cards, however, it’s rarely a smart move: You save 2% – 3% in credit card charges but you lose in the number and the size of orders.)
Pay attention to the new things coming out that make the concept “electronic wallet” a bit more ubiquitous. When it goes mainstream, there is going to be a rush to have this in place at every store. Running with the masses, at best, will only let you maintain the market share of local dollars you earn. Being at the front of it will let you capitalize on it. This new mobile marketing window of opportunity is about to open. Be there when it does.