NFC wins new ground with retailers
As European consumers finally wake up to the value of m-wallets, VeriFone reports that support for NFC is finally on the rise among retailers. This is confirmed by the company’s sales which reveal that it has shipped more than one million NFC-enabled POS systems in the past 12 months, along with the software and services infrastructure to enable the advanced functionality of m-wallets.
As global leader in secure electronic payments solutions, VeriFone believes that NFC will deliver unprecedented value to retailers by allowing them to prompt, direct and manage shoppers’ journeys via their mobile phones.
Tom Conlon, Vice President Marketing, VeriFone Europe, Middle East & Africa explains, “Using NFC tagging and customised apps retailers will be able to identify customers and flag up their preferences to sales staff as soon as they enter the store. Once inside, customers’ NFC phones will guide them to the goods they are most likely to buy; flag up in-store promotions and support their purchasing decisions with stock and price checks. Finally, NFC will enable payment packed with value added, ultra-convenient services like loyalty, couponing and discounts at the POS itself.”
This year was a watershed for NFC payments as NFC-enabled smartphone models were announced by almost all major handset manufacturers along with new NFC enabled platforms from Google and Isis. Consequently m-wallet is now on the rise. In Western Europe, Juniper Research predicts that one in four mobile phone users will be making NFC payments in five years time.
But there is still much work to be done according to Conlon, “We believe that 25% to 30% of merchant locations within key markets will need to be covered by contactless acceptance devices if service providers and mobile operators hope to get consumers interested in using their NFC phones, every day. Hitting that target–a contactless penetration rate 10 times greater than it is today–will not be easy, but it is achievable - if retailers can be assured of receiving real value from NFC and mobile commerce.”
To persuade them, Conlon suggests, “NFC must ‘talk’ beyond customer convenience at the POS. Faster throughput is not sufficient to sell NFC to retailers who will have to underwrite a large part of the associated costs. What they need to be convinced off is the added revenue and greater profit that NFC can create at the customer point of interaction. That’s why we have been so successful in shipping our solutions, we don’t just provide devices but the applications and platforms that retailers need to deliver integrated mobile CRM providing their customers not just with new ways to pay but also to source products, make purchasing decisions and interact with the retailer in the store.”
NFC is now gaining momentum not just as part of strategic plans to introduce new services by retailers but also by MNOs, banks, and also major IT players.
Conlon confirms, “At the end of the day, all these m-wallet initiatives come back to the POS. A consumer may have one mobile wallet, but the merchant will probably accept most, if not all, of them as they don’t want to be restricted to one innovation. VeriFone is here to enable them all, and make sure they co-exist securely within the existing payments infrastructure. While consumers will ultimately determine which m-Wallet apps will emerge as winners, we are confident that our ‘one million NFC devices in one year’ milestone is a strong indicator that NFC, as an instore service solution, is now winning ground with retailers.”