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There’s been an abundance of media coverage lately about the promise of waving a digital wallet inside a smartphone at a counter in exchange for lunch.

Surely, that has great appeal for someone, but to many, it still smacks of a technology in search of a problem to solve.

One day, we may look back on the current payment system as anachronistic, but for now, it seems to be working just fine. E-commerce, on the other hand, is in serious need of an upgrade.

And that’s where those who live the Dot Com lifestyle get interested. A truly universal digital wallet is an awesome product just waiting to happen.

Abandoned Carts

By now, everyone is aware of Cyber Monday, the single-biggest online shopping day of the year. Market research firm comScore expects online sales to reach $1.5billion.

Many of us are in a frantic quest to contribute to that tally by locking up a few killer deals for our families and ourselves. But is that the typical online shopping routine?

We’re usually far more spontaneous. You see or hear about something you like, do a quick price comparison and then buy. Or just as often, almost buy but then, don’t.

Each of us has abandoned thousands of dollars of merchandise in virtual shopping carts over the years, and why? It’s usually because we’re sitting at our keyboard and our wallet is somewhere else, such as in another room, in a bag or carrying case, or even in a back pocket.

To many, though, it’s about genuine dread of typing credit card numbers and verification codes.

digital-walletBy some estimates, 70% or more of all e-commerce transactions are abandoned at checkout, valued at roughly $18billion a year

The Dot Com lifestyle thrives on a burgeoning e-commerce sector, but that’s still a lot of cash to leave on the counter.

There are many reasons for this, of course: unexpected shipping costs, confusing checkout forms, lack of inventory and more. But no one likes the 16-digit hunt-and-peck. No one.

Which is why the on ramp for digital wallets is likely to come, not in the form of mobile transactions in cafes and gas stations, but rather, online.

Because, ironically enough, that’s where the friction is.

A slew of trusted brands, startups, and banks getting in on the action, and that’s probably too many. You may carry several credit cards, but you don’t need more than one digital wallet. So the number of offerings is sure to get whittled down quickly. But before that happens, consumers are going to hear an increasingly loud drumbeat of messaging about the security, utility, and availability of digital wallets.

Count on it.

Before long, we will choose which wallet we prefer, a leader — or at least a standard — will emerge, and we’ll all be better off because of it.

The Promise of Digital Wallets

E-retailers are eagerly anticipating that day. For example, PacSun.com, which sells California-style apparel primarily to teens and twenty-somethings, sees great promise here.

According to Mondy Beller, VP of e-commerce, upwards of 50% of PacSun.com’s transactions are abandoned at checkout. So she recently signed a deal with Visa to offer the company’s V.me digital wallet service as a payment option.

“We want to get to the point where there’s no friction. If the customer isn’t thinking about the payment, then they’re just going to make the purchase,” she says. “Anything we can do to bring down the barriers to get people to transact is going to be very helpful. We’re very interested in digital wallets like V.me because we’ve seen a great deal of success with PayPal. It represents 12% of all our transactions, so we know this type of payments works, but Visa is a household name and with it brings another level of trust.”

Beller expects a significant uptick in V.me usage during the holiday shopping seasons, and eventually, she thinks the habit will carry over to the brick and mortar locations, as well.

She even foresees changes in day-to-day consumer behavior around what she’s observed in developing economies, where mobile commerce is far more common. Ironically, it’s an area where the Third World is ahead of us. This is by necessity, as banking outlets aren’t as accessible.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/11/27/digital-wallet-ecommerce/

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