The news about Apple Pay this month generated an unusual amount of mainstream media attention, noted MPD CEO Karen Webster. Apple has a unique ability to mobilize an entire ecosystem, and that prompts us to ask the question: Can Apple Pay shape the future of omnicommerce? It has already changed the way we talk about mobile payments and will unlock new sources of value for consumers and merchants.
Beyond Apple and how it will affect how players in the industry develop and execute mobile payments, this month’s Omnicommerce Tracker report indicates that right now, e-commerce is the most common way for consumers to research and shop for higher-value items, according to Vantiv research. When it comes to items worth more than $50, 57 percent of consumers said that they typically use online channels to research or buy products. As a response, “progressive retailers are linking virtually every online channel (including social) to commerce.” Target and Nordstrom, for example, launched an Instagram-like platform that links photos to actual product pages on their web pages and tracks the photos that customers “like.”
In addition, while it seems like the industry’s focus has been on using mobile phones for payments at the POS, Vantiv indicates that more focus should be put on removing friction from e-commerce transactions via the mobile phone. But on the security side of things, while the most common mobile payment method overall is now the use of stored payment data at online retailers, more than half of consumers asked said they are concerned about security with these type of cloud accounts – especially young adults and smartphone and tablet owners.
Retailers, on the other hand, are making use of tablets in-store and linking to their e-commerce sites. But as omniconsumers become more advanced at operating in a “world of multiple, blended channels,” they expect more convenience and consistency from the merchants they buy from, noted Vantiv. And of course, online, it’s very easy for them to take their business elsewhere – something that merchants recognize, as they have been shown to be “increasingly focused on developing omnicommerce capabilities to work smoothly across all channels.”
Key insights from Vantiv indicate the following:
1) To engage customers, merchants, in order to make e-commerce work as part of a larger omnicommerce strategy, should focus on delivering a seamless, consistent experience across all channels, leveraging customer data and a myriad of new technologies as they go.
2) To enable customers, more emphasis should be placed on removing friction from e-commerce transactions initiated via the mobile phone, as opposed to just focusing on using the mobile phone for payment at the point of sale.
3) To serve customers, retailers are increasingly blending physical and online shopping by using in-store tablets and kiosks that link to their e-commerce sites.
Players further executing omnicommerce strategies this month include:
1) To engage customers, Nordstrom took advantage of a social media shopping strategy when it launched a platform similar to Instagram called Like2Buy, which looks and acts like the social network but links photos directly to product pages on its Web store and tracks photos that users “like.”
2) To enable customers, PayPal launched One Touch, a feature designed to streamline purchasing in the mobile apps of its business partners. In the weeks leading up to the announcement of Apple Pay, this was likely a move to boost it ahead in the mobile payments arms race.
3) To serve customers, Amazon’s entrance into the mPOS space could make it a Trojan horse for physical retail, turning thousands of online SMBs into brick-and-mortar shops, and allowing merchants to sell products directly on Amazon’s site for customers to pick-up in-store.
This report will, on a monthly basis, document the moves these progressive retailers are making to enable omnichannel across three critical lenses:
Engage the Customer: Strategies merchants are enacting to drive customers into their store or online including loyalty programs, contextually relevant offers, and leveraging data to make relevant product recommendations.
Enable the Customer: Tools merchants are deploying to arm customers with the ability to shop and buy whenever and wherever they want including apps, enabling payment within the app, location-based services, and the ability to shop and fulfill purchases regardless of channel.
Serve the Customer: Ways in which merchants are stepping out from behind the counter to deliver enhanced shopping experiences such as mobile-point-of-sale, ability to check inventory in real-time, etc.
The report will also feature industry-spanning statistics and factoids curated by Vantiv, whose solutions help merchants more easily make that transition. These statistics and factoids will help to arm retailers (and those who power them) with data to make smarter decisions when considering various options for enabling omnicommerce.
For more on the developments across the omnicommerce ecosystem, download the full version of this month’s report by clicking the button below.