Coming trends: E-commerce becomes M-commerce

If you’ve picked up on “underlying themes”in recent AVPS blog posts, you’ve noticed that –aside from the seasonal entries on upticks in credit use (and attendant safety tips) during summer travel — one of the main trends covered here is the increasing “virtualness” of business, including yours. In particular, there are increasing ways you will interact with customers via digits and and not only with credit card purchases (though they’re getting more mobile, too), but with “virtual” checks and other electronic means.

Indeed, in the not too distant future, your customers’ wallets, it seems (and yours as well) will go entirely “virtual,” and instead of being housed in that folding leather in your pocket or purse, that “wallet” will be contained in, and by, your phone.

At which point we ask: Do we still call them phones? (And by all means — don’t lose it!)

In a recent article run on the InvestorPlace website, the “Winners and Losers of Digital Age Banking” were assessed, after stating plainly that “Your wallet is fairly archaic, and it will eventually be replaced by some type of electronic device.”

The article refers repeatedly to “m-Commerce,” without annotating it. In case you were wondering, this replacement for “e-Commerce” refers to “mobile commerce” — which is to say, the coming sea of transactions and sales that include, and supercede, e-Commerce.

Among the winners in this landscape were companies like Apple, naturally enough, which makes one of the fundamental pieces of hardware for use in such an environment (Google, with its Android operating system, would be another). The article suggests, in all seriousness, that Apple “can develop an iWallet system, which would have the instant trust of customers.”

Not just m-commerce, then, but iWallets as well. Losing companies include, well, just about nearly every big box store. According to the article, “If m-commerce continues to grow — and it seems reasonable to assume that it will — then traditional retailers could be in serious trouble. Millions of people are already using their smartphones to ‘showroom.’ That is, they go to a retailer’s site and check out products before making purchases on their smartphones.”

So while customers are increasingly preferring to be cashless, mobile and electronic, they still like the tactile comforts of seeing and touching many of the products they intend to buy, which suggests some kind of “hybrid” model might still be in the offing, combining both the real and the virtual.

Wallets and cash, however, are trending entirely toward the virtual. Make sure you’re ready. AVPS stands ready, as well, to answer any questions you have about conversions and programs for your own business.

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