Given the shift from traditional payment methods to alternative payments, such as digital wallets, not to mention the growing number of customers paying for goods and services using their mobile devices, there is clearly room for steadier, sizable growth in mobile wallet adoption. But what will it take for widespread adoption to take place? The answer, as it turns out, may actually lie within merchant eCommerce experiences rather than the wallets themselves.
With nearly one in four consumers trying Apple Pay this year, according to the PYMNTS Apple Pay Adoption Tracker, there’s been a steady increase in use of and interest in the mobile wallet since late 2014, when only 9 percent of those surveyed used it to make a purchase.
The 23 percent of users trying Apple Pay in June 2016 represents an upward trend instead of the decreasing percentage revealed in the two previous PYMNTS Apple Pay studies. With nearly 26 percent of shoppers unfamiliar with how the mobile wallet works, the 2016 survey shows that there is still a long way to go in educating consumers about Apple Pay and other digital wallets in general.
With this in mind, PYMNTS recently spoke with Leo Castro, vice president of product marketing and brand for BigCommerce, an eCommerce platform, about the opportunities and challenges of trying to eliminate virtual checkout cart abandonment and converting tech-savvy shoppers into buyers.
Checkout conversion conundrum
BigCommerce, which primarily works with companies in the $1 million–$50 million annual revenue range, has seen a significant shift to mobile usage by consumers. According to a recent survey by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, 75 percent of mobile device users from 19 countries said they had made an online purchase via a smartphone or tablet in the past six months.
Castro said this mobile shift has posed a challenge for the company when it comes to developing website solutions for merchants to enhance the checkout experience for consumers.
The consumer-first focus is essential to tackling the challenge, he explained. “How do we make that experience fantastic for our customers and their customers? Really, the name of the game there is thinking through all the ways to optimize and reduce friction throughout the [checkout] process.”
Shopping cart abandonment happens at all stages of the checkout process, even before an item finds its way into the cart, Castro said. Some of the factors that play a role in the abandonment include having a poorly designed website, failing to keep customers engaged, having security concerns and the “cumbersome” process of entering card numbers and billing and shipping addresses on mobile devices, he added.
Reducing checkout friction, while, at the same time, suggesting complementary products to what they’re buying, is a balancing act retailers go through every day, Castro said. By failing to address both areas, merchants miss out on potential revenue.
One approach retailers can take to cut down on checkout disengagement is through the use of mobile wallets. Another potential way retailers can help circumvent checkout abandonment is in driving consumers to build store accounts, Castro said, which allows the same information that is typically collected at some other point in the checkout phase to be stored in the store account.
According to Castro, a trend the company has identified is an increase in mobile wallets to help speed through the conversion process. With that, BigCommerce has partnered with mobile wallet providers, such as PayPal and, most recently, Apple Pay. The company also has plans to integrate several other digital wallets in the near future, he said.
Does mobile, in fact, unlock the sky’s limit?
BigCommerce has seen a threefold increase in mobile usage over the past four years, according to Castro, and with that boost in mobile activity, he believes digital wallets will follow along that same trajectory.
“I think they’re going to go hand in hand,” he said. “Just that sheer convenience play of not having to enter in the 16-digit number, not having to put in your full name and being able to check out just by logging in” makes it easier for consumers, he said, adding that hardware vendors layering in biometrics makes the shopping experience even faster by eliminating login friction.
When it comes to the mobile device effect on how customers interact with shopping carts and digital wallets, Castro said he’s been “amazed” by how much browsing now occurs on mobile devices considering how everyone is seemingly on the move. Smartphone ubiquity, he said, has driven the behavior.
A smartphone user typically begins the shopping process by logging into an eCommerce account, Castro said, followed by browsing products at one location, putting them into a virtual shopping cart and then later finalizing the purchase at another location.
“So, then, you can go, and if [for example] you’re on the bus and you see something that you like and you put it into a wish list or a shopping cart, you can go home and then complete the transaction,” he added. “It plays a key role in terms of engaging customers.”
Importance of nailing UX
Mobile will continue to drive adoption and shape the conversation around the future of digital wallets and eCommerce, Castro said, adding that the trend ties directly to online design.
A merchant’s digital experience needs to be appealing across the board — a responsive design that can be beautiful, even if you look at it on a mobile device, he said.
The appeal of design and positive user experience goes on to influence a consumer’s likelihood to complete a transaction. And this experience extends all the way into the shopping cart, he said. “I would say the shopping cart is a key part of that experience in terms of engaging and converting customers, but it’s part of the bigger package that our retailers have to face.”
Castro said it’s important for companies with brick-and-mortar locations to not only have a great storefront but also to have a sleek online presence that also offers personalization and convenience to shoppers — whether it means providing the next level of in-store customer service or a range of payment options online.
“As consumers, we’ve become accustomed to looking at design and having that be a part of the consideration about whether we want to engage with a particular retailer,” he said. “Just look at the key consumer brands that are out there now, whether it’s Apple or Tesla or even a lot of the fashion brands. They’ve put a lot of premium on design, and I think that means it’s going to put a lot of pressure on retailers to think about how well-designed their sites are.”
As this thinking goes, could the innovative Tesla consumer experience, as a high-profile example, influence the eventual mass adoption of mobile wallets? Stay tuned: It may be a bit of a drive.
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About The Tracker
The Vantiv Omnicommerce TrackerTM, powered by PYMNTS.com, features industry-spanning research and insights that arm retailers with data to make smarter decisions for enabling omnichannel commerce.