“Apple Pay allows us to complete the customer journey.”
So says Puneet Mehta, CEO and cofounder of mobile marketing automation platform MobileROI. The New York City-based company is announcing today its adoption of Apple’s new iPhone-based payment system.
“We’re the first mobile marketing automation platform to integrate Apple Pay, with a full view online and in-store, with beacons, of the customer journey,” he told VentureBeat. Mehta added that his company’s platform enables “any sensor integration,” whether beacons, RFID, or others.
Without a mobile payment system, he said, “beacons and geo-fencing [are] fine, but what about the payment?”
With payment, MobileROI sees physical stores becoming marketing centers that can culminate in a sale. If mobile payment does catch on, shopping in a real store could become a different experience.
For instance, mobile marketers and mobile pay advocates have long touted on-the-spot discount coupons, sales notices, and loyalty rewards as benefits of shopping with a smartphone. But the availability of paying with the same device — and seamlessly using those offers — could make the whole process easier and thus more likely to be used by both shopper and store.
It could also mean that your smartphone becomes, essentially, your pointer, guide, and comparison shopper as you walk around a store.
“The whole idea [is] not just payment,” Mehta said, “but using your mobile device as a window for shopping in a store,” while you’re in the store.
Marketers and store owners will undoubtedly be tempted to go overboard, but Mehta emphasizes that a balance will have to be found for “optimizing the experience,” instead of bombarding the customer until they run out the door.
Toward that end, MobileROI and other mobile marketers provide management of the offers and customer metrics, but some rules of thumb still need to evolve, and soon. Such as: how many pending sale offers or coupons can a typical customer juggle in one visit?
Mehta noted that there are some other wrinkles to be ironed out, for his company and others.
For instance, he noted, Apple Pay sales are encrypted at the point of transaction because of privacy concerns, and some of the half-dozen bank transaction providers do not yet offer real-time access to the customer’s protected information.
For those not providing real-time access, information about who bought what is only available at day’s end when accounts are settled. This allows the store to send a coupon for half-price on another pair of sunglasses to a sunglass buyer — but only later. (Mehta said MobileROI has real-time access to transaction data about a given customer from some but not all transaction providers, so, “to maintain consistency” until they all do, MobileROI is currently making that information available only at day’s end.)
Apple is not the first, of course, to offer mobile payments. Why could it complete the mobile customer journey in ways that, say, Google Wallet, PayPal or the system-formerly-known-as-Isis (now Softcard) could not?
“When Apple launches [such a system,]” Mehta told us, “there is a better chance it will be adopted.”