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Why You Should Not Ignore Apple Pay For Your Business

With the announcement about Apple Pay this week, it poses the question should your retail business now be offering “contactless” payment technology?

Contactless payment technology is nothing new. In fact, for once Apple aren’t the innovators with this one. What they have done though is bring it to a wider audience… these days it is almost impossible to walk down a street without seeing someone with an iPhone. Apple technology is technology that many people already have and Apple is a brand that many people are captivated by, following it almost religiously. It is for this reason that Apple Pay is destined to have appeal that many consumers won’t be able to resist.

Instead of swiping a credit card, Apple Pay enables users of the service to swipe their iPhone (or their Apple Watch, once it has been released), which has been preloaded with details about their debit and credit cards.

Allowing customers to ditch their wallet or pay for goods when they have left their cards at home, Apple Pay relies on a form of technology called near-field communication or NFC.

Speaking about Apple Pay, Apple chief exec Tim Cook said this week that the mobile payments service “will forever change the way we buy.” But is this the case?

Currently only 220,000 stores in the US will accept Apple Pay upon its release. That breaks down as being just 2.4% of around 9 million merchants that offer the ability to use a credit card as a form of payment. The rest of these businesses won’t be able to utilise Apple’s latest service simply because they don’t have the near-field communication (NFC) technology to support it. So as a retailer, is time to upgrade your checkout facilities?

If you are a retailer providing multi-channel retail solutions to your customers, the answer should probably be yes.

What technology of this type will do is blur the lines between online and offline retail. Apple Pay isn’t just a way to pay for items in retail locations; it is also a new way to pay for in-app purchases too. So if you are a groceries retailer offering a home delivery service, customers will be able to purchase groceries through the app using this contactless payment service and they will be able to use the same payment method for goods in your retail store.

Major retailers already on board with the technology include McDonalds, Bloomindale’s, and Macy’s.

Of course, Apple Pay isn’t the only option when it comes to contactless payment. Near-field communication has been around for almost ten years and in that time a number of rivals emerged prior to Apple Pay’s arrival. The likes of Google Wallet, MasterCard PayPass wristbands and LoopPay are a few to name. With the trend not escaping us, just what are the benefits then?

Benefits that adopting contactless payment can bring to your business include:

 

  • An edge over the competition – you will be seen as an innovator, someone who is in touch with the latest technology and offering your customers something others can’t
  • More efficient checkout services – no longer will big queues put off potential customers, nor will they slow down your business and have an impact on customer service. Industry research from P. Dennison’s study “Contactless Payments Merchant Accounts” in 2011 found that contactless transactions are faster than both cash and conventional card transactions – averaging 12.5 seconds, compared to 26.7 seconds for conventional card transactions and 33.7 seconds for cash transactions.
  • The ability to integrate further technology into your business – Encouraging customers to purchase using their smartphone will also open up opportunities to utilize further technology in offering loyalty programs, personalized coupons and location-based marketing.
  • More business opportunities – If paying for something just requires a swipe of their phone or even simpler a swipe of their wrist, more and more people will be tempted to make a purchase.

Contributed by Dean Ronnie, a marketing professional with vast experience of retail and a keen eye for the latest technological developments. For multi-channel software solutions, Dean recommends Prima Solutions.

 


Comments

  • evan orensky
    September 15, 2014

    The advice you provide in the article is good regarding the benefits of adopting contactless payments sooner rather than later. Your headline, however, does readers a disservice by equating Apple’s proprietary, iOS-only ApplePay service with the entire technology.

    You do mention some of the other competitors in the body of the article, but you leave out Merchant Customer Exchange’s CurrentC system, scheduled to launch in 2015. It, too has the participation of many industry heavyweights, including Wal-Mart, who announced today that they won’t support ApplePay.

    I have no association with either system, but along with many others in the retail industry, I respect your advice. I just think it’s a little too early to advise your readers to join the pack and declare a winner in this technology race.

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