Mobile commerce transactions will grow dramatically in the future as businesses and consumers embrace the potential to buy and sell goods through a wide variety of channels, according to the UK managing director of PayPal.
Carl-Olav Scheible told attendees at the E Commerce Expo that online payments carried out through smartphone apps, web sites and mobile sites are driving growth in this sector so quickly that they could change the accepted definition of e-commerce.
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"Mobile commerce is here, it's now and it's growing. It's projected that by 2013 mobile revenue turnover will have surpassed e-commerce turnover," he said.
"However, the convergence of these technologies and the fact in the future we could set up all types of machines to carry out transactions online, may mean we have to stop differentiating between mobile commerce and e-commerce."
PayPal revenues reached almost $500m (£315m) in the first quarter of 2010 through sales on eBay, the same amount the payments service took in the whole of 2009.
Scheible explained that micropayments for services such as music and news, or for handling invoices, will also have a profound impact.
"The cost of handling an invoice each time it comes into a business is estimated to be about $16 to $18 (£10 to £11.35), but with new technologies that allow this to be carried out online, it can go as low as $6 (£3.75), $4 (£2.50) or even $2 (£1.25)," he said.
Retailers should also take advantage of multi-channel strategies enabled by smartphones and secure online payment methods to grow their businesses, he explained.
"Research shows that customers given more options to buy will spend up to four times as much as customers with only one outlet, so there are huge opportunities there," said Scheible.
"Many major retailers only realise the huge potential in online sales when their sites start taking more money than their largest stores."
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