So Why Is M-Commerce Struggling So Much In The U.S.?

Written by Evan Schuman
June 14th, 2012

Does traditional mobile commerce have a shot anymore in the U.S.? Or has the industry muddied it up to the point where we need to start over, as Apple and Burger King are trying? We tried to address that politically sensitive topic in the first of our new monthly columns with Retail Week, the U.K.’s largest retail publication.

The reasons why mobile is having trouble are plenty, but it’s fair to say that when MasterCard is the one arguing that mobile payment PCI regulations should perhaps be ignored, something has changed. When MasterCard starts to sound like the most rational and reasonable one in the room, Alice, you know you’ve gone through the looking glass. Please check out the column on Retail Week or, if you’re not a Retail Week subscriber, you can check out a picture of the column right here.


4 Comments | Read So Why Is M-Commerce Struggling So Much In The U.S.?

  1. ed Says:

    The problem in the USA is we are expecting status quo payment processors to disrupt their own industry with mobile payments. I cringe everytime I see an article on mobile payments and the desire to name drop Apple, Google, ISIS and PayPal. These firms see mobile payments as a novelty and want to keep it that way. It is going to take a true independent entity with the clear goal of disruption to transform mobile payments in the USA.

  2. Sally Bretton Says:

    Mobile commerce is becoming popular in almost every nation. USA can’t be behind the race. However, it is the users who can make it popular. Mobile commerce will increase at a rate of 65 annually to reach $24 billion in 2015. (Coda Research). So, let us hope USA will take part in the growth.

  3. Evan Schuman Says:

    Mobile commerce is indeed going to do well in the U.S., but that’s referring to anything commerce-related supported by mobile devices: research, price comparisons, finding stores, buying a product right away from an e-tail site, etc.. What’s going nowhere thus far–although the recent moves from both Apple and Burger King offer hope that there may yet be a way out–are in-store mobile payments to that brick-and-mortar location. Beyond massive fragmentation, where everybody is trying to split this prenatal market, there is the simple issue of consumers being given very little reason to try it. You want to flip that? Get this on all Apple and Android phones (Blackberry and Windows is probably pushing it, but it couldn’t hurt) and then offer some attention-getting short-term incentives, such as 30 percent off anything purchased through the mobile program for three specific days. THAT will get consumers trying it and, if it’s done properly, very much liking the experience.
    But until that happens, until U.S. consumers are allowed to make the payments on most devices and specifically given a reason to do so, the direct payment space is in deep trouble in the U.S..

  4. David Curtis Says:

    I work for a multi-brand franchisor and having looked at Google Wallet and ISIS, we decided not to participate at this time. What I can say is that from our evaluation neither of these is ready for prime time (although to be fair ISIS is still in the gestation period and not yet launched). One very serious consideration that concerned me is that neither effort works with the iPhone. Yes, that is because the iPhone does not support NFC, but because of their current status in the mobile arean, it certainly hurts these efforts. I won’t go so far as to say that what Apple does in mobile payments will become the standard, but at this point in time, Apple will have a lot of influence. It will be interesting to see what the iPhone 5 holds in this area and what iOs 6.x has when the iPhone 5 is rolled out. I will be watching closely. Mobile commerce / payment will come to the U.S. it is a natural evolution of the mobile space and I believe it will be a natural extension of how we use our smart phones today. The early adopters will be the younger folks and they will drive this as they have the mobile market. What it will take is simplicity, convenience, and reasonable security.


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