According to various experts, mobile wallets and cloud computing will be the next big technologies to hit the retailing industry.
Therefore it is important for retailers to invest money in these technologies to get prepared.
Mobile phones with an embedded NFC chip will allow consumers to pay with their smart phones at the point of sale. It’s a trend that many have forecast for some time, but is now finally coming to fruition.
James Dion, a retail technology consultant, draws an analogy between mobile wallets and debit cards. He said debit cards were the fastest- adopted technology in retailing thus far. Within a year of their release, every retailer was accepting debt cards because the consumer demanded it.
Last month when Google launched its NFC-based mobile payment system called Google Wallet, it was a significant development in mobile payments.
Rick Feuling, another retail technology expert, believes that a major development in the retailing industry would be the increased use of cloud based technologies, which use hosted solution instead of on-premise technologies.
Joel Friedman, CEO of SurveyWriter a web-based software service provider, says cloud computing is the central model of his business because of its many advantages.
He said: “The benefits are the ability to access your data and application on multiple devices, access to the application and data from any location and the ability to build virtual communities.”
According to Dion, one way for retailers to help improve consumers’ in-store shopping experience is investing in QR codes.
QR codes, or the square box codes, are URLs and when consumers take pictures of these QR codes with a mobile device that has the right software, it directs them to an embedded website where they can find out more about the product, get product reviews and even find out comparative product prices.
Retailers like Best Buy, Home Depot and others are currently using this technology in their stores,while others like Nordstorm and Crate and Barrel have rolled out mobile catalogs, which consumers can browse on their iPads.
But Feuling argues: “For the time being, tablets are more of a gadget than a serious business proposition for retailers. I believe mobile apps on the phone are going to play a bigger role in the next 12 months than tablets will.”
He draws attention to one pressing issue which can have huge ramifications for retailers – making sure their software is PCI compliant.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of requirements designed to ensure that retailers process, store or transmit credit card information in a secure manner.
“If a retailer is using software that is not PCI complaint, let’s say they use old software that still keeps the credit card numbers visible and they are hacked, they can be fined by credit card issuers up to $10,000 per credit card number that is stolen,” Feuling explained.
James Dion concluded: “We are headed toward a cashless society.”