Procurement · 20 April 2016

Credibility and convenience – what mobile payments offer an exciting new brand

Coffee is a low price, high volume product that makes sense for mobile payments
Coffee is a low price, high volume product that makes sense for mobile payments

As part of a four-part series, fusing helpful infographics with inspiring case studies, Business Advice is delving into the world of payments in partnership with Paym – the way to get paid using just a mobile number.

Increasingly popular amongst small business owners, they provide both convenient and secure transactions. The opening piece of the series introduces you, our readers, to the concept of mobile payments and introduces a business making particularly good use of them.

To provide an overlook of the mobile payments space, we’ve put together an informative and thought-provoking infographic (see below). Using research exclusively provided by Paym, it illustrates the struggles sole traders go through when it comes to payments and charts the rise of the technology so far.

Over the course of the feature series we’ll be quizzing a wide range of businesses to discover how embracing mobile payments has helped with enterprise growth.

First up, and so inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of candidates on the latest series of The Apprentice, Will Brightman decided to quit his city job in January this year and start his own venture – a range of environmentally friendly coffee-based body scrubs.

His company Optiat, which stands for “one person’s trash is another’s treasure”, takes the antioxidant-rich by-products of coffee grounds, that would otherwise be thrown away, and uses them to make a range of different flavoured luxury scrubs.

To date, Optiat has produced over 1,000 units and Brightman has begun to explore ways to attract new customers and grow the brand. Appearing alongside fellow coffee entrepreneurs, baristas and enthusiasts at the recent London Coffee Festival, Brightman made use of mobile payments for the first time, employing a mobile platform to accept payments from customers that wanted to sample Optiat scrubs.

“We went to the festival knowing that very few brands would be able to take cashless payments, and knew there were no cashpoints on site, so decided on the spur of the moment to invest in mobile payment technology as we didn’t want to have to turn customers away,” said Brightman.

All Optiat’s sales have so far been online, and allowing potential customers to see and feel the product at the festival opened Brightman’s eyes to how important face-to-face engagement could be for business growth. “People need to see and feel the effects of our product because they are amazed at the effect it has on their skin. We offered live demonstrations at the festival which proved very popular,” added Brightman.

One-third of all payments taken by Optiat at the festival were via mobile, and Brightman now considers it a key part of his plan to grow the business. “It gave us the flexibility and convenience that other brands just didn’t have, whilst lending credibility to Optiat.

“In many ways it attracted a better calibre of customer. People were pleasantly surprised to be able to use the technology, and I think it contributed to them buying more. It would now be a step backward not to continue using mobile payments,” added Brightman.

For Optiat, the next phase of growth would be to bring the products to market and stock the shelves of retailers with its body scrubs, with the opening of an Optiat store being Brightman’s long-term goal. “To achieve our aims, I’m sure I’ll invest in more mobile payment technology further down the line.”

Next in our four-part series with Paym, we take a closer look at the demand for mobile payments amongst consumers, and what they’re likely to want in the future.

If, like Opiat, you think mobile payments would be a useful technological addition to your business, have a look at what Paym can offer. It could be the difference between making that sale and having to turn a customer down.

paym-infographic_v4

If, like Opiat, you think mobile payments would be a useful technological addition to your business, have a look at what Paym can offer. It could be the difference between making that sale and having to turn a customer down.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hunter Ruthven is the editor of Business Advice. He is also the editor of Real Business, the UK's most-read website for entrepreneurs and business leaders at the helm of growing SMEs. Alongside this, he is part of the team that hosts the Growing Business Awards, First Women Awards and Future 50 initiative. Prior to his role at Real Business, he was editor at competitor website Growth Business and head reporter at M&A Deals. Throughout his career he has interviewed leading entrepreneurs including Alex Chesterman, Lopo Champalimaud, Sarah Wood, James Averdeick and Alex Saint.

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