Mobile Payments: Enabling Community Outreach

While the pace of growth in technology can certainly present challenges, there are also some golden opportunities for booksellers. In her recent 21st Century Bookselling post, PW blogger Josie Leavitt talks about her experience using mobile payment technology for an off-site event.

Independent bookstores have well-developed ties to their communities, and many participate in a wide variety of community events. Book sales at these off-sites events can be an essential source of income for some stores, but managing the point of sale process can be time consuming both during and following the event. But mobile payment systems can make it faster and safer for stores to manage credit card purchases off-site, allowing staff to process and authorize credit card payments immediately. This in turn can give booksellers more flexibility in choosing events that they are either willing or able to participate in.

Retailers south of the border already have access to multiple solution providers like Square or SailPay. PayPal is already hyping their upcoming PayPal Here solution for Canada, and Intuit’s GoPayment is already available. Mashable has an overview of some of the main systems available, and how they compare in terms of  features, operating system support, security and cost.

These current options all still require card-reading hardware that plugs into your mobile device in order to operate. But on the horizon is near field communication, commonly abbreviated as NFC, which will allow users to simply tap their PayPass-type credit cards to your enabled mobile device — or even touch the two phones together to process a transaction from the customer’s credit card or e-wallet into your account. The technology already exists for NFC, but consumer wariness of the security for NFC are holding it back at the moment. As mobile payments become more commonplace, expect to see that reticence wane and major POS transaction systems begin to support NFC technology.

Are you planning to adopt a mobile payment strategy for your store? Will off-site events become a growing source of income for independent booksellers?