Gini Dietrich

Building Your Online Presence Around Mobile Payments

By: Gini Dietrich | November 17, 2010 | 

So many things are happening this week, it’s hard to choose just one blog topic. Facebook is taking on Google in the email space. AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile are joining forces so we no longer have to carry wallets. And Google is launching a recommendation engine.

You know the old adage about not trying to catch up, but leapfrogging ahead of your competition? I feel like we’re in the middle of a war between Facebook and Google while they try to leapfrog eternities ahead of one another. And then the mobile companies are working together for the customer? Perhaps hell has frozen over!

I think all three are going to affect the way we not only use the web, but the way we continue to connect and engage with in real life friends and online friends, too.

Perhaps, though, the one that is going to affect us the most are mobile payments. In fact, I think it’s going to so greatly affect the way we do our jobs and business as we know it that I’m likely going to add it as a 10th trend in our Dec. 15 webinar.

If you’ve ever used your phone at Starbucks in Target to pay for your purchase, you’ll understand where this is going. But, instead of it being tied to a Starbucks card, your phone will actually talk to your bank account. No more cash. No more credit cards. No more debit cards. No more customer loyalty cards. Just your phone. And as soon as this time next year. (Although Mr. D said last night, “I’ll still have to carry my wallet for my driver’s license.” Yes, dear.)

Imagine what it does for your customers or your client’s customers. How does it affect purchase in retail locations? How does it affect e-commerce and social commerce? How does it affect your web presence?

I’m thinking we need to build our online presence around mobile payments. We’ll all need apps that are cross-platforms for people to buy using their phones. In a year.

What do you think?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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52 responses to “Building Your Online Presence Around Mobile Payments”

  1. CLGraphics says:

    I think you’ve keyed in on something very real here. I imagine that we’ll begin seeing QR’s tied to this method of mobile payment. Doing a little grocery shopping? The receipt rings up with a QR for price, you select the payment app for your bank account – scan the code on the receipt and … walk out the door with your bags in hand. Or your McDouble, fries and a Coke.

    You may well see codes like that on Amazon, eBay, iTunes, etc… As far as your web presence – well, it will probably be the the easiest way for many direct consumers to pay … as for B2B services… For companies that are progressively aggressive in keeping their accounting depts tied to technology, it all should be a no-brainer. For the rest – I think the check may still be in the mail for a while.

    What ever floats your boat… In fact, perhaps you’ll buy your next boat that way too…

  2. sydcon_mktg says:

    It’s like I keep saying, Mobile is where its going! I agree Gini that it will affect a lot of things, including our wallets (And to Mr. D….who says the DMV wont come up with a mobile alternative to our driver’s license…far off I know, but hey it could happen!).

    I think there will always be hold outs…I mean my in-laws wont do debit card, and direct deposit took ages for him to agree too, but just look at how online banking & payments took off as well as clients purchasing right from your site versus order forms and purchase orders. Mobile payments will pay a big role in the continuing effort to streamline business and eliminate paper.

    As far as apps that cross platforms, it goes back to my idea for the trend the other day….mobile business apps…they are not specific to apple or anyone. You can give your clients access to your product line at their finger tips, arm your sales staff with a mobile device or tablet and let them make the sale right then and there on the mobile device.

  3. C_Pappas says:

    We are already seeing more ‘cashless’ transactions with places like Dunkin Donuts and Wendy’s now accepting credit cards for $2 purchases, this makes sense. At my company, we see mobile as the next big thing. People are using handhelds for just about everything now and it makes sense that we would add completing purchases to the list. Recently discussing the mobile shopping experience where a shopper would enter a store and their mobile device would automatically detect where they were and serve them coupons and offers via text. Marketers are still trying to figure mobile out though if they haven’t already so I am curious to hear how people are using this.

  4. jonbuscall says:

    I gotta me a mobile app. Seriously. It’s the future !

    Okay, a moment of manic madness aside, I do believe businesses increasingly need to explore this channel: in terms of communications, marketing and payment.

    THe smart phone is almost ubiquitous here in Stockholm and it’s getting to the stage where micro payments with your phone are a natural development. Hell, I nearly always end up buying my ticket for the subway with my phone.

    As a business owner, if I had a spare stack of cash I’d be exploring what we can do with mobile. For B2Bs it’s “the new internet”. A huge landmass waiting for the first settlers to really turn it into a major business.

  5. HowieSPM says:

    I think this is an AND technology. Especially with smart phones running at $500 list price holding a ton of private data. Nothing is smaller or easier than a credit/debit card. I have LBS ideas on how to make using Mobile a more enriched experience for shoppers, but the technology doesn’t exist yet (could be a nice side venture! any VC’s on here? LOL) I need my Credit/Debit card at the beach or anywhere my phone might be destroyed with bad luck. What if I lose my phone and its my only means to buy stuff and I lose it?

    With Mobile being one of my main focuses the new Gen devices are really robust with a lot of potential. There is also danger for businesses. I was shopping at BJ’s Wholesale the other day to get discounted liquor for an upcoming Holiday party. We do not like Bacardi and they had no other dark rum. I snapped a photo of the Barcode with SpringPad and entered the price in case I wanted to come back. What if I go to my local liquor store and demand they beat the price if they want me to buy. What if a retailer knows that via the customers phone they are going to collect all local and possibly web based competitors pricing for everything instantly and say beat it by 5% or I walk right now….and as a Manager you know you not only get the sale..with the push of a button you get paid from the phone? You will see retailers like corner gas stations on one hand scrambling to keep prices equal and fighting the Feds over collusion.

  6. HowieSPM says:

    OK just realized you meant for Online vs in person. My apologies. I think we will start buying more stuff via Mobile. But mobile is tricky. There is a lot of mobile device usage that we would prefer a device with about a 7″ screen such a web surfing and video. This makes it even easier to sell! Because instead of the choice of phone or laptop I can read in my bag at lunch and pull out a device perfect sized and light enough to surf reaf watch buy and that will actually be a bigger majority of time spent than on the phone. But its still mobile. And it still creates margin issues. When I shop online I research then enter the item into Google. Click Shopping. It brings up all web retailer pricing and none of the businesses that I didn’t buy from know their price was too high. But one day they will =)

  7. Sushi says:

    Mobile is definitely where it’s going. One issue is getting a critical mass of the population on smartphones. Data plans aren’t in everyone’s budget right now because smartphones are still (believe it or not) an early adopter thing. When those prices come down and more people are adopting mobile, then it’ll take off.

  8. wabbitoid says:

    This is a great topic – something just beginning to take off (that I know very little about). I’ll mostly watch and digest the info.

    But I do have to say that my biggest concern is that this is one of those new developments that increases the gap between classes. When information and access to discounts is only availalbe to those with certian devices we’ll have an even bigger problem in our economy. I wanted to add that because I’d like to see what others think about this as we discuss all the other aspects that appear to have little but upside to them.

  9. sydcon_mktg says:

    @wabbitoid I see what you are saying about class gaps. But, in reality (which is a sad reality) this happens everyday, and has been happening. It happens for those without home computers, it happens for those without cellphones, it happens for those without reward cards, the list goes on.

    I wish there was a way to stop the gap, but in order to advance and pull our economy from the brink we need to continue to forge ahead with tech advances. I hope in my lifetime the gaps shrink. Sadly, I dont have a solution on changing this trend.

  10. lisagerber says:

    As I read this, all I could think about was the infrastructure. Verizon and At&T can barely handle all the data now, when will the networks catch up? I am headed today to talk to a small town about leveraging their marketing via location based services. But they have very limited cell service in and around their town. Hmm, making some modifications to that preso!!
    I like where it’s headed but we have a long way to go before it hits mainstream.
    and hey – I leave a trail of belongings behind me. i can just as easily misplace my wallet as I do my smartphone so that doesn’t worry me.

  11. WendiWeissCooper says:

    So why wouldn’t the phone be the key to “logging you in automatically” when you arrive? Just We’ll call it a “swipe by or even a swipe buy” for now. As you enter the store just swipe your phone at one of the “scanners” (this could take the place of the paper coupon book at the entrance of the store) and then as you walk down each isle (“shopping” for something you don’t even know you want), a coupon alert arrives on your phone. Then once at the check out – your number/phone is correlated with what you buy thus creating the brands ability to know who you are, where you are, what you eat, when you have sex, if you use protection, triple ply or one ply paper, wear dentures, think you are pregnant, okay I’ll stop. But isn’t that where this is going? Just scan – pick- pay and save? Of course there will be a “shut off button” for those of us that are old school and want to spend an hour or two shopping mindlessly.

    It’s not Big Brother – It’s Big Daddy (or Momma) watching – which if I’m lost in the pillow section and can’t get up could be a good thing.

  12. WendiWeissCooper says:

    @lisagerber touche!

  13. WendiWeissCooper says:

    @wabbitoid double touche!

  14. WendiWeissCooper says:

    @HowieSPM Agree…I leave my phone in my glove compartment more times than not these days…but I have a card or two with me for sure.

  15. rachaelseda says:

    When I heard about the cell phone becoming your “wallet” this morning I immediately thought of your trends for 2011! I know you can check into the airport with the iphone acting as your ticket but now this?! It is definitely exciting news. But now I am even more worried of losing my cell phone! Security issues with phones will definitely become a problem. I’m also wondering what my poor grandmother is going to do, she can barely work a computer!

    Great article Gini, thanks for always keeping us informed and our toes!

  16. sydcon_mktg says:

    @wabbitoid I just saw this slide show, and thought you might find it interesting about mobile web….

  17. wabbitoid says:

    @sydcon_mktg Thank you, most excellent presentation that I’d reccomend to anyone! I agree that a few changes in how we look at things makes a big difference, as does good use of CSS. I also really love WordPress becase it makes this much simpler – a good plugin for mobiles makes things always look good.

    Thanks again, I think this is really good stuff!

  18. ginidietrich says:

    @rachaelseda But does your grandmother have a cell phone?

  19. ginidietrich says:

    @WendiWeissCooper LOL at the pillow section! I think this is exactly where it’s going – combining geo-location with mobile payments. As a consumer, I think that’s pretty freaking cool (while really scary). As a marketer, I’m salivating!

  20. ginidietrich says:

    @lisagerber I’ve actually been thinking about this since you posted it and I think you and I differ in our opinions on this topic solely because of where we each live. It’ll hit mainstream in 18 months, but may not hit smaller cities for another two or three years.

  21. ginidietrich says:

    @wabbitoid @sydcon_mktg Did you see that AT&T last week released a phone that is pay-as-you-go with browser capabilities? That is what will close the gap. Most countries outside of the US have 90 percent of their population on mobile phones; even third world countries. We’re headed that direction…no matter our age, gender, or pay scale.

  22. ginidietrich says:

    @sushi Ah! What I just said to @wabbitoid . AT&T just came out with a phone that is pay-as-you-go and has basic smartphone capabilities.

  23. ginidietrich says:

    @WendiWeissCooper @HowieSPM This is a fascinating case study in how people use their phones. I take mine EVERYWHERE. I use Card Bank for my loyalty cards. I pay for my Starbucks with my phone. For the stuff I don’t want to read/watch on my phone, I use my iPad. My phone is attached to my thumbs always…even while I sleep. It’s crazy to me that not everyone is obsessive as me.

  24. ginidietrich says:

    @JonBuscall You are further ahead of us…we can’t even buy our subway tickets with our phones yet (but it’s coming!). Do you happen to know how many people have smartphones in Stockholm?

  25. rachaelseda says:

    @GiniDietrich yes she does! My one grandmother actually texts which is awesome…the other one wants to learn but man this will surely throw them a curve ball!

  26. Nick says:

    It is were we are headed, however I think it is more of a five to eight year or plan. We have had credit cards FOREVER, yet we are still able to use cash. It is a cool feature. Not one I personally would most likely use, but cool.

    I don’t think it is something that is a major shift on the day to day life as a business owner and here is why. These technologies are normally just purchased or given from the POS (point of sale) systems.Not exactly something you have to plan for. Just a cool feature you can add when signing your contract to process credit cards. It really doesn’t provide any ROI. Pretty much a gimick. Seriously, would you trust your iPhone completely with AT@T when you could instead have a hardwired T1 line that just swipes your card?

    I do not see a major shift in technology, just a “okay another way to purchase something.” When we get to the point where we can scan a phone via a computer, we can talk.

    The major shift is mobile websites, not payment processing.

  27. JonHearty says:

    @Nick Great points. I think the ROI comes from the goodwill gained by providing customers with another way to pay. It is easier, more convenient, and many people will appreciate it. I do, however, strongly agree that the future is in mobile websites vs. mobile payments.

  28. JonHearty says:

    @Nick Great points. I think the ROI comes from the goodwill gained by providing customers with another way to pay. It is easier, more convenient, and many people will appreciate it. I do, however, strongly agree that the future is in mobile websites vs. mobile payments.

  29. HowieSPM says:

    Gini I wanted to add something. While I might view the mobile payment thing as an AND. I am 100% behind companies all having a mobile strategy and presence of some sort. Its a major advantage. And while its not one size fits all there are lots of options to choose from because its a super broad category.

  30. HowieSPM says:

    @rachaelseda @GiniDietrich My folks have phones and almost never use them. My dad asked me to help him respond to a SMS text for a free ring tone. But I don’t think that market matters. We often have a very insular view based on our own ideals and experiences. Remember when sending a text message photo was 1] new and 2] expensive (0.25 each) now we all do it without a thought.

    What I really think will happen is babies will be born they will sew a computer chip in our head and then we won’t need any devices or payment systems. The Matrix will handle it all. Can’t wait! LOL

  31. HowieSPM says:

    @GiniDietrich @WendiWeissCooper Gini you are a techie hipster who can afford all this stuff! (I can dream LOL). Though I did upgrade to a Droid2 my first smart phone in August and see lots of potential. And see you already know the value of a bigger portable screen! I think with Wendy’s point having choice is good. But anything a business can do to lower operational/transactional costs is a winner!

  32. Nick says:

    @JonHearty Yeah, I mean sure it is cool. It will just take so many years for it to be mainstream. Just like when the iPad came out, everyone was all into HTML 5. Well, IE barely even works with it. I have to create different redirections to even use it. I still have to have a Flash backup.

    I would say the ROI argument is valid because I don’t think as a business owner it is going to cost you much. It could this year, but after a year it will just be another feature along with the POS system.

    Yes Jon. It is rather remarkable how many people aren’t utlizing mobile websites. It seriously blows me away. It is crazy also because they are in most cases so easy to develop and MILLIONS of people use their mobile devices to search the web.

  33. jonbuscall says:

    @GiniDietrich @JonBuscall On a purely anecdotal level I would guess something like 95% of people in my circle of contacts – including Mr Teen’s friends. E24, the business paper, claimed 1 in 8 has a iPhone back in February of this year. That’s pretty many !

  34. ginidietrich says:

    @HowieSPM I”m sorry. Do I know you?

  35. ginidietrich says:

    @Nick Nick, you know I love you, but you’re wrong. xoxo

  36. ginidietrich says:

    @HowieSPM @rachaelseda I think they’ll embed the chips. Sewing is so messy…and bloody.

  37. Nick says:

    @GiniDietrich @Nick Gini, I think your judgement is clouded by your obsession over gagets!

  38. barrykahan says:

    Amazing to read this. Many years ago (at least 15) I read a book by Bill Gates called The Road Ahead. In it he talked about not needing money because your device will talk to your bank account and pay at the checkout and being able to read a book from the beach because you will be able to donwload it to your device. Think he had a grasp of the future?

    It is no doubt just the beginning.

  39. markwschaefer says:

    I think you have correclty identified an important trend. This is already happening in Africa ( reported here: )

    But here is an angle you tantalized us with in the headline but did not fully explore. Can the adoption of this technology interntwine with your social presence? Foursquare on steroids? Social rewards as well as loyalty rewards for frequent use? Could you build a phone-based money card app that is so cool to use that it dominates the space? This could be a powerful point of differentiation for what has become a commodity industry – charge cards.
    What’s in your wallet? Nothing … except your driver’s license (I’m with Mr. D)

    Thanks Gini

  40. ginidietrich says:

    @barrykahan Bill Gates must have a crystal ball! I love this technologically savvy world we live in. I always say I hope I never adopt that “I don’t understand this new technology” mantra so many people do as they age. Think about what happens when all of our data is in our fingerprint!

  41. ginidietrich says:

    @markwschaefer I think it’s also happening in Asia. They skipped right over ecommerce. What you’re talking about intertwining is the ninth trend we’ll explore during our webinar. I absolutely think there is a convergence of mobile payments with social media. And I cannot wait! However, I don’t know there is a big change in credit cards. At least not for a while. I still see them being used, just on your phone instead of carrying around a card. Do you see it differently?

  42. ginidietrich says:

    @Nick What?! Me? Gadgets? No! You’re just jealous I have an iPad.

  43. Nick says:

    @GiniDietrich I still cannot get past level 4 of Angry Birds :o(

  44. ginidietrich says:

    @Nick Fine. I’ll help you. Only because you asked so nicely.

  45. HowieSPM says:

    @GiniDietrich I am here for the Livefyre points. At least when I crowd sourced where I can get the most 4 out of 5 Professionals directed me here. Also told there are cupcakes to be had.

  46. ginidietrich says:

    @HowieSPM Here. I’ll give you another point. And I’ll tell foiledcupcakes to send you some cupcakes!

  47. HowieSPM says:

    @GiniDietrich @markwschaefer I still don’t think most people want to share everything with their networks. Remember the BEacon incident. And 80% of people want behavioral targeting online illegal with 50% wanting jail time for managers of companies that do this. (I have the study be happy to share its not Nielsen its heavy hitters who did it). And most people on facebook have their profiles 100% private.

    That said I think having the ability to share with others in a controlled manner is a winner. I might want Gini to know I just bought a case of Veuve Cliquot because to get her and the 12 people on her party yacht excited for my arrival, yet not share with the rest of my network. I also have concerns about clutter. Its what my whole business model is based on. Every new type of communication gets overwhelmed and then we ignore everything. I am activiely fighting this in Mobile and why I am against push advertising there. I signed up for a new gmail account a year plus ago. All my emails I signed up for. I delete 98% unopened even though I like the brand, causes, news sources…just too many.

    Something that means a great and unique strategy or better technology that does not exist yet needs to arrive to really launch things.

  48. ginidietrich says:

    @HowieSPM @markwschaefer Oh I agree that not everyone wants to share everything with their networks. It’s why my personal FB page is locked down and why I only have 30 friends on Foursquare. I don’t care if the company has my information, if it means they market to me in a smart and extremely targeted way. But I don’t want everyone to know where I’m shopping, about my latte habit, or the fact that I rarely leave my office.

  49. HowieSPM says:

    @GiniDietrich @markwschaefer shhhh. note I did not mention Where your party yacht is located. Who said it had to be on the water? Or outside?

  50. ginidietrich says:

    @HowieSPM Shhhh!

  51. markwschaefer says:

    @GiniDietrich @markwschaefer No I agree completely. I think 4% of the population is using Foursquare. Probably a leading indicator of adoption for something like this unless there are significant persoanl benefits — and there may be.

  52. CLGraphics says:

    @markwschaefer @GiniDietrich Frankly, I’ve turned off feeds from folks that share where they are all day every day. Why? 1, I just don’t care where you are. 2, I still just don’t care. 3, Did I mention I don’t care? …

    Find some place cool to go? Great, tell me about that specifically. But for the love of Pete (aka, me) I don’t need to know that you’ve checked in to CSV or Walgreens yet again!

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