With more than 35 different mobile payment solutions currently in the market – and on the day after Apple Pay’s UK launch was announced – the mPayments Summit brought together the Charge to Mobile industry and its practioners to tell a rapt audience of potential customers just why carrier billing should be high on their list of m-payment tools.
And it should be a list. The over-arching theme that emerged from the day is that carrier billing – well, m-payments generally – is not a technology that is going to replace all other payment tools, but rather one that should be added to portfolio of offerings available to consumers.
As the gambling industry has shown, the more ways to pay that you offer consumers the more likely they are to pay you. This ethos needs to be carried out across all business sectors looking to implement mobile payments – and they all need to look at where charge to mobile fits in with that strategy, especially if you are looking at micropayments.
The afternoon’s “How to reach a wider market whilst building in existing business sectors” session pitched leading users of charge to mobile technology at an audience of tech suppliers to tell them what they want. Featuring Claire McLaughlin of BBC, Mark Challinor of INMA, Tony Pearce of GamesGrabbr and Rob Weisz of fonix, the panel soon got its teeth into the growing need for micropayments and how they are the ideal way to introduce customers to C2M and to upsell them into other billing packages.
Pearce pointed out the popularity of “freemium” games and how customers can purchase new lives, levels, etc, with just one click whereas before it was through SMS’s costing up to a pound each. Now its so easy, “its all about 10p, 50p” he said.
When it comes to online gambling operators, Weisz said C2M is a great match as operators can use mobile payments for acquiring customers and bringing customers back. He did mention 67% of customers convert to credit card after an initial C2M purchase, but who cares, its all about the acquisition.
Weisz also offered the example of how one merchant took advantage of the C2M option. When customers arrived at the payments page and couldn’t be bothered with filling in all their details, they were served a pop-up with the option of paying by mobile- you’d be surprised with the success rate, he said.
Another point made during the panel was the importance of informing customers of exactly what they are buying and for how much when using C2M. “If people know what they are buying, they are not complaining”, explained Weisz.
And there are stats to prove it. The day was kicked off my Juniper Research’s Dr Windsor Holden, who outlined how carrier billing already offers 60% higher conversion rates for first time transactions and 70% higher conversion rates for second time transactions when compared to credit card billing. Despite the fact fees are higher for C2M billing, the conversion rate is that much stronger, making it a payment method merchants simply can’t afford to ignore.
The day also showcased how charities such as Comic Relief use carrier billing to great effect and how it is increasingly an integral part of their business.
Delegates also heard how operators and aggregators need to work together to educate the merchant community and the consumers about charge to mobile – but the message seems to not be getting through. Payout rates for charge to mobile have improved dramatically over the years, yet the audience is still very much of the view that the operators take 20-30%. The fact that it is as low as 9% seems to not have been put out there.
There was also concern around network operators being reluctant to push Charge to mobile until they get a “hero brand” that aligns with their own brand identity, particularly in the case of EE. This is a disappointing turn of events, but one that the industry must work on to over come.