In the current business environment which is characterized by intense competition, attainment of competitive advantage is vital. There are diverse options that business management teams can consider in an effort to attain their predetermined objectives. The 21st century has presented businesses with a wide range of opportunities. One of the sources of these business opportunities is the growth in technology. There has been emergence of different technologies such as the satellite and wireless data transmission technologies. These Information Communication Technologies are increasingly being integrated within the market place. One of these technologies is the mobile technology. According to Unhelkar(2006,p.34),mobile business entails use of mobile devices such as Personal Digital Assistance (PDA), pocket personal computer or mobile phone to access product and services information. Through mobile technologies; business organizations can be able to serve its customers more effectively. According to Evans (2002, p.16), mobile business should be one of the components that businesses should integrate in their overall business strategy. The aim of this report is to illustrate how airports can incorporate mobile business strategy in their operations.
The retail industry holds enormous economic globally as well as in the UK. In the real sense the retail industry is eighth biggest sector in the global economy as it also accounts for 7% of all value added services and products. Due to its enormous potential the industry makes significant contributions into a country GDP through employment as well as supplies of services and products as such significantly contributing to economic growth. Suffice to say that the retail industry is innovatively active. Innovations by retailers help the industry meet current business needs for economic growth. However, the industry still lags behind other industries such pharmaceutical in fully utilizing innovations. In this regard the industry needs to consider new ways through which innovation can be incorporated in retail business (Hristov and Reynolds, 2007, p. 3).
The use of contactless money has been there until mobile contactless payments were unveiled. With the advancement in technology, many organisations are increasingly relying on mobile solutions in an effort to improve their performance. Through mobile business technology, businesses can be able to increase the level of awareness amongst the customers (Agrawal, 2011, para. 2). These arise from the fact that consumers attain ease accessing business information and do transactions. Currently retailer shops in UK and other parts of the world are experiencing an increment in the intensity of competition. This has arisen from a growth in the rate at which investors are venturing into the business environment. The resultant effect has been an increment in the degree of rivalry. As a result, retailer shops are able to increase the level of customer service. The application of mobile business concept can be initiated in Westfield shopping centres.
Mobile applications and services Westfield shopping centres
To improve their business operations through incorporation of mobile business strategies, business organizations have to incorporate a wide range of applications associated with mobile technology. In an effort to improve the efficiency of operation within the Westfield shopping centres, customers can use their mobile phones, iPads and iPhones to pay their bills.
This new mobile technology will give the customers an opportunity to use their mobile phones and other mobile electronic equipments contactless payments (Orange 2011). According to King (2011, para. 1) the new technology now offers shoppers the opportunity to use their phones in-store purchases. The customers can use the mobile phones to pay the bills at the tills without the need of carrying money around. Most of the retail shops, fast food joints and supermarkets among others in the UK use debit cards or credits cards for their payment. The concept which is new in the market uses the Orange Quick tap system (King 2011; Orange 2011). Customers can make transactions in the stores up to a limit of £15 (Sherwood 2011). The new technology allows the customers view their balances by just the tap of their mobile phones screens. This cannot be done using the credit or the debit cards thus making the mobile concept more reliable and viable.
Target and audience
The new mobile concepts targets all the people in UK regardless of their age, financial status, economic and social backgrounds, sex, gender, among others. The only requirement would be for the Westfield shopping centres to install software that can read and accept the transactions made via the phones. On the other hand, customers who would like to use the mobile payment services would be required to have a Samsung Tocco Lite Phones as it is the one that supports the applications (King 2011; Orange 2011). However, since the concept is in its initial stages, Westfield shopping centres can partner with its developers and make it available to its customers. People, who don’t like carrying around their wallets, can now transfer £100 from either their debit or credit cards and use it for their shopping.
Benefits of mobile business
There are numerous benefits associated with incorporating mobile business strategy. Through mobile business strategy, businesses are able to create and maintain a close customer relationship. According to King (2011) the new business concept allows customers to know how much they are spending by just the tap of their screens. This ensures that customers can easily spend well and avoid the use of credit card that pile into bills and debts. The applications offer security to the customers as they are not required to carry cash or their wallets around. This reduces incidents of theft as it is secure to use and pin secured. For services and products, the customers can safely use the technology with the knowledge of how much they are spending.
In their consumption patterns, consumers are increasingly demanding fast and reliable provision of service. Mobile business strategy enables an organization to increase its customer base. According to Simon (2010, p.148), this arises from the fact that the business will have direct contact with its customers. According to Syclo (2011) mobile applications will be able to reduce cost overheads in the operations and management. This is because fewer employees would be required to work in the tills as technology would have taken their space. Availability of contactless money supported by mobile applications would have an influence their shopping habits and trends. According to Business Link (2011) through the adoption of wireless tills, customers could be able to pay for their goods.
Despite the benefits associated with mobile business, there are diverse barriers which may limit its implementation. One of these barriers relates to the cost associated with implementing the technology in the retail shops. The installation costs of the readers that accept contactless money could be high given the fact that the company has to contract the patented owners to allow them use the applications. Given that most people store their passwords and pins in their phones, in case they lose their phones any person who lands on it can use the phone to buy goods.
Therefore security could be a barrier to its full implementation and usage as some customers may fear the security issues. Compared to debit and credit cards, the contactless payments made using the phones are more reliable as the customer would be able to track their spending rate and can regulate it. Lastly, Westfield shopping centres would be able to combine it with their already existing marketing platform that uses technology to advertise their goods. The marketing platform that uses social media (Quillin, 2011), would allow its followers to adapt the new payment technology thus increasing their customer base. Westfield shopping centres would be more effective and efficient has the contactless money saves time, space and energy.
Impact on business practice
Incorporation of mobile business strategy will play a vital role in the retail business and is believed to overhaul the other existing mode of payments. Customers will be able to manage their bills and expenses and credits cards would be replaced with the mobile applications. For once, customers will have control on their expenses while the retail shop would be in a position of increasing its clientele. The technology would give Westfield shopping centres a competitive edge and compete with their rivals Wal-Mart stores. Services providers of credit cards and debit cards would be put out of business as it estimated that by end 2012 only one person in four would be having a debit or a credit card (King 2011). This would allow the use of mobile contactless payment leap ahead and allow other businesses to adopt it.
Availability of contactless money would promote the phone manufacturing business as many people would be influenced to have a phone that supports the transactions. Mobile business also has other impacts in the retail industry. For instance users of this type of innovations have to think about cost effective and interoperable mobile applications. Furthermore, mobile business needs to be launched on more cost effective platforms such as Wi-Fi networks. If this is done it will not only enhance efficiency and reliability of mobile business but significantly lower the cost of doing bs8ness on mobile phone applications (GS1 2010, p. 23). In addition, how training is done on mobile business agents will impact the use of mobile business in the industry. There has to be continuous training for agents on new and emerging trends as well as professional and ethical issues regarding mobile business. This is because agents are primarily the custodians of ethical conduct within this practice.
Advancement in technology provides competitive edge as businesses can use different strategies to increase their consumer levels. Through the use of mobile phones and other related devices customers can be able to do shopping using contactless money that offers them the opportunity of determining their rate of spending. The mobile concept has many benefits that the consumer and the retail stores are deemed to enjoy. However, there are barriers for its full implementations and usage, some being costs and security issues.
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