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July 1, 2017

By Jason Holderness

It’s no secret that smartphones and other mobile devices are changing every aspect of our lives – not only how we connect with each other digitally, but even how we buy products offline. This creates opportunities for savvy merchants – and the payments agents that serve them.

Today, consumers know what they want, and they want to control when they get it. Mobile ordering apps address this need, creating a hassle-free customer experience. First pioneered in the fast-food space, an increasing number of these apps are now being used in retail establishments as well.

According to Business Insider Intelligence, mobile ordering could be a $38 billion industry by 2020. A host of globally-recognizable brands are now turning to mobile to help improve customer experience, create efficiency, and ultimately, increase sales. Mobile ordering was born out of necessity – to give customers the streamlined experience they want. But as it turns out, giving customers increased control benefits a company’s bottom line as well.

For example, Taco Bell reported that orders from their mobile app were 30% larger on average than in-store orders. Similarly, three of the country’s largest pizza chains that offer mobile ordering apps reported that average mobile orders are 18% larger.

Mobile ordering isn’t limited only to fast food restaurants. Virtually any storefront can – and should – take advantage of this trend.

For ISOs and agents who support these merchants, it’s critical to provide up-to-date knowledge of the available options. Whether plugging into existing apps that support a particular vertical, or encouraging merchants to develop their own custom solutions, agents can offer innovative ideas and help move our industry forward.

For merchants considering an investment in mobile, it’s important to know your customer and look carefully at the experience you’re seeking to create. Can you offer more than just a way to “skip the line?” For example, can you offer more unique menu items, provide loyalty discounts, or incentivize more visits during off-peak times using push notifications? Can you leverage GPS data to drive impulse purchases when a regular customer is passing through your neighborhood?

Yes, “going mobile” is a popular trend, but adopting this powerful new method of consumer interaction is about more than following that trend – it’s about recognizing opportunities to delight your customers by delivering what they want most, leading to increased loyalty and improving your bottom line.

At National Merchants Association, we are very excited about the future of mobile payments – in fact we’ve doubled our engineering team this year to create integrated partnerships with software companies and application developers. By offering hands-on development support and leveraging our scale in the card-not-present payments marketplace, we’re aiming to help create hundreds of new and innovative applications that will improve convenience for consumers, while helping businesses thrive.

The future is mobile ordering – and the future is here.


Jason Holderness is the Chief Technology Officer at National Merchants Association and a member of the Forbes Technology Council.

Want to learn more? Connect with National Merchants Association at the Midwest Acquirers Association (MWAA) in Chicago on July 18-19, or visit www.nationalmerchants.com.

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