Digital payments are forecasted to almost double in the next 5 years, with an increase from £2.5 to £4.7 trillion from 2014 to 2019, according to a recent report from Juniper Research. Businesses worldwide are answering this demand, by implementing new business models. Traditional “brick and mortar” businesses are offering product delivery options, creating an onset of “bricks and clicks” companies.
Transactions processed via mobile payments for traditional retailers are expected to grow by 600 percent by the end of 2017, according to a Chinese research firm iResearch. These economic forecasts signal the growing global shift from online-to-offline (O2O) commerce, integrating use of mobile phone technology and E-commerce with traditional business models. At the same time, this highlights a growing need for innovative mobile payment technology and enhanced fraud prevention techniques.
O2O business models reflect the movement of E-Commerce and M-Commerce activity toward integration with physical, offline processes. This is highly due to the growing worldwide adoption of mobile phones and incorporation of digital payment procedures. In commerce, O2O pushes for user interaction through a website, app, or mobile phone allowing customers to virtually reach the physical storefront or services provided by an organization. Through consistent launch of new apps, the internet has become an innovative way to complete tasks, such as monitoring and controlling home appliances. Innovation leaders Apple recently released the Homekit, which allows users to control lighting, thermostats, and even home security via a mobile device.
Consumers in O2O environments gain more efficient services, improved access to goods, and enhanced online shopping experiences, as well as innovative opportunities to get customizable goods, personalized services, and 24/7 service from industries that traditionally relied on physical interaction. This model could prove profitable for businesses who can aim to increase their consumer base with more efficient systems and a much larger geographical reach.
The push back toward offline relationships was initiated through the private sector due to growing consumer reliance on online shopping as well as the increasing social and cultural implications from widespread use of the internet. This trend originated in the Asia Pacific, a technologically advanced market that adopted mobile payments early, and now boasts 32 percent of sales attributed to mobile devices according to a recent report from mobile advertising service provider Buzzcity. This is believed to foretell similar trends across the globe, with the UK following closely behind with twice as many mobile payments than the global average in Q2 of 2014. A recent report from Accenture showed that although UK customers are banking via mobile, visits to bank branches have increased since last year by almost 10%. This could be due to increased O2O business models, or may possibly be attributed to lack of customer service over online portals.
The O2O business models however have their own challenges. One of the major concern facing these models is fraud, due to heightened reliance on mobile payments, an increase in personal data stored on phones, threat from hackers and the lack of standard security protocol for mobile commerce. The most significant example of fraud activity on mobile devices is credit card fraud according to a report by Iovation, which looked at mobile fraud cases on both Android and iPhone platforms. This fraud occurs most frequently via the mobile web, which still harnesses 60% of global transactions. “The mobile payments market has key hurdles to clear in fraud prevention, and businesses adopting new models incorporating digital and mobile payments must consider best practices to guarantee consumer confidence, consistency, and convenience,” said Omlis CEO Markus Milsted. “Online to offline models call for improved security for mobile payments and uncompromised technology which can function effectively on mobile phones.”
This calls for businesses to deliver services that ensure consistency within an O2O experience, including a differentiated focus on customer satisfaction and implementation of new techniques for effective and secure customer service. The integration of offline and online will continue to change and grow as consumers and businesses find an ideal balance, and security will surely play a large part.
This article was originally published in Omlis' Blog.