What happens to high profile retail bosses when they retire? They get involved in cutting edge mobile ventures it seems.
Following in the footsteps of ex-Tesco CEO Terry Leahy who is now an investor in Eagle Eye Solutions, Sir Stuart Rose, former leader of Marks & Spencer, re-emerged on the retail scene last week backing a new mobile payment system designed to speed up the technology’s adoption on the high street.
Simply Tap, developed by The Mobile Money Network (MMN), allows customers to order any product from participating stores, once a one-off registration has been completed, just by entering a corresponding code displayed in store or online.
The system went live on Friday with retailers already signed up to the scheme including Carphone Warehouse, Thorntons, Goldsmiths, Thehut.com, Pretty Green and Best Buy Europe.
Rose, who is non-executive Chairman of MMN, said: “For a growing number of retailers, we are cutting through all of the complexity of mobile commerce by offering a common platform that addresses real retailer and consumer needs today.
“At our launch event in March we asked the retailers in attendance to work together to give consumers a new way to buy the products and services they need and want.
“This marks the first step on the journey to realising our vision and it is fantastic to have so many retail brands coming together to make this a reality for shoppers.”
Mobile payment adoption has been held back somewhat by a lack of mobile phone operators integrating near-field-communications (NFC) technology, which would allow customers to pay via devices at the point of sale, into their latest models.
Fred Huet, Managing Director of international telecoms consultancy Greenwich Consulting, argues that the simplicity and wide ranging applicability of the Simply Tap system should bring mobile payments to a main stream audience.
The system works across all network providers and on all iPhone and android mobile handsets, and codes can be input into the mobile app wherever the customer may be.
Huet commented: “Although the name may imply a physical payment process, Simply Tap is essentially a software application which retains a user’s bank details.
“There has been a lot of talk in the past few months about NFC, mostly led by operators, banks and internet companies, concluding that contactless payments are indeed how retailers should innovate in the m-commerce space.
“One of the aspects that has held back mobile payments and digital money in the UK so far, aside from a lack of standardisation and penetration of adequate devices, is that people aren’t yet used to paying for goods via mobile.
“This service is simple and open to anyone with a smartphone and a bank account, allowing users to pay for goods at the click of a button. Perhaps the true opportunity in Simply Tap is the fact that purchases can tap into location-based shopping, with codes on billboards and adverts. This could pave the way for location-based vouchers and loyalty cards, as well as increased footfall in stores.”