I consider myself technology savvy, having worked in the industry for 20 years, and barring using Apple Pay a couple of times when it launched out of curiosity – I’ve only used it once since when I forgot my wallet at the supermarket. Don’t get me wrong I think it’s a very exciting technology and will feature as a large part in the payments ecosystem of the future but at the moment it still feels unfinished – let me explain why.
First of all, cards (and cash to some extent) work just fine today, they are fast, efficient and very rarely fail as a payment method. Mobile payments, however, introduce an element of unknown risk to the transaction – will the TouchID fingerprint scanner work first time (or second)? What button do I need to press to launch Apple Pay again? What happens if my phone battery runs out before I get to the front of the queue? Will my shopping basket amount exceed the £30 payment limit? For me, there is currently little benefit of using Apple Pay or Android Pay over cards or cash.
Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay (when it launches in the UK) and others – whilst they are fantastic technologies are missing a trick which needs to be resolved before people will widespread adopt them – LOYALTY. There are currently very few loyalty schemes in the UK which are compatible with mobile payment apps. Starbucks figured this out a long time ago – over 21% of their customers regularly use their payment app in lieu of card or cash – because they get something back (stars) each time they use it which allows them to redeem rewards such as a free coffee.
If I’m going to start using mobile payments regularly (and to even start thinking about leaving my house without my wallet), I need to get something back from using this technology. I visit my regular supermarket a couple of times a week and surely its not inconceivable, to link the supermarket app, digital till systems and Apple Pay in order for me to accrue/spend loyalty points, use digital rewards or receive proximity-based offers? In return they both receive valuable data on my purchases to better personalise offers in the future – which is something they can’t do if I pay by card or cash today.
In my opinion tying in widespread digital loyalty programs with mobile payments is a win/win situation and this would provide a compelling reason for me to start using mobile payment apps regularly. This would also flip the status quo with cards and cash becoming the payment methods that offer little/no benefit instead.
At Eunoia Agency we understand mobile payments, loyalty and proximity marketing and can advise businesses on how best to deploy these technologies for a better customer experience. Get in touch today to discuss your challenges.