Procurement · 29 April 2016

What consumers want from mobile payments, and how you can give it to them

Spice Kitchen
Sanjay Aggarwal used his mother as inspiration for the business

In the second of our four-part series of thought-provoking infographics and inspirational case studies compiled in partnership with Paym, the way to get paid using just a mobile number, Business Advice holds a spotlight over mobile payments from a consumer’s perspective.

Not only are small business owners increasingly experiencing the benefits of a more convenient and secure way to receive payment, consumers are feeling the impact too. Demand for mobile payment technology is on the up, as shoppers are seeing more of the benefits and reaping greater rewards.

To illustrate the rising popularity of mobile payments amongst Britain’s consumers, we both compiled our latest helpful and informative infographic (see below) and spoke to Sanjay Aggarwal – owner and co-founder of family-run artisanal spice business, Spice Kitchen.

Started over Christmas Day dinner in 2012 by mother and son team Shashi and Sanjay, the idea behind Spice Kitchen centred on Shashi’s breadth of knowledge and experience cooking with spices and spice blends.

More than 40 years’ regular cooking of 12-course banquets of Indian food made Shashi a fountain of spice-related knowledge, and after having launched on Christmas, her home-made blends began selling online within 24 hours on Boxing Day.

“My mum is an extremely good cook,” Sanjay said. “She had recently retired and wanted a new pet project, so I thought why not consider selling home-made blends. I took a few pictures of mum’s spice tins and she got to work on the recipes and we were able to start selling immediately.”

As the orders came rolling in, Sanjay began to realise the potential of the business in mid-2013. Although 90 per cent of its customers are UK-based, Spice Kitchen blends have now started selling all over the world, with clients in countries as diverse as Turkey and Canada.

“We anticipate that roughly 10 to 25 per cent of our customers are using their mobile phones to make payments with,” Sanjay said. “We take payments in all sorts of ways, but because at the moment we’re largely a mail-order business we rely heavily on online payments, and mobile phones are increasingly the primary tool for that.”

The Spice Kitchen website has been made “mobile-friendly” to cater for the growing numbers of consumers accessing it on the go. Sanjay went on to say: “Thinking about a mobile strategy is critical for any ecommerce site. Making sure your website is mobile-friendly can make the difference between getting your business out of the starting blocks or not.”

The family-run firm has recently secured larger trade orders and is struggling to cope with demand. Third-party online payment providers have been crucial to growth so far, but for Sanjay, meeting customers face-to-face is now the priority – and mobile payments an evermore pressing consideration.

“Consumers want to buy things they can see, smell and touch,” said Sanjay. “They demand faster and easier ways to pay for the goods they want, and mobile phones have already been proved as a good tool for doing that.

“As time goes on, more and more people will be using mobile payments and transactions will need to become faster and faster. Transaction speed is crucial – particularly at places like trade shows, where potential customers have limited time to decide what to buy and what to learn more about. Quick and easy payments can be considered part of the package that’s offered by a new brand when the public is introduced to it face-to-face,” he added.

With technology developing so quickly, what Sanjay considers most important for the future of Spice Kitchen is to continue to find out what’s going on in the marketplace, which involves listening to what consumers want. “You have to try and predict what’s going to happen and make plans.

“We don’t yet have a strategy for mobile payments but it’ll be important to develop one. It’s something we’ve been aware of for a long time and the more we talk to our customers, the more we understand their payment needs,” he went on to say.

Up next in our four-part series in partnership with Paym, we take a look at managing cash flow – the mobile way. Cash flow can be tricky for a small business owner to do well, yet mobile payments can help overcome some of the difficulties.

Missed the first article? Check out: Credibility and convenience – what mobile payments offer an exciting new brand.

If, like Spice Kitchen, 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.

If, like Spice Kitchen, 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

Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.

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