May 14, 2012

Ex-Marks & Spencer boss, a new app and a plan to shake up retail

Sir Stuart Rose hasn’t been resting on his laurels since stepping down from the helm of Marks & Spencer last year. No, he’s been busy setting his sights on 24-hour shopping and replacing cash and tills with an app and our phones.

A new start-up company, The Mobile Money Network, of which Sir Stuart is chairman, has developed and recently launched an app that allows users to buy goods using image recognition through their phone.

Using near field communication (NFC) technology and a scanned QR matrix or typed-in code, the Simply Tap app allows users to purchase a product simply by holding their smartphone in front of the image of what they want to purchase, whether it’s a billboard sign, Facebook page or in–store promotion. Delivery arrangements to a selected address and payment are all done without having to go on the web.

Carphone Warehouse and Thorntons have trialled the product already, and Barclaycard, Google and PayPal have developed their own similar technology. But are we all ready to wholeheartedly adopt mobile payment?

Mobile payment hasn’t become the de facto method of financial transactions yet, but it’s fair to say we’re entering a pivotal moment as different players, technologies and alliances fight it out for the mobile pound.

The fact is there’s a major transformation in how consumers spend their money underway; a transformation enabled by the arrival of mobile payments. We’re a tuned-in, switched-on generation who expects to have what we want, where we want, how we want and when we want. We’re a demanding, 24/7 society, especially when it comes to shopping and convenience.

Mark Littlewood, managing director at, says of the mobile payment landscape: “There are three types of mobile payments that dominate the marketplace today: m-commerce, which uses a mobile browser; m-payments, which use mobile apps; and m-wallets, which replace your entire wallet.

“I think Sir Stuart’s new technology, which falls within the m-payments category, is the right category for success right now. There’s no escaping the popularity of smartphones and mobile apps, with m-commerce doing especially well and now accounting for 13.3 percent of online retail sales, double that on last year. But I think there’s a lot of education required to alleviate security and privacy fears before total m-wallet-style adoption is achieved.”

With a combined market for all types of mobile payment expected to reach more than £375 billion globally by 2013, it’s certainly the market to be in – especially if you’re a retailer.

If you’d like to know more about NFC technology or mobile marketing, then contact Carl Willimott on 01603 252555.