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New In Tech: Going Mobile

Retailers:  Payment Apps Help Tap “Online to Offline” Shoppers

Previously, we reported on the ability of mobile devices to mesh the in-store and online experience, by tracking if a customer is using a device to make a purchase while physically in the store.

That’s only a start in the retailers being able to connect our online habits with in-store purchases. Despite our perceptions, less than 10% of all purchases actually happen online. But even if it’s not tabbing the final transaction, the internet influences 70% of all transactions. Those 60% of buyers are “online to offline” shoppers. While many companies are innovating in the online-to-offline arena, including Foursquare.com, Groupon.com, and niche commerce companies like Wrapp.com, retail marketers are trying to figure out how to connect online browsing to offline buying so they can market more efficiently. Payment apps will be their answer.

Now, companies that offer you coupons online don’t really know how you are using those offers in the physical world. Cardspring is one company innovating in the field. The API allows developers to build apps which allows consumers to add coupons or loyalty programs to their payment cards. When a purchase is made at the advertised store, the purchase is connected back to the online promotion and the loop is closed.

Android-users with Citigroup Mastercards can already pay for their purchases using a smart phone. Visa and American Express have systems in the works, and this summer, Chase and Capital One will be testing their system in select cities using the Isis Mobile Wallet. Terminals which can communicate with smart phones are already installed at 300,000 merchants worldwide. Mobile wallets will store digital receipts and warranties on your card instead of in your desk drawer.

As retailers know more about your spending habits, the offers you get may be even more enticing. Online consumer reviews will also reflect brick-and-mortar purchases. When making an in-store purchase, you may receive a text or e-mail asking to provide a review. More feedback and recommendations from a wider demographic will result in more accurate information about the product available online. Plastic isn’t going away yet, but it may become unnecessary.

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