Elliot Chan Originally published on Control. Feb 18, 2015
Consumer habits have changed significantly in the past few years. The market must recognize the driving force of mobile and web payment. Paying customers are demanding ease and seamlessness more than ever, and lengthy processes will ultimately lead to your company’s demise.
The Paperless Trend
The shift from paper to digital is happening in many forms, but one clear instance is in payment. According to Aite Group, in 2013 digital payments accounted for almost half of all bills paid in the United States. The reason is clear: Why bother with the hassle of writing a cheque and mailing it when you can get those nasty bills off your shoulders quickly.
Millennials prefer online payment. Even though they own chequebooks, they rarely use them.
The Consumer Mindset
The payment processing industry is currently the fifth fastest growing sector in the United States and there is a lot of room for growth. However, marketers must remember that consumers aren’t making payments for the sake of making payments. They want to buy a new shirt, reserve tickets to a concert, or book a flight for vacation. Accessing their funds is just something that occurs in the back of their mind and companies should not interfere with that.
Consumers are looking for the next easy-to-use platform. Be it Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, or even SnapChat, those making purchases favor companies capable of integrating payment unobtrusively.
The Brave New World
Don’t hesitate to make a change if the end goal is to make the product better and easier to use. The shift from credit cards to mobile payment wasn’t the swiftest transition in history, but it happened. Take a look at Starbucks cards and their payment app. If you are an avid coffee drinker there’s little reason not to buy into it. Tech-savvy users aren’t afraid to make payments in different ways. Nevertheless, the processes only work if the company has something of value to reel the consumers in with.
There is no fear, there just needs to be a reason.
The Learning Curve
Customer education is one common criticism for companies integrating new technology into a campaign or overall structure. Not every customer will be a tech-savvy and technical person, so support is often appreciated. Look at the mobile banking industry for example. For years, mobile banking had been available, however, only 10% [according to ath Power Consulting] of users were advised to access their finances through their devices rather than visiting a brick-and-mortar bank.
A little helping hand at the start can ease your consumers into the mobile payment process. Studies have shown that the little extra steps early on payoff in customer loyalty.
The Universal Mobile Payment Method
Are we overloading consumers with payment options? Perhaps. But keep in mind, most services are exclusive to certain devices or individual accounts. Apple Pay users can only use Apple products to make transactions. PayPal merchants can only accept payments from PayPal users with the app.
If we are going to pick a universal mobile payment method we have to highlight CurrentC, developed by The Merchant Customer Exchange. Over 110,000 retailersincluding Best Buy and Walmart are already equipped with the POS hardware and connected to the network. In addition, the app will use tokenized data to complete transactions, instead of the traditional card data, albeit the service so far has been considered “clunky”. Mutually beneficial partnerships, and not coercion, will be the key to developing a successful universal mobile payment method.
We are a long ways away from crowning any payment method as the universal choice. At the moment it’s coming down to the customer’s priority and lifestyle, and that is how it should remain.