Digital businesses have more need than most to stay ahead of the trends. Trends are prone to change anyway, but digital trends are particularly fluid – appearing and, of course, disappearing almost overnight. This is why it is imperative that any company wishing to keep ahead of its competitors remains well briefed.
It is for this reason I attend Internet World, Europe’s largest event for digital businesses, where topics and discussions focus heavily on keeping these businesses on top of the innovations most impacting on UK businesses.
This year’s conference, held last week, focused on two trends that are crucial building blocks of a business: e-commerce and m-commerce.
The mobile age and your business
The m-commerce space is hot with innovative energy at the moment, with the rapid adoption of smart phones fuelling momentum. Mobile phones no longer just impact social communication; as the mobile and payments spaces begin to converge, with the making and acceptance of payments set to change, mobile now holds the potential to greatly affect businesses and their ability to conduct digital business.
For small and mid-sized businesses this additional payment channel is gradually becoming more accessible and now enables businesses to accept card payments directly after completing a job for a client, using just their mobile phone.
The three-day show celebrated the many different versions of m-commerce available. For example, businesses now have the ability to convert a mobile phone into a portable payment terminal, either through a mobile app or use of the mobile internet browser. These new solutions are providing businesses with new ways to sell their products and services on the move. This has in turn enabled certain industries and trades to start accepting card payment where previously no such option existed.
In the past week alone we have seen mobile commerce develop further, with the launch of O2’s mobile wallet. Naturally, O2 isn’t the only player looking to capitalise on this market. Customers will soon be able top up their mobile wallet directly from their bank account, allowing them to make unlimited mobile purchases securely and with speed and ease.
The power of m-commerce
The real power of mobile commerce is in enabling customers to make instant purchases, not just from a physical shop but from offline marketing material such as TV ads, magazines, exhibitions and brochure ware. Using QR Codes, a form of barcode containing data that enables customers to receive additional product details, can also allow customers to make an instant purchase using either the funds loaded onto their phone/e-wallet or by being redirected to the business’ online payment page.
Given the speed in which this industry is moving and the great steps that we have already seen in the e-commerce and m-commerce space so far in 2012, I personally can’t wait to see what next year’s show will bring us... Instant purchase and control from anywhere with any device perhaps? Watch this space!
Nick Ogden is CEO and founder of payment solutions company
. A serial entrepreneur, he founded WorldPay before it was sold to RBS and has since been the chairman and CEO of The Voice Commerce Group. In 2010 Nick was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year at the National Business Awards UK.