Shopping will one day become a truly interactive experience, with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi beacons scanning digital profiles, stored in the cloud and accessed on mobile devices and wearables, to generate recommendations in real time. Although beacon deployment is still ramping up, the technology is poised to play a critical role in the evolution of mobile payments as consumers begin to truly interact with previously inanimate locales such as brick-and-mortar stores, bus stops, museums and stadiums. Meanwhile, augmented reality (AR) apps are already enabling the superimposition of digital content on top of a view of the real world, allowing shoppers to virtually ‘place’ objects inside their homes. This ‘try before you buy’ concept can also be extended to supermarkets and restaurants, with AR smartphone apps providing an overlay of information such as ingredients, nutritional information, product availability and online coupons.
Similarly, while wearable payments are considered an early niche market, gradual growth is projected as the industry works through multiple issues, including upgrading point-of-sale (POS) terminal infrastructure, consumer comfort with the technology and evolving the frictionless payment process. Biometric authentication is also steadily evolving to meet industry expectations for quick, effortless and secure mobile payment transactions. Nevertheless, consumers require assurances that their mobile payment information will remain safe, while stores and financial institutions need to know that the technology behind mobile payments is secure and easy-to-use before it can be truly embraced. As such, mass adoption of mobile payments will only be achieved when there is a single, unified platform built on an economy of digital trust that ensures an uninterrupted physical to digital experience.
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