The number of “Pays” in the market are multiplying.
Which, in and of itself, is part of the challenge of being any one of the “Pay” players trying to break through.
Samsung Pay entered the Pay field in South Korea almost exactly one year ago on August 20th 2015 – followed by a U.S. launch a little over a month later in September 28th. Samsung Pay says its secret sauce – so to speak – is its near universal usefulness in any store. Leveraging LoopPay’s Magnetic Secure Transmission Technology (MST) – Samsung acquired the Boston-based start-up Loop in early 2015 – Samsung Pay allows its users to pay using a particular brand of Samsung handset at almost any merchant point of sale that accepts regular mag stripe cards – as well as at any terminal that accept NFC technology.
Over the last year, they’ve inked partnerships with banks, expanded internationally, and made some changes to the product to enable the easier input of gift cards and rewards points. Their television campaign was also intended to enhance their brand visibility and name recognition.
A couple of months ago, Samsung Pay GM Will Graylin said that Samsung Pay was still very much in its early days – and has big ambitions ahead of it.
“As far as we are concerned, we are just in the very beginnings of bringing out a secure, universal wallet for consumers to use just about anywhere — both in the virtual and physical environment,” Graylin told PYMNTS in an interview.
He went on to say that the next 12 months are all about increasing adoption and usage to many more users – in different ways and with a different utility that makes consumers’ lives easier, safer, faster, better,” he said.
Of course, everyone in mobile payments is pretty much in the game to increase adoption by making customers’ lives easier and better. But as experience across most of the new “Pays” has proven, achieving that ambition is harder to do than it appears.
One of the ways that Samsung Pay is hoping to ride the S curve of adoption is its recent partnership with Ziosk, the pay at the table solution that is taking the fast-casual restaurant segment by storm.
Anyone who has had the recent pleasure of eating in a family-friendly national chain restaurant has undoubtedly noticed the Ziosk tablet sitting unobtrusively on the table. Packed and stacked to be an all-in-one table command center with trivia, games and the ability to use self-service ordering and paying for a meal, Ziosk has been growing quickly.
And, according to a Samsung Pay spokesperson, offered Samsung Pay an opportunity to grow with them.
Today, according to Samsung, Ziosk operates in 3,000 restaurants across all 50 states. By year’s end, it is estimated that there will be 170,000 new Ziosk tablets interacting with more than 50 million guests per month. Samsung is betting on that opportunity to introduce those customers to the delights of playing trivia games while ordering Salad and Breadsticks at the Olive Garden, and then paying for the meal, tableside, when they’re ready to leave.
Because Ziosk kiosks take magstripe cards, consumers of course always could have used Samsung Pay with them – provided they had an adequate Samsung Phone. But getting consumers to remember that is another issue – which is why the Ziosk partnership goes two steps further: it reminds customers that Samsung Pay is an option, and it rewards them for using it – five dollars off their bill.
The Bigger Vision
Partnering with Ziosk and hitching a ride on its growth is part of the bigger vision for Samsung as it labors to stand out in an extremely crowded mobile payments market. The math, notes Samsung Pay, is pretty straightforward – the immediate future will see a big shift as consumers become more inured to mobile payments – and the habits they develop in these early days are going to be critical. Samsung Pay believes that they offer a superior product – which means those habits are highly developable.
They cite a recent AGC survey of Samsung Pay users who, it reports, spend more money, experience fewer issues, and are more satisfied than users of other mobile payment solutions. They say that their own survey suggests that 85 percent of users who regularly use Samsung Pay would recommend it to friends and family.
As for what’s next – the goal is to keep expanding the offering to check off more boxes for consumers so that it becomes progressively easier to leave the physical wallets of old at home.
Will it work?
That’s the persistent $64 billion question in mobile payments – and one that remains all but impossible to answer at this phase of the game without a well-functioning crystal ball.
Samsung Pay has beaten one of the significant challenges in mobile payments – merchants don’t have to do anything except something they are very likely already doing to accept them. That is good news. But Samsung Pay, as of yet, is limited to Samsung Galaxy customers – and that is, comparatively speaking, a pretty small group of people. Even if they are all gloriously satisfied and happy to recommend the service to their family and friends – it really doesn’t matter if their family and friends have iPhones.
Getting consumers to buy Samsung Galaxy phones is job number one, then. Ziosk could help – after all, nothing makes a new mobile payments platform more appealing like getting all 4,000 of the calories of your Olive Garden Fried Calamari appetizer essentially free.