By Daniel Hunter

As delegates gather for the Shop.org Annual Summit 2013 in Chicago the latest figures from the US Department of Commerce show that retail sales are slowing. The figures prove that retailers need to do more to attract customers back through their doors.

Stores must adopt new technology in order to adapt to the new retail reality, according to ecommerce innovators Powa Technologies. Tailoring shopping to the individual preferences of the consumer with customised recommendations that mimic the online experience is one way to achieve this.

‘Click-and-collect’ initiatives between online retailers and stores is another; and with the imminent phasing out of magnetic stripe credit cards, conditions are now ripe for a mobile payment revolution to play its part too.

Research suggests that mobile devices are already fundamentally changing the way brick-and-mortar businesses accept payments. A report from customer transaction consultancy Javelin estimates that mobile point of sale (mPOS) could expand payment card acceptance by up to 19 million businesses, which could account for up to $1.1 trillion in annual new-card payments.

Chief Executive of UK-based ecommerce and mobile payment technology innovator Powa Technologies Dan Wagner agrees that mobile payment technology is taking off in the US in a big way and that it is one of the innovative, technology-focussed ways that retailers can boost their business.

He commented: “There are 27 million point-of-sale terminals in the US and they need to migrate over to a chip-based card system, providing an opportunity for retailers to upgrade not only their card readers, but also add a next-generation platform infrastructure to support tablets, mobile phones and enhanced in-store personalization. We are in the midst of a retail revolution with a proliferation of ways through which retailers can engage with their customers. Mobile payment is one of the main ways shopping is changing for the better. Making payment more convenient and taking the transaction to the customer wherever they are really improves customer engagement and boosts sales.”

Powa Technologies recently closed the largest ‘Series A’ investment ever made into a UK technology company by a US investor. The company received $76m from one of the world’s largest investment management funds, valuing the business in the hundreds of millions of dollars. This huge vote of confidence in Powa’s technology underlines the scale of transformation in retail that will be brought about by secure mobile payments and in store personalization.

Dan continued, “True economic growth is always driven by the retail sector so any technology that makes payment more convenient and more user friendly can only accelerate the returning fortunes of retailers. These retailers as well as the network providers, the banks and the credit cards are all competing to offer the latest mobile payment technology to their customers. Mobility is no longer an optional bolt-on to traditional retailing; it is the future of commerce.”

Powa is at Shop.org showcasing its mPowa mobile payment system. mPowa uses a compact chip & pin compatible credit/debit card reader that communicates with handheld mobile devices via Bluetooth, enabling merchants to accept payments on the move wherever they are within the store or in the field, improving productivity and convenience for businesses and consumers alike.

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