O2: ‘Mobile four times more efficient than TV’

Mobile media spend was over four times more efficient than TV and twice as efficient as other digital executions in a recent integrated campaign conducted by Pizza Hut.

Claire Valoti, MD of O2 Media, said Pizza Hut’s mobile messages were 4.4 times more efficient than TV and 2.6 times more efficient than digital advertising at driving footfall into its stores as part of the campaign.

O2 Media’s location-based ‘You Are Here’ tool was used to target families near Pizza Hut restaurants to encourage them to take part in its ‘kids eat for free’ promotion.

Participating O2 More customers could download a voucher for the promotion via an SMS link sent to their phones and redeemed in-store.

Valoti said that mobile was the top-performing media for the campaign, adding that its was 142% more efficient at delivering incremental sales revenue than the campaign average.

The mobile operator’s advertising arm took part in the cross-platform campaign with Starcom, measuring the effectiveness of each medium using the media agency’s POEM (Proprietary, Paid, Owned & Earned Media) tool.

Valoti said the mobile element of the campaign worked so well because the targeting, including the location element, was so sophisticated.

“We have a lot of demographic data to target by including demographic data, billing data and location data,” she said.

The data comes the same month as O2 Media announced that its O2 More customer base had reached 10m, to account for almost half of all O2 subscribers, after the operator altered its subscriber terms to opt-in by default (nma.co.uk 11 May 2012).

“We want to make it very clear that the customer is always in control of these messages and being part of this service. Every communication from O2 More includes instructions on how to opt out of the service,” said Valoti adding that opt-out rates are “minimal”.

The UK’s largest operator Everything Everywhere too is attempting to ramp-up numbers with both its Orange and T-Mobile brands.

However, the outfit’s Orange brand is more conservative in its approach to bolstering numbers to its Orange Shots service which currently counts 3m registered participants.

An Orange spokesman told new media age: “Customers across both our PAYG and PAYM segments have been joining our interactive SMS advertising service in one of two ways – choosing to opt in via a shortcode, or when we actively outreach to those we believe will be interested in this service, with a welcome pack clearly explaining how the service works and the benefits available.”

The Everything Everywhere outfit also said it was also attempting to address the problem of SMS spamming on its network as highlighted recently by the DMA (nma.co.uk 15 May 2012).

This includes working on a on a code of practice on spamming with the GSMA encouraging cooperation with other network operators.

“We are currently assessing a number of spam filtering solutions and are working closely with the regulatory bodies to implement these effectively” said an Orange spokesman.

“In order to minimise spam, we already monitor unusual traffic patterns and apply commercial and technical policies to discourage spam being sent to our customers,” he added.

“Orange customers can also forward spam messages to 7726 for free to help us investigate spam messages promptly.”


#mcommerce- how to use QR codes effectively to connect online with offline

Online and offline are merging. We engage with prospects and customers in different ways during the lifecycle of their relationship with a brand: in the search and prospect phase, at the point of purchase (or initial conversion) or during the after-sales and support cycle.

One way to easily get to grips with the different ways you can interact with audience is to break down the user journey.

For the initial stages, the get in touch and get engaged phases, you need to have a strategy in place to get visitors back to your site to re-engage with them, especially if the initial contact was in an offline situation.

There are many ways of doing this but a good strategy is to become pragmatic and ensure you can run a campaign that takes hours to implement, instead of days.

Enter the QR code

QR codes are becoming very popular, even though they might still need further development to generate the results marketers expect.

There are a few that argue there isn’t a role for QR codes in engaging potential customers,but until other means of technology are established I think the use of QR codes in driving visitors to your website is one that has real benefit in linking offline and online.

As they are easy to generate, there has been a proliferation of QR codes everywhere, but not all of them are as effective as others. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind to ensure effective ROI when using QR codes:

1. Think surrounding

Take the physical surrounding into consideration when you plan your campaign offering. What do you know about the setting the person will be in? Where are they and what will they be doing?

Using a QR code on a billboard on a busy high street may be a good idea but placing it in an elevator with bad Wi-Fi or 3G connections will not work. Think about the external environment that your target audiences are in and whether taking out their phones and scanning a code is physically possible or convenient for them.

Avoid mistakes like this. This banner placed above the entrance to Manchester town hall cannot be scanned without a ladder..

2. Think mobility

You know that they are going to access your content from a mobile device. Make sure that your content and process is mobile enabled, and that it is easy to move along the conversion funnel to avoid drop offs.

Navigation and user experience is important. Our research last year showed that 35% of consumers think mobile sites are often missing important functionality.

You do not want to run a campaign that is geared to the mobile and then the content is limited in the mobile channel, especially if you are using QR codes for mobile commerce.

3. Think personalisation

Personalise the content for each unique visitor. Use the preferences of the visitor, where they are (geography) and the context, then share your offering based on that.

This is where it can become a lot more engaging for potential customers. For example, if you are using QR codes for an event, maybe you can adapt the offering based on when the person accesses the site and tie it with product or service offerings that are useful at that time of the day.

A great example is Turquoise Cottage, a popular night spot in New Delhi, India, which has cleverly used QR codes to promote drinks offers and a taxi service:

You have to help the visitor here, so knowing your target audience and how they want to interact is key to success. Personalising the landing page is a key element (which I have blogged about previously.

4. Think social

Can you use public social networks to run competitions and extend the user journey?

Check-in and location based services can add a lot to a campaign and the possibility to interact with the user over time. A word of caution here is to not make it dependent on having a login as that can limit the number of participants in the campaign.

One of the best examples that I have seen that ties together all of the above elements, is Tesco’s use of QR codes in South Korea. Get inspired!


Introducing PayPal Here: The Future of Commerce for Small Business

Square to Triangle – check mate.

PayPal has a long history of helping small businesses. For 14 years we’ve provided the tools and services that have allowed millions of small businesses to grow by solving the complex and critical task of processing payments securely and easily in more than 190 countries. Helping small business owners get paid is in our DNA. That’s why I’m excited to unveil PayPal Here, a new payments solution that will help small businesses get paid – whether they do business online, offline or on mobile.

PayPal Here is the world’s first global mobile payment solution that allows small businesses to accept almost any form of payment. It’s designed to help those merchants make more sales and grow their business with confidence. And it gives them choices. They can accept payments by swiping cards with a fully encrypted thumb-sized card reader, or use a phone camera to scan and process cards and checks. It also allows them to invoice directly from the mobile app and, of course, accept PayPal in a brand new way.

So, you’re asking, how is this different from other small business mobile payment solutions? The key differentiator is that it comes from PayPal, a trusted brand in the online payments industry with more than 100 million customers around the globe and years of proven payment innovation, driving growth for millions of businesses globally. PayPal Here comes with our world-class fraud management capabilities, and our 24×7 live customer support. In addition to accepting more payment methods, PayPal Here offers a simple flat rate of 2.7% for card swipes and PayPal payments. Merchants are also given a business debit card for quick access to their funds and 1% cash back on eligible purchases – which means if you use the debit card, your fees are actually just 1.7%!

PayPal Here is just the latest addition to our comprehensive suite of payment solutions for small businesses – from PCI-compliant checkout options and invoicing, to debit cards and mobile-optimized checkout. With PayPal Here, we are now able to serve as a one-stop shop for online, offline and multi-channel small businesses.

We’re happy to be helping small businesses around the globe take the pain out of payments and let them focus on what they do best – running their business and growing their customer base.

PayPal Here is available today exclusively for select merchants in the United States, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong. It will open to all other merchants in those countries next month. And we’ll announce the availability of PayPal Here in more countries soon. Be sure to visit www.paypal.com/here to get the free app and card reader as soon as it’s widely available. Feel free to let us know what you think in the comments below!

–David Marcus, Vice President of Mobile, PayPal


Everything you ever wanted to know about Pinterest..but were too busy ‘re-pinning’ to ask [Infographic]

I knows its a bit (p) interesting at this  moment in time, but I believe this will be massive and has multiple ways it will be used by brands in the future….

Oh, Pinterest…

Over the course of the past few months, what was once a colorful haven for Midwestern mothers and Mormons is now an even more colorful haven for even more pin-tastic peeps. The growth has been staggering, even in what many would call an overly social era. But surrounded by Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc., Pinterest has really made a name for itself.

And while many are scurrying to set up their pinboards for FOMO‘s sake, we in the tech world are curious as to what’s going on behind the scenes. What’s the growth rate? What does the demographic data look like? Referral traffic? Marketing? How does Pinterest really stack up against the big guys?

The questions never end, mainly because Pinterest kind of came out of left field and threw the entire model on its head. It’s not for women, but it is mainly women. It’s not overbearing in terms of rules or policies (at least not more so than its competitors), but still seems to be a very “white-bread”, nice place to be compared to the deep black hole of nasty awfulness that is the Internet. The epicenter of its popularity is in the Midwest — that’s not to say that Midwesterners aren’t tech savvy, but they’re usually not the early adopters of anything.

It’s this big question mark, Pinterest, and we all want to better understand it, especially considering that the network is still building itself out. Just recently, Pinterest founder Ben Silbermann teased an iPad app and revamped profile pages at SXSW this week.

Luckily, the folks over at Internet Marketing Inc. took all the data we have on Pinterest, like that comScore study and the Shareaholic referral traffic study, and whipped up a comprehensive guide to “The Power of Pinterest”.

These are the tidbits I found most interesting:

  • The number of Pinterest users to visit the site daily has gone up 145 percent since the beginning of 2012
  • Pinterest content is very different in the UK, and more centered around venture capital, blogging resources, web analytics and the like
  • Over 80 percent of pins are actually re-pins rather than brand new content
  • Pinterest user growth is better than that of Facebook and Twitter at the same point in their history
  • As expected, 80 percent of Pinterest’s user base is female
  • Brands are having a helluva time leveraging Pinterest — Better Homes & Gardens has 25,000+ followers on Pinterest, compared to 21,000 on Twitter

Check out the full infographic below*:


The Ultimate Guide to Pinterest


Privacy, mobile commerce, couponing…and my mobile will be a blood cell in future

Some interesting thoughts as a Q&A on the future of mobile from Russell Buckley…slightly angled towards m-commerce and mobile couponing (two areas which I believe in strongly) given his role as CMO at mobile commerce business Eagle Eye Solutions ;)….in future mobile will be like a blood cell – great, where do I plug the charger in?

How (if at all) do you think the mobile landscape is different in the UK/Europe versus in the US and why? How do you these differences will impact the development of each market?

Perhaps it’s best to look at the similarities to start with! In the history of advertising, it was all local markets, with really no global media of any scale. Then along came digital and now mobile, which means that campaigns can be planned and purchased on a local, regional and global scale. This is going to have an increasingly disruptive influence on how advertising is purchased, firstly as digital media grows at the expense of traditional media and then as mobile takes over from that.

That said, there are significant differences too. Europe can’t be treated as an homogeneous single market – the 500 million members consist of 27 countries, speaking 23 official languages and all with distinct cultures and mores. This makes Europe much more challenging for advertisers and planners.

Europe is also facing big legislative changes brought about by the E-Privacy Directive coming into force this year, with fines of up to £500,000 available to ensure compliance. Included in this legislation is a requirement for opt-in for cookies, which is promising to be very disruptive and the implications may also spill over into mobile.

What are three of the most important sectors you see emerging now in mobile advertising?

m-commerce is clearly taking off now, so not much more needs to be said about this.

The second big trend is mobile coupons, but not necessarily for the obvious reasons. The most important feature of coupons is that they allow an advertiser to take the consumer from a digital environment into a physical one and then measure the result. Generally, bricks-and-mortar retailers and brands who sell via them have been slow to embrace digital marketing without the ability to drive store traffic, a purchase and trackability – on average less than 2% of their spend does via digital today compared to an average of 15%+. Mobile coupons solve this problem and as they become more widely available, considerable additional CPG advertising dollars are going to flood into the mobile channel.

The other important part of mobile couponing is the data that they generate – normally in real time. As marketing moves from the dark art of yesterday into the clean, data-driven science of the future, the ability to generate and use data will be central to constructing marketing, re-marketing and CRM campaigns. Smart retailers are realising this and starting to roll out coupon redemption facilities.

Coupons are part of another larger trend. Over 90% of products are still sold via physical stores and pioneering retailers are working out how the mobile can be used to support their stores – this is different from m-commerce, which is the online channel. So, as well as coupons, we’re seeing instore product reviews, cost comparison, instore entertainment, shopping lists, store navigation and peer opinion solicitations. I expect this “s-commerce” (or store-commerce) to be huge in the coming few years.

It wouldn’t be right to ignore in major trends the demand-side platform (DSP) startups and the real-time bidding (RTB) platforms. Buying mobile advertising campaigns across networks and publishers is still a big challenge and I welcome anything that makes things markedly simpler.

What trends and practices will lead to optimizing mobile revenue and drawing spend from big brands?

As I wrote above, the major brake on spending has been the ability to drive purchase via stores and measure results. Coupons solve both problems, provided that redemption is digital and secure, so we’re starting to see this more widely adopted.

What is the importance of mobile commerce and mobile payment to the mobile industry as a whole? Who will emerge as leaders in this field and how will they take control?

I think the market is wide open in the payment sector. History does show that real innovation comes from outside the incumbents, so there’s always room for a scrappy startup. PayPal though – a halfway house between an incumbent and startup, seem well placed at this point.

One thing we can say for certain is that payments will join many other industries that mobile has already swallowed, from pagers, calculators and alarm clocks to music consumption, photography and handheld navigation.

What are your predictions for the connected, social, mobile future?

My first prediction is the end of the PC as a form factor. We’re increasingly getting better tools to use the mobile, so most of us will access the digital environment via our mobile most of the time within the next three years. We’ll also see the mobile morph into other form factors in the next 12 months, with HUD (heads-up displays) becoming available that allow us to live in a blend of augmented reality and pure digital all our waking lives – and maybe in our dreams. After that, contact lenses with the same functionality will be on the cards.

Ultimately, what are mobile devices today will be absorbed into our clothing and ultimately our bodies. If this sounds unlikely, based on technology progress in the last 25 years and projecting into the next, by 2037 our mobile will be about the size of a red blood cell and 1 billion times more powerful. With growth like that, predictions really go out of the window!


I’m just bloody well not p-interested…but I am…

“Money. money, money. money…oh yeah”…..indeed, how does this Pinterest thing plan to make money???

It seems like everyone’s discovered Pinterest this week! Alongside the countless posts dissecting its userbase over, sideways, and under have been a series of stories about how it’s “secretly” “monetizing” — a fact unearthed when LLSocial revealed that the startup was using a service called SkimLinks in order to drive affiliate revenue from purchases that originated on Pinterest.

Some reporters used this opportunity to imply that Pinterest had funded itself through affilate revenue for two years and then ditched the service after it received serious venture capital — provoking an interesting counterpoint article in the WSJ about “Pinterest’s Rite of Web Passage—Huge Traffic, No Revenue.”

The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal, admittedly not knowing the company’s financials, takes issue with the WSJ, and postulates that Pinterest could rake in $45 million in annual revenue using affiliate links with its current traffic.

Madrigal’s logic:

1) We know Pinterest is driving truly massive traffic to retail sites, by some accounts more than YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+ combined. It is, after all, a platform that’s perfect for shopping!
2) We know Pinterest used SkimLinks to add affiliate links.
3) Affiliate links generate revenue.

Should this add up to chump change? Let’s do the math just to get an order of magnitude estimate.

Commissions on sales for affiliate links vary widely, but they average around 5 percent. After SkimLinks cut, that’d be 3.75 percent (although SkimLinks says they can sometimes negotiate deals that would keep the percentage closer to the original number).

So, Pinterest has 10 million users. Let’s say that the average across all of them is that they buy items valued at $10 in a month through affiliate links on Pinterest. That’s $100,000,000 of sales for which Pinterest would get credit. That’s $3.75 million in monthly revenue, or $45 million of annual revenue.

This runs counter to what we’ve heard about the actual amount of revenue brought in to Pinterest by SkimLinks, which was modest for an Internet company — between 10 to 20k a year according to one source. Using Madrigal’s formula, this would represent somewhere between $300,000 – $615,000 in transactions coming through the service.

The truth is that the use of SkimLinks on Pinterest was more a question of the analytics it provided than any serious effort at monetization. Word on the street is that EVERYONE in the Valley passed on Pinterest when it was raising initial capital, something that wouldn’t have happened if it had indeed already discovered a viable business model.

The story of Pinterest right now is exactly what it looks like; It really is “hot startup gets venture funding, uses it to scale” not “startup hides the fact that it’s already profitable.” And with its kind of scale (and coffer) it could be losing a million dollars a month and still be a good bet.

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/17/pinsanity/


StrikeAd App Tracking White Paper…with a nice bit of ‘pre MWC 2012 sales pitch/PR’

StrikeAd App Tracking White Paper (2)


Why retailers need to embrace mobile internet in stores

 

It’s natural that some retailers will feel threatened by the growing use of mobile in store, but the answer is to embrace this trend and use it to enhance the in-store experience. 

Retailers can do this by providing apps and mobile optimised sites, but also by offering wi-fi to customers.

According to an On Device Research (ODR) survey of mobile users, 60% of respondents have used the mobile internet while in stores, while 78% would use free wi-fi in stores if offered it.

The use of smartphones by consumers is growing, and many are now using them to compare prices, and search the web for product reviews.

So how can retailers adapt and use this customer behaviour to their advantage?

Mobile use in retail stores

There are now plenty of surveys which show the growth of mobile usage in retail stores:

  • An iModerate survey found that more than half of smartphone owners are using the internet in stores, with price comparison, checking store locations, and hunting for discounts the most common reasons.
  • Our Mobile Planet data sees 24% of UK smartphone owners taking their phones shopping with them in order to compare prices and inform themselves about products.
  • A Toluna/Econsultancy survey from May last year found that 19% of 2,000 online respondents had used their mobiles to compare prices and look at product reviews while out shopping.

Why do consumers use mobile in store?

There are two main reasons:

Price comparison

This is usually the main purpose of using mobile in stores, which makes perfect sense. The state of the economy means that customers are more price sensitive than ever, and mobile is the perfect tool for the job.

What’s more, there are often huge savings to be made. If I’m looking at a TV in an electrical retailer, it’s quite possible I could save £100 by checking for the same product on Amazon.

Looking for reviews

This is another common reason to reach for the smartphone when in store, and this is a behaviour that high street retailers should encourage.

Checking for a review of a product is a sure sign of purchase intent. It means they like the look of a product, and are perhaps just seeking some reassurance.

The threat for retailers

The problem for retailers is that, whatever the quality of service in store and the range of products on offer, shoppers always have the option of checking prices on their mobile phones and heading online, or to another high street retailer to make the purchase.

This ‘unbundling of the shopping experience’, and the threat from online retailers is described in detail here by Ashley Friedlein.

There are a number of mobile apps and websites that enable in store shoppers to check and compare product prices, but Amazon’s mobile products represent possibly the biggest single threat to offline retailers.

Using the barcode scanner on the app, customers can easily check the products they are looking at in store on Amazon’s site.

Since Amazon is often cheaper, with a variety of delivery options, this can pose a real threat.

How can offline and multichannel retailers meet this challenge?

Don’t block internet access

I’ve seen a few stories around, which are difficult to substantiate, about retailers attempting to put obstacles in the way of customers with smartphones.

This could be counter-productive, and is certainly not the kind of tactic a forward-thinking retailer should be using.

Offer reviews at the point of sale

Retailers with reviews and ratings on their websites can easily bring this information into stores to help push products.

If a digital camera is recommended for the casual photographer, and has an average review score of five stars from 35 reviews, why not use this information?

I like the recommendations that can often be found in bookshops and wine merchants, which have been written by staff. They can help customers decide what to buy, and also have a personal touch that can appear more trustworthy.

In the same vein, retailers could combine online opinions with staff recommendations and other third party reviews.

Make sure you have a mobile site or app

If customers are going to pick up their phones and look for reviews, persuade them to use your site for this. Promote it in store. 

If you can provide the reviews they need, then customers won’t have to use competitors’ sites where they might find a better deal.

Better still, provide them with a link on the store shelf where they can find reviews, or maybe a QR code or barcode to scan and view further information.

Comet provides a great example of this with its recent barcode scanning app. The purpose of the barcode scanner is not necessarily to allow price comparison while in competitors’ stores, though I’m sure Comet won’t mind if customers are doing this.

Instead, the main purpose is to make it easier for customers to see enhanced information on products on the shopfloor.

Comet promotes this in store, and the site and app have some very comprehensive product pages replete with reviews and expert buyer’s guides, allowing customers to access this information when they need to see it.

Better still, it means they don’t have to visit Amazon to find out.

It works too. Mobile now accounts for 10% of Comet’s traffic, and the retailer enjoys an advantage in this area over multichannel rival Currys/PC World.

Mobile vouchers

For retailers that offer voucher codes online, allowing these codes to be redeemed in-store is one way to increase footfall, and maybe do some cross-selling when they arrive.

In conjunction with wi-fi, retailers could even target customers when they are using their mobiles in store.

NFC / mobile payments

NFC technology is yet to capture the public imagination, but it does give consumers another payment option for those times when they suddenly realise they have forgotten to get cash out and they are already at the cash register with their shopping.

Make sure they can access the information they need

This is where wi-fi comes in. It’s about making the mobile experience easier for customers. Instead of relying on variable 3G connections, providing internet access means they can browse reviews, scan QR codes, and use AR apps like Blippar to their heart’s content.

Let’s say a customer wants to see a review. If their 3G signal is poor and they can’t find what they want, will they still buy that camera?

Providing wi-fi means that they can easily access the information, while it also allows them to download your own app.

Wi-fi and efficient customer targeting

Wi-fi in store also provides a way to capture customer details and target them with offers. In fact, customers would be willing to receive some offers in return for the convenience of decent wi-fi.

Tesco recently introduced this in its larger stores. It does require a slightly clunky registration process which involves entering clubcard numbers, but the retailer is then armed with your purchase history. If Tesco can sweeten this process with a discount or two, it may well be worth the effort. 

According to the ODR survey embedded below, 74% of respondents would be happy for the retailer to send a text or email with promotions.

They’re in store, when better to sell them breakfast cereal or push a promotion? 

House of Fraser recently ran a promotion in conjunction with O2, using free wi-fi, which aimed to drive incremental sales in the run up to Christmas. John Lewis recently added wi-fi to its stores.

In an excellent guest post from last year, Dave Wieneke looked at how mobile can be used to enhance the in-store experience for consumers, as well as providing retailers with some precision tools to target the mobile customer.

A blend of location and personalisation can make life easier for customers, while allowing retailers to target customers with relevant offers and recommendations.

One great example of this came from the French Casino supermarket chain. Its iPhone app allows users to compile shopping lists before heading to the store, where they can use their mobile to scan and pay for items in store.

This is useful for the customer, but also provides the retailer with a wealth of information of the customer’s preferences and shopping habits.

Combine this with technology like Tesco’s in-store ‘sat nav’ app and you have the ability to target customers in real time, according to their location.

Let’s say the customer is entering the dairy aisle. They bought a particular brand of butter last week, and there’s an offer on that this week. It’s just five yards away.

Customers already have the smartphone and tablet technology in their bags and pockets that makes this possible, it’s just a question of adapting to this and making it easier by providing wi-fi.

Mobile isn’t going away, and the retailers that adapt to this trend quickly and use it to improve the customer experience will have a big advantage over their competitors.  

 


Mastercard throws weight behind EU Green Paper on mobile payments

In response to the European Commission’s Green Paper on electronic payments, published today, Mastercard is the first major payment company to officially lend support to the campaign.

The goal of the paper is to expand electronic payments to help European businesses grow, and consumers to shop easily and safely online, instore and via their mobile devices.

Mastercard Europe president Javier Perez said that the company supports public dialogue on the critical role electronic payments play in commerce and society.

MasterCard is already working hard to encourage adoption of electronic payments. Greater use can help reduce the black economy, stimulate investment and improve efficiency, resulting in improved consumer and business confidence in tough times.”

MastrCard said that it thought a shift was underway as European consumers move from cash to more efficient forms of electronic payments. Payments online and via smartphones are also growing dramatically as consumers change the way they shop and pay.

The company’s own PayPass technology is being used across Europe more and more, while Visa, PayPal and Google are racing to make the biggest mark on the mobile payments space. No wonder, since technology analysis firm Yankee Group predicts the value of NFC transactions will grow from $27m in 2010 to $40bn in 2014.

Visa announced this week that its NFC payment system has now been certified for use in LG, Samsung and RIM smartphones, and back in November it confirmed that its digital wallet service will be called V.me.

Expected to be rolled out fully in early 2012, Visa is running a developer programme that brings together all of its current subsidiaries including Authorize.Net, CyberSource, Fundamo and PlaySpan. Its aim is to give retailers, merchants and start-ups better access to Visa’s payments services, since the tools provide mobile developers with easier ways to accept payments on handsets.

With PayPal’s own digital wallet service is expected to launch this year – as well as Google Wallet on the market – it’ll be interesting to see how products from the big three compare over the coming year.

On top of huge potential for growth, green and commerce benefits, Mastercard also highlighted that many of the cards already in use by European consumers help them set limits on how they spend, help them decide where they want to spend, and help them use whatever online or offline technologies they want to use to pay.

These opportunities for consumers to be in control of the way they pay were nearly unheard of when the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) initiative within the EU began. Europe was a pioneer in creating safe and convenient new ways to pay such as EMV chip cards.

Perez explained that these and many other innovations come from intense competition, and can only be supported with a sustainable business model.

The payments sector needs to have a sustainable business model to fund innovations that will keep Europe ahead of the rest of the world. We expect that the consultation process started today will reveal just how much the way to pay in daily life has changed for everyone.”