Rob Weisz, chief executive of mobile payments and messaging specialist Fonix outlines how the carrier billing – charging things to the mobile phone bill – could be the way to revolutionise online sales.
The use of smartphones has skyrocketed in recent years to overtake desktop as our most used digital platform. As a result, our expectations of how the mobile apps and and websites we use should perform has also increased, making mobile UX the prime weapon in the battle to attract and retain customers.
Whereas enabling convenience used to be the primary remit for mobile services, today’s consumers expect theses services to be as intuitive and frictionless as possible, often deciding which supermarket, bank, retailer or travel provider to use based on the strength of the mobile experience on offer.
It’s clear from the latest annual review by phone-paid services regulator PhonepayPlus, that customers clearly like using Carrier Billing as revenues from the payment mechanic have surged by 50% in the last year and are expected to continue to grow over the next twelve months. The problem is, many merchants still aren’t convinced.
Apples and pears
For many it simply comes down to the cost per transaction. With Carrier Billing merchants pay between 10-15% per transaction, with credit cards it’s 1-2%, but to understand the full potential of Carrier Billing it’s a bit like comparing apples with pears.
The big advantage of Carrier Billing lies in how frictionless it is, requiring only a couple clicks to complete a transaction. Let’s face it, nobody wants to have to manually enter their credit card details, especially when they’re on the move. As a result, conversion rates from Carrier Billing have always been vastly superior and up to 300% higher than those of credit card, because of this hugely simplified checkout flow.
For the consumer, having to pay by credit card when on the move can be a deal breaker. Carrier Billing on the other hand actually helps merchants earn incremental revenue from customers who may have abandoned their cart if faced with a lengthily payment scenario.
Carrier Billing – the awakening
The success of Carrier Billing has always been built on its unparalleled inclusion; able to reach the widest possible audience including the unbanked. This made it the ideal payment mechanic for digital goods like music downloads, videos and games but while Carrier Billing is still great for that, its appeal is beginning to be felt in new markets
In particular, the pace is beginning to pick-up around the use of Carrier Billing into areas such as ticketing, financial services and entertainment with operators, brands and payment providers developing innovative new solutions to enable brands to drive new revenue streams.
As revenues from Carrier Billing continue to grow over the next year and the rate of innovation increases, consumers will automatically expect to be able to charge goods and services straight to their mobile phone bills. As a result, it will be those merchants which offer this flexibility that will benefit.