Nobody doubts that mobile payments are reinventing how consumers acquire goods and services. In the next 3 years, we can expect the gross dollar volume for mobile payments to roughly quadruple, surpassing $800 billion in in-store purchases. A vast portion of those purchases will take place in restaurants. Yet, the technology and services available (for consumers and restaurateurs) will go far beyond just paying with a smart phone or tapping at an NFC terminal. Here are four trends we can expect for mobile payments in the food service industry:
Smart business owners have figured out that mobile apps are a means to add convenience and depth to the food service experience. Restaurant-branded apps can permit access to menus, ordering ahead, receipt sending and more. Apps can take sporadic customers and, through adding a layer to the service experience, make them into loyal, repeat diners. The development of new apps and the frequency of downloads will increase in the coming years.
Mobile Gift Cards
Gift cards account for a $124 billion industry. There’s a reason for that; customers love them. The majority of Americans use gift cards multiple times per year. However, the plastic gift card is losing territory to its high-tech cousin – the mobile gift card. Mobile phones can serve as both a means to promote gift card sales and the vehicle for gift credit delivery. Gift cards, delivered to and stored upon mobile devices, will become more common.
Promotions based on proximity are becoming exceedingly popular for restaurants. Food service often relies on consumers’ schedules – lunch diners who work within a few blocks of the restaurant, for instance. A recent addition to the marketer’s cookbook is referred to as “the beacon campaign” – services which allow the surfacing of promotions based on a user’s proximity (based on the mobile geo-tracking) and schedule.
Data mining is swiftly becoming the business owner’s best friend. Mobile payments capture purchaser demographics which, through a variety of services, can be obtained by restaurateurs. Available information can include: age, favorite orders, time preferences and frequency. Never before have business owners been able to know their customers so accurately.