The Future of Mobile Payments Awaits Your Fingerprint
What mobile payment technology means for ecommerce and retail startups and four ways to leverage it.
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You may have swiped your phone recently to make an in-store payment. Yet that act was hardly more convenient than swiping a credit card, right?
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That's probably why you're seeing only 3 percent to 7 percent of consumers using their phones for in-store purchases. But that's about to change.
By 2017, mobile payments are expected to reach $90 billion in the United States alone, a significant bump from 2012's $12.8 billion total. Of that $90 billion, $41 billion will come from mobile proximity payments -- or, to put it bluntly, the act of waving your mobile device -- where you once swiped a credit card.
Predictions aside, consumers are still apprehensive about using mobile payments. They're convinced that losing their phones would mean simultaneously losing wallets. Plus, there's all that sordid business about security.
In reality, though, mobile payments such as Apple Pay can be more secure than swiping a credit card. Even if a consumer loses his phone, someone else will find it nearly impossible to access its mobile payment system without the correct fingerprint. This is where the innovation of Apple Pay truly lies.
And considering how hackers stole millions of credit card numbers from Target and The Home Depot, mobile payments just might be the answer to more secure in-store transactions through tokenization (a term in data security that describes the substitution of a sensitive data element with a nonsensitive equivalent).
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Specifically: When you make an in-store purchase with Apple Pay, the retailer you're buying from isn't actually getting your credit card number.
As more and more people come to understand the technology, then, the use of mobile payments will inevitably grow, and retailers would be wise to hop on board.
To leverage mobile payments for your business, keep these four things in mind:
1. Implement mobile payments immediately.
Mobile payments are here to stay. By adopting early, you'll not only provide more convenience for shoppers, but also outpace the competition. Staying ahead of the curve with new technology can also lead to revenue growth and better market positioning.
Take Dash, a startup from our accelerator program. Its app allows users to split and pay a bill directly from their smartphones. This was initially done by allowing users to store credit card information within the app, but now the app also supports Apple Pay. By adopting this technology early on, the company was able to carve out a nice niche in the marketplace.
2. Rethink checkout flows.
When you enhance checkout flows, simplify the process and optimize for mobile payments, you remove obstacles that may be impeding conversions. This can result in more users, larger shopping carts, more impulse buys and less cart abandonment.
Integrating mobile payments makes the process even faster, easier and more secure, ensuring that only the user (and his or her fingerprint) can close out that tab and make that purchase. It may also help attract new customers to your business, largely due to the simplicity and intuitiveness of mobile payments -- something mobile users have come to expect.
3. Build around mobile payments.
If you haven't yet entered the marketplace, take a closer look at your product or service to determine whether you should build around the mobile payment technology right off the bat. Making it native to your platform is much easier than retrofitting it later on.
A number of startups have hit the scene already equipped with this payment option. They include Spring, a shopping app, and Caviar, a food delivery app currently serving 15 cities in the United States. Eventually, this could become the norm.
4. Create loyalty programs.
If you're looking to encourage mobile payments, consider rewarding users for utilizing the system through discounts or deals. Promotions often have a way of incentivizing users and could cultivate larger purchases from your customer base in the long run.
Like all technology, innovation is inevitable. By adopting this new feature now, you can blaze the trail of the mobile revolution, keep pace with consumer trends and enjoy the wealth that lies ahead.
Related: Google Lifts the Veil on Android Pay, Its Apple Pay Competitor