At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, all the talk was about mobile payments and the demise of out-of-date cash registers.
Anyone who has purchased anything recently in an Apple Store will testify to the superior customer experience provided by the roaming sales assistants with their handheld credit card readers. The transactions are seamless and in an instant an email appears in your inbox with a confirmation invoice. It saves queueing, time and money changing hands.
Now, the mass adoption of smartphones and tablets has set the stage for a new move - away from fixed-point, card-based transactions and toward those completed on mobile. The dream of the 'digital wallet' is finally coming true in a very particular mobile-led fashion.
In the U.S. mobile payments in-store nearly quadrupled last year: eMarketer has estimated in-store mobile payments as adding up to $640 million in transaction volume, up from $170 million in 2011. However, this figure does not include swipes on mobile credit card readers like Square and PayPal Here.
Starbucks is switching its credit and debit card processing to Square and as of January 2013 accepted the Square Wallet app at 7,000 locations. The Starbucks alliance with Square is evidence of how the card-reader approach has already worked its way deep into the U.S. consumer economy.
How long will it be before the Starbucks model is adopted by forward-thinking retailers over here?
Christmas is behind us and projections for 2013 are worsening following a "flat end to a flat year" for retailers.
On the flip side, online shopping reached a new high during the holiday season with retailers both large and small reporting strong sales during the period. Boxing Day set a new record for online shopping in the UK with 113 million visits going to retail websites in a single day.
Meanwhile, smartphones have increasingly become the tool of choice for shoppers. The business advisory firm Deloitte forecast that a total of £3.5bn retail Christmas sales were purchased through or influenced by consumersʼ smartphone usage.
The opportunities for shoppers "on-the-move" to pinpoint branded items with value price points makes mobile the essential platform for retailers to improve customer engagement and drive sales.
Targeting these shoppers has been made easier through the launch of 4G internet connections and the imminent full launch of Wi-Fi on the London Underground reaching millions of potential shoppers en route to their destination.
And with new developments in NFC Technology, the smartphone is set to become the primary method of payment for all transactions making mobile the essential device for all e-commerce and retail consumer spending.
At this time of new resolutions, let us not woe the past but embrace the future that is in our hands.
No greater love has today's frequent shopper than a bargain shared. Similarly, the social media grapevine has borne fruit for many retailers with shoppers happy to share their latest purchases with friends and loved ones.
A recent Experian UK study found one third of UK shoppers now fall into this category. Social media is most effective when integrated with other brand media touch-points, from face-to-face and TV ads, to editorials and billboards. Research into big chains like KFC and Wendy’s, found that customers were between 2 and 7 times more likely to increase in-store spending when exposed to social media in combination with other marketing channels.
The picture is changing yet again with in-store location services driving sales and customer loyalty via personalised rewards. As many as 10,000 stores - mostly in the United States - have indoor location technology deployments in place according to a new report from ABI Research.
The research firm's latest edition of its Location Technologies forecast suggests that the era of in-store advertising and coupons delivered via a mobile phone is quickly becoming a reality in the U.S. Additionally, the report says growth is being driven by startups and not Google, as some might expect.
In the UK, Tomlin Bean is at the forefront of location based software and couponing technology for mobile delivering customer loyalty for retailers. The agency has already implemented a successful rewards programme for a regional shopping centre in the UK using Augmented Reality gaming for greater "play value" and sustained customer retention.
If you want your mobile shoppers to be loved you know where to come.
It has been a challenging year for all with talk of a "double-dip recession" morphing into a "triple-dip recession"; the banks continuing to maintain their innocence in our economic demise; the media focusing on the Leveson witch-hunt; and Strictly Come Dancing becoming the nation's favourite, as Sir Bruce would say.
So, Christmas has never come at a better time when for two solid weeks we can forget about sliding into recession and slip into "chilled" mode with a large glass of something red, white or bubbly.
Then what better way to get into the festive spirit by taking your time to watch the film above. Enjoy!