With new payment gateways and the steep increase in the number of consumers using mobile phones for shopping and the alternative of mobile shopping is growing to become the latest buzz word in e-commerce and retail. The space for electronic retailing has grown by leaps and bounds and has witnessed dramatic changes in the last decade. The mobile payment being the next big thing and paving way for future retail transactions is going to modify the relationship between customers and retailers.
The concept of mobile wallet is growing and gaining traction in the retail market. The mobile wallet is generally an alternative way of making payments which otherwise is done by giving cash, check, or by debit/credit cards. The smartphone using generation of consumers can make payments either by accessing accounts from which funds can be transferred or by holding payment credentials.
There are many existing models being used in the segment of mobile wallets in the apparel and garment retailing industry. The Short Message Service (SMS) was used to interchange text messages to make payments. However, such a service was more popular than digital goods like ringtones, avatars, and games. There was no security or encryption and no inherent evidence or confirmation of receipt, payment, or delivery.
This was followed by the Unstructured Supplementary Data Services (USSD) technology, an information transmitting mechanism using a GSM network. Since it used real time connections for payment sessions, the service was fast. It was mainly used to carry out bill payment and remittances. But for the apparel retail context the mobile wallet model to be used is the contactless mode of payment. Payment for garments can be made in-store by using a contactless technology by holding the smartphone in near proximity to the retailer’s Point of Sale terminal. The credentials of customer accounts or tokens are saved in the smartphone.
Shopping for the latest clothes using mobiles and making payments has increased and the number of consumers switching to this medium is multiplying with time. Another mobile payment model is using an online platform or a cloud system for making purchases. When consumers arrive at the stage of payment, a branded check out screen, which consists of credit/debit details and shipping information without having to enter data each time a transaction, is made.
The latest noise created in this arena is by the Apple Pay which has been launched ahead of the much awaited iPhone 6 for mobile payment. A facility like this ensures that consumers having access to such technology can now buy desired products and services using a particular smartphone. Similarly for Android users there is Google wallet providing users a facility to store everything that one normally does in an actual wallet like coupons, vouchers, airline boarding passes, loyalty cards, and credit/debit cards. Integrating with such platforms, apparel retailers can provide better facilities to smartphone users, drive sales, and boost customer loyalty.
A mobile wallet opens a plethora of opportunities for the garment retail industry. With the aid of third party services who manage the mobile wallet services for them, just like a third party marketing service, retailers can offer easy to use designs and powerful measurement options. The location of mobile wallet users can be identified to send notifications of the latest deals, discounts, or details of a new collection can be sent to a customer, ultimately leading to higher conversion rates and alleviated engagements. Tools like this can let apparel brands and retailers grab the consumers at the right time and right place. Moreover, by using mobile wallet campaigns, apparel retailers can integrate seamlessly with the print and digital advertising efforts.