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M-Commerce: Changing the retail landscape

Phoebe Magdirila | May 27, 2013
In a hyper connected and mobile age, retailers are waking up to the fact that they need to offer 'anytime anywhere' mobile shopping experiences for their customers, giving rise to what is now known today as mobile commerce or m-commerce.

Businesses are actually seeing it working for them. On the retail side, Singapore-based online fashion retailer Zalora has intensified its presence in the Philippines and other neighboring Asian countries. The retailer has launched its mobile-optimized site after recently reaching more than half a million visitors everyday to its website since its launch in 2012.

And on the mobile wallet aspect, Globe Telecom President & CEO, Ernest Cu observes that "mobile telecommunication habits have changed rapidly over the past 18 months or so." The company, Cu adds, is continuously working to be at the forefront of m-commerce solutions. Globe has launched an improved GCash mobile wallet app that is tailor-fit for Apple, Android and BlackBerry platforms, targeting to offer more payment options, especially for consumers who do not own credit cards. The service allows users to send money, buy airtime load, pay bills, and even send money to Facebook accounts.

Even the financial sector, despite stringent security needs, has jumped onto the bandwagon by launching various m-commerce apps, with the latest one, the BPI Mobile Wallet, an NFC-based mobile payments platform.

If there is some convenience the bank gets from it, apart from what they offer to its consumers, is the bank's operational efficiency. It "unloads the branch network, thereby making branch operations focused more [on] customer engagement," relates BPI Senior Manager and Head of BPI Mobile Banking Channel Management Department, BPI Electronic Channels Group, Erich Faustino.

Not only for customers, but also on a payment gateway point-of-view, AsiaPay has also decided to utilize m-commerce "to better serve the increasing demand of merchants to effectively sell their products and services across mobile media and to reach broader customer segments," says San Andres.

San Andres notes that retail merchants today are now looking for "a total mobile payment solution with hardware devices that can accept payments anytime and anywhere."


But while m-commerce now has that undeniable demand in the market, and is now slowly integrating into our buying and purchasing ecosystem, are local businesses really ready to provide these services? And are consumers likewise ready to purchase products and services through these means?

Speaking for the business segment, San Andres shares that m-commerce is broad in itself; it "covers various types like mobile at the point-of-sale where customers pay at the store using a mobile device; and mobile POS where merchants use a mobile phone to process credit card payments," he says. Thus, it must entail full understanding by the businesses' IT teams.

In a 2013 survey by consulting firm Proviti, IT executives and CIOs assessed their competencies on mobile commerce security, mobile commerce integration, and mobile commerce policy, at an average of 2.8, on a scale of one to five, with one being the lowest and five being the highest.


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