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Cheers: here’s to mobile

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Is there nothing mobile can’t solve? It makes people spend more. It can improve conversion rates. It is transforming retail. Any day now it will no doubt be the thing that solves the Greek debt crisis – but more important than that, it is set to make running a tab in a pub easier.

Now for any of you youngsters reading this, a pub is a basically a social networking site where people express their opinions – at increasing volume as the hours tick by – and often espouse really dodgy political views and are usually really rude to each other: just like twitter. Only it’s in a building and you can smell the carpet.

Anyway, the age old art of running a tab in said pub has vexed mankind for hundreds of years. You put your card behind the bar in exchange for a piece of card with a number on it. You then whip out said be-digited card every time you want to get the drinks in.

Problem is that people leave their cards behind when they leave then cancel them. The process is also not PCI compliant and, if that wasn’t bad enough, only the card holder can pay for the drinks. All very stressful, I think you’ll agree.

Not any more. Now there’s an app for that too. Visa and pub chain Fuller’s have teamed up with Flypay to make this a thing of the past. The app is designed to let users pay with their designated card when they have finished and allows other users with the app to also chip in.

All very good I think you’ll agree. Now given the fact that research out this week from Criteo points to apps being a much better way to convert shoppers – 1.7 times better than PC in fact – could this be a dangerous route to take around booze? Will having an app to do the beer-buying convert more consumers to horizontal and lead to many, as my mate used to euphemistically put it, “talk to god on the great white telephone”.

This ability to turn to mobile – and mobile payments in particular – to solve problems is going to be an on going theme for the rest of this year. The research in both our top two stories show that consumers are using mobile to pay for things already. The arrival of Apple Pay and, to a lesser but no less important extent Samsung Pay is going to only make this more imperative.

Even if people don’t themselves have Apple Pay they will start to use mobile to pay – and run pub tabs, obviously – for everything from purchases in shops to buying things online. And I’ll drink to that – so long as you and your app are paying.

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