October 5, 2011, 4:24 PM

Huge opportunities exist in mobile transactions, provided merchants get the user experience right

Retailers and marketers need to make transactions smooth and easy.

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Smartphones are increasingly finding their way into just about every part of a consumer’s day. A consumer can board a plane after letting a gate agent scan a bar code on the screen of her smart phone. She can book a hotel room while she’s waiting for her luggage. If she’s using it to shop online, she can complete a purchase on the mobile web. And if she’s shopping at one of 100 Office Max retail stores, she may even be able to tap her phone against a terminal to pay for her purchase.

Mobile transactions may still be in their infancy, but Steve Mott, president of BetterBuyDesign, a payments consultancy that specializes in web and mobile commerce, says retailers and marketers need to work to make sure those transactions are user-friendly. Mott says retailers and marketers have a lot of work to do before they fully realize the commerce and marketing opportunities mobile presents. “The mind absolutely boggles at the marketing possibilities that exist because of mobile,” he says.

Mott will speak next Wednesday at Internet Retailer’s Mobile Commerce Forum 2011 in Houston during a session titled “Mobile wallets: Closing the loop on m-commerce transactions” from 11:15-11:45 a.m.

For retailers that already accept mobile payments, Mott says the next step is to refine and smooth out the transaction process so consumers will like transacting via mobile devices. For instance, he points to PayPal Inc., the payments arm of eBay Inc., which enables consumers to log into their PayPal accounts to authorize transactions. Merchants that don’t use PayPal or similar one-click services force their customers to fill out multiple pages of data that include credit card numbers and shipping information, an onerous task on a mobile phone. “There’s a lot more smoothing work that needs to be done,” he says.

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