Why Mobile Payments Demand a Robust, Responsive Supply Chain
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[caption id="attachment_1358" align="alignright" width="294"] Mobile payment system in action | Credit: Håkan Dahlström[/caption] Mobile payment systems are on the rise. By now most of us are aware of online payment veteran PayPal and have probably made a couple of "quick click purchases" on a tablet, but the industry is rapidly accelerating away from these standard offerings to a diverse set of services and products, from smartphone card readers to ewallets and loyalty cards. Research from Gartner pegs $721 billion as the potential value of transactions that such systems could process by 2017, making mobile payments a boom industry for anyone watching. And be sure, ecommerce retailers are watching very closely.
Where Mobile Sales Meet the Supply ChainAs these systems develop to make mobile payments for products easy and secure, ecommerce vendors require a highly responsive supply chain to meet increased demand. Apart from making the purchase process easier, increasing the speed of service at point of sale also raises expectations as to how quickly a product will be provided. Assuming that the goods haven't exchanged hands immediately, the payment is the equivalent of a promise to deliver as soon as possible. The fact that funds have been transferred raises the stakes for both buyer and seller, which is where the supply chain must swing into action to fulfil the pending order before disappointment sets in.
Building a Responsive Supply Chain for the "Always On" GenerationHaving established that mobile payment systems will become commonplace in the near future, and that their rise will place an increased urgency on the order fulfillment process, it's obviously important to take steps to ensure that your supply chain is ready to meet these challenges. The "always on" generation as the technology and desire to place an order at any time and pay for it instantly. Ecommerce vendors who fuse a reputation for efficient ordering with quick fulfillment and delivery will be best placed to capitalize on the this impulsive-yet-demanding new group of consumers. Some of the core considerations to gear up a responsive supply chain for this impending change include:
- Seamless alignment of payments with your order fulfillment system to avoid gaps between transaction and delivery.
- Accurate inventory management systems that set delivery expectations before a payment is made, based on where desired items are located.
- More diverse sourcing options, both overseas and closer to home (ask the reshoring question.)
- Nimble reordering systems to spot online transaction patterns and suggest inventory preparations.
- Close integration with supplier systems to share real-time ordering data.
- Clearly stating delivery terms and providing a range of shipment options to satisfy "need it now" syndrome.