Where Will Mobile Commerce Go in 2014?

Mobile Engagement
With smartphones being so prevalent, business leaders are looking for ways to leverage these devices to improve the customer experience, with some organizations actively considering mobile payments.

There is no doubt that mobile has revolutionized the way we live. Not only are we connected 24/7, but mobile has uncovered interaction opportunities that were not available before.According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 56 percent of American adults now own smartphones. As mobile becomes even more prevalent, business leaders have recognized that this provides opportunities for growth.

Last year, several taxis in New York City started using VeriFone Systems' Way2Ride app that allows passengers to pay for their ride using their smartphone. Similar ventures are expected to continue cropping up. Henry Helgeson, CEO at Merchant Warehouse, shares five mobile-related predictions for this year:

NFC gets a boost: Near-field communications (NFC) technology is becoming more readily available, turning smartphones into payment machines. Helgeson notes that while NFC-enabled point-of sale terminals have also grown, this technology has still been largely untapped. He believes this will change. "I think we're going to see Google and ISIS begin a major push to get consumers to adopt mobile payments through NFC capabilities," he says, adding that this could be a turning point for NFC.

Google pushes the boundaries: "Google wants to be the full package," Helgeson says. He believes that this year the technology company will unveil a comprehensive strategy that brings its already available standalone enablement programs, including maps and the Google Wallet, together, leading to an integration that leverages these functionalities as a unified experience.

Mobile payments will become more prevalent: "We're in a mobile payments bubble," Helgeson notes. This bubble is expected to grow even more as more organizations take interest in this innovative payment system. This growth is fuelled by venture capital firms investing in payment startups, and while Helgeson believes that the bubble will burst, he doesn't expect this to happen this year.

Emerging leaders: Helgeson believes that the most innovative and aggressive mobile commerce players will separate from the rest of the pack, coming out with cool and exciting innovations. "We'll see positive trend lines for adoption, but these early wins won't necessarily translate into identifying these players as market leaders."

Eyes on Square: Considering its growth, Helgeson says he expects mobile commerce company Square to launch its own IPO. "The act of paying for the exchange of goods or services is as old as time," he says. "I think investors see the potential of a shakeup in the payments space as extraordinarily valuable." Helgeson notes that an IPO will validate the mobile payments industry.