Mobile Retail: The One Stop Shop
By Greg Baxter, Managing Director, Citi Global Head of Digital Strategy March 05, 2014 10:12 AMLast week in Barcelona, Spain, Mike Corbat gave the keynote at Mobile World Congress on "Moving Money: Rethinking Transactions"- read here for more details.
In addition to Mike's speech, I spoke at the Congress on the topic of 'Mobile Retail: The One Stop Shop.' Addressing an audience that included mobile operators, device manufacturers, technology providers, and retailers from across the world, I summarized Citi's position in my opening line: "At Citi we see ourselves as both enabling mobile retail and being a mobile retailer ourselves."
My presentation focused on three trends impacting mobile retail:
1. "Products and services are increasingly being commoditized, and mobile commerce has the potential to both accelerate and alleviate this commoditization."
There are two avenues to addressing commoditization. First, personalize products and services. Second, create unique consumer experiences. To do this effectively, you need to understand your customers. Mobile provides the best channel for consumers to access their preferences and a powerful platform for providers to capture data and deliver unique experiences. Leveraging these attributes, providers can deliver personal and contextual shopping interactions - enabling a blending of online and offline experiences.
2. "Distribution, both online and offline, has been the last great battleground for mobile commerce adoption - and that gridlock is starting to change."
Despite these challenges, the emergence of new technology standards and platforms is beginning to alter the distribution landscape and break down existing barriers. These standards and platforms reduce cost and complexity as well as enabling payment credentials to be used securely and efficiently across online and physical transaction environments.
3. "Getting beyond plastic, we need a compelling value proposition, and consumer protection may be it."
As we have seen in the recent security breaches of prominent retailers in the United States, security and protection remain at the top of consumer concerns. If we, as an industry, can develop the standards and technology to reduce the risk and impact of data theft, then I believe many customers would understand and value the additional protection provided. This would encourage the development and use of new digital products - for e-Commerce as well as the proximity, tap-and-pay transactions.
What does all this mean for Citi? As a "retailer", we will continue to invest in great mobile experiences, work with partners to access ubiquitous acceptance and ensure we protect our customers. As an enabler of Commerce we need to facilitate commerce between merchants and consumers but not get in the middle.
Some of our best successes have been where we work in partnership with merchants. Our mobile wallet in Hong Kong includes the leading grocery, pharmaceutical and electrical merchants. In Mexico our mobile wallet includes the largest convenience site as a partner. And in the USA our retail partner business supports thousands of merchants in delivering commerce solutions to their clients.
While we focus on delivering a "better by far" experience to our customers, we will continue to work with our merchant partners to ensure they can deliver great commerce experiences to their clients.