Will Apple Pay Redefine the Shopping Journey?

Apple will make mobile payments happen

Last week, Apple announced Apple Pay–a service to replace the physical wallet. The concept of a digital wallet is nothing new–Android and Blackberry devices have had NFC and digital wallets for a while–but they’ve never taken off. Those ecosystems failed for a variety of reasons including poor app to hardware integration, lack of strong partnerships with banks & credit card companies, and inability to influence consumer behavior and push adoption. Apple controls their hardware & software, built strong partnerships with banks & credit card companies and has the clout to get others to play along.

Also, for banks under pressure to modernize their current systems after recent data breaches at Target and Home Depot and possible competition from innovations in the financial system such cryptocurrencies and CurrentC, Apple Pay is a welcome relief. With security features such as tokenization and Touch ID packed into a leading phone, Apple Pay is what banks are hoping will be the “future payments system in which [banks] are still central players” reported New York Times.

Easier checkout process for customers

“When purchasing physical goods and services in apps, users can use Apple Pay to securely provide their billing, shipping, and contact information, as well as their payment information,” explains Apple Pay[‘s] Human Interface Guidelines.

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In-app purchases have allowed users to buy digital content before, but never physical goods or services. To buy something that could be shipped required entering credit card, billing and shipping information into the app for every purchase and lacked the security features of Apple Pay. For consumers this means quick, hassle-free checkouts and a more synchronous shopping experience where they can buy what they want instantly.

What does this mean for retailers?

Mobile is going to start playing a more prominent role in the shopping journey. We already talked about how a majority of shopping journeys in the US are multichannel in an earlier post. According to BrandingBrand, a mobile app provider for over 200 brandsVisits to online stores on mobile devices overtook those on desktops and laptops as of August 2014.

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Mobile is where consumers are these days, and shopping on it easier than ever with Apple Pay. Apple’s process of making mobile shopping may have a positive feedback on the amount of people shopping online and that may have a positive effect on people adopting mobile shopping creating a positive feedback loop.

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As a marketer shouldn’t your brand be there?

1. It’s imperative to reach customers on mobile.

People are also spending a lot more time on their mobile devices, according to a report compiled by eMarketer. Mobile is also now the most most popular way to consume information digitally.

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Apple Pay will reduce the length of the shopping journey. With a shortened shopping journey a competitor may serve an ad for a product with a call to action that is an “Apple Pay” button.

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A customer only has to verify the payment with touch id to complete a sale. If you don’t have a mobile presence and strategy expect to lose sales to a growing customer base on mobile.

2. Make sure mobile is attributed properly.

Screenshot 2014-09-09 11.59.11According to BrandingBrand the average conversion on mobile is lower than non-mobile conversions but it is growing. Apple Pay will make those conversions higher with their easy to pay feature.

However, lack of sales and conversions don’t necessarily mean mobile is not performing well. A display ad on mobile may be attributing to a sale that’s made on the desktop or at the physical store. It’s important to recognize your customers, wherever they may be, and integrate that omni-channel data into one 360 profile is key to understanding the the true value of a customer, and the actual value of mobile conversion.

3. New customer behavior patterns and segments.

With consumers spending more time and money on mobile purchases, new customer behaviors could provide more insight into their lifetime value. Are customers who buy through mobile more compulsive shoppers, and therefore more likely buyers and have higher LTVs? Or are they compulsive shoppers who utilize Apple’s easy to pay system to buy indiscriminately from any retailer? Does buying on mobile mean that customers trust them enough to not check out the product on a desktop? These are the types of question that you should already be asking about your customers, and answering them is only going to become more critical as Apple Pay carves out more parts of the shopping journey for digital and mobile.

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