Last week, the Zapp team were at RBTE – Europe's largest end-to-end retail solutions event. It was a huge success and the Zapp stand was buzzing with people checking out the customer journey demos, including the super simple mCommerce and eCommerce processes.

The Zapp Café was also booming, as Zapp demonstrated the in-store payment journey and gave out hundreds of teas and coffees crafted by their on-stand barista to thirsty expo attendees.

On the final day I took part in the closing panel discussion alongside Tim Linsell, IT development manager at John Lewis, and Paul Thomella, senior vice president EMEA at ACI Worldwide. The focus was the mobile payments landscape; what it will look like in the future and what retailers can be doing now to prepare.

Below I have summarised the key points from the panel and the questions surrounding Zapp's appearance at RBTE, along with my answers.

What is the biggest selling point of mobile payments for consumers?

For me, the best thing about Zapp is that it puts consumers back in control of their money by allowing them to check their bank balance before paying for something. This is great because it puts the bank account back at the heart of the transaction. Consumers looking for convenience will love Zapp as it will exist within their existing mobile banking app.

Can wearable technology be used in the same way as mobiles to pay?

Collectively, the panel didn't think 'mobile' payments via a wearable device such as a smartwatch will take off. The fact that you need to keep another device charged is a nuisance and, depending on how they work, it would mean updating systems for retailers. For me, the health and fitness market could benefit most from the development of wearable tech.

Is Apple Pay is a good thing for the market?

Having Apple help promote the benefits of mobile payments to consumers is definitely a good thing. We think there will be three or four trusted mobile payments providers in the UK. Apple will be one of those, Zapp certainly will be.

It's important to remember that Apple Pay will only ever work on Apple devices. As that's only 30% of the UK smartphone market, we're confident Zapp and Apple Pay can successfully co-exist.

What should retailers be doing to prepare for the mass adoption of mobile payments?

From an eCommerce perspective, retailers need to be prepared for a world where consumers will increasingly pay for stuff via smartphones or tablets, instead of desktops. And for the bricks and mortar experience, retailers need to future-proof stores by ensuring that they can accept NFC payments – currently 40% of shops offer this capability.  

Don't forget that mCommerce will only continue to grow. Last year John Lewis achieved 70% of its early morning sales on Black Friday through mobile devices and Linsell only sees this number growing this year.

How did you find RBTE 2015?

We had a brilliant time exchanging ideas and showcasing the power of Zapp to global industry experts at this year's RBTE. It's a time of enormous transformation for the retail industry, driven by evolving shopping habits and the possibilities opened up by new technologies. We're confident 2015 will be the year mobile payments go mainstream, and we're only just scratching the surface of what's possible!

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