How Brands Tap Into Mobile Payments

July 12, 2016
Contributor: Chris Pemberton

Use these four scenarios to look beyond each transaction and focus on the entire commerce experience.

Leading mobile payment solutions are more than just transactional conveniences. They enable streamlined commerce experiences that make life easier for both customer and brand. Walgreens customers who’ve loaded their loyalty card into Apple Wallet tap once to be known and tap twice to pay. The commerce system automatically applies the customer’s relevant stored coupons to the order total. Rather than add these actions with the payment in a cumbersome work-around, Walgreens wrapped them around the payment process to improve the total commerce experience.

Marketers who seek to exploit mobile payment solutions must widen their aperture and focus on the entire commerce experience rather than just the transaction itself, noted Charles Golvin, research director, Gartner for Marketing Leaders.

“ Ballpark application allows customers to upgrade their seats at select stadiums by using the app.”

To make the most of the mobile commerce experience, think of seamless commerce as more than just the purchase. It can include promotions, offer redemption, customer identification, loyalty rewards, product registration, customer support and repurchasing. Assess the mobile payment opportunities for your brand by analyzing four types of mobile payment scenarios.

  1. Physical environment payments with point-of-sale (POS) deviceWalgreens is an example of physical payment via mobile device at the POS. The phone and POS are compatible and communicate to enable the payment along with additional marketing capabilities such as bundling offer redemption, loyalty recognition, rewards and promotions.Apple, Google, Paypal and Samsung offer physical POS payments to varying levels of simplicity.Apple and Google solutions rely on Near Field Communication (NFC) to communicate with the POS device. Now that POS terminals are connected and their software is more flexible, marketers at physical retailers should design optimized customer experience flows around the evolving capabilities of these devices.
  2. Physical environment payments within an application (no POS)Preordering and paying for a coffee with the Starbucks application is an example of physical payments within an app. This is the least well-understood scenario and can take multiple forms. OpenTable launched a new payment flow that allows its customers to open a tab at the restaurant when they make their reservation then simply receive a notification confirming the total amount for the meal. This type of scenario works well for a business lunch sandwiched between customer meetings.
  3. Mobile browser online paymentsFor an example of online payments via mobile web, think of a suit purchase at Nordstrom via smartphone. Essentially an e-commerce experience conducted on a smaller screen, this scenario poses challenges in how to address and solve the user experience issues inherent in a small screen. Try integrating one-click payment solutions such as PayPal and Pay with Amazon to remove the need for entering credit card and shipping information for subscribers to these services. Integrate Apple Pay into your website in preparation for its availability when Apple releases the next versions of macOS and iOS.
  4. Application-based online payments

App-based payments are the richest opportunity for marketers because of increased personalization. For example, the Ballpark application allows customers to upgrade their seats at select stadiums by using the app. Here, brands learn detailed and useful preferences from customers who downloaded the application and created a profile.

Use these four payment scenarios to design optimal customer experiences as well as new marketing and product opportunities. Mr. Golvin added that “marketing leaders should focus on mobile payments that can improve the total commerce experience.”

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