McDonalds, of course, is one of the early brands accepting Apple Pay, the technology that could very easily prove to be the most important product Apple has launched after the iPhone.
The way we pay for things in our everyday lives is finally catching up to our mobile-obsessed world. If you think about the four most recent innovations in the payments industry — the introduction of the credit card, the development of the debit card and ATMs, the launch of online banking, and the non-bank online payment systems such as PayPal – we’re about due.
With Apple Pay, secure, contactless payments will spread like wildfire. Because after all, if anyone can give mobile payments the boost it so desperately needs, it’s Apple.
Brands need to leverage the launch of Apple Pay to not only streamline payments, but to take a close look at the entire consumer purchasing process to simplify and modernize every step. Retail locations are becoming marketing centers, not just fulfillment centers, and require brands to adopt relationship marketing inside and outside stores.
While Apple Pay is designed to enhance the fulfillment process, it also opens many doors for brands to focus on marketing and improving the overall consumer experience. Payments are just the beginning. Here are some examples of ways to remove friction from the buying process:
Staying at a Hotel
As soon as you arrive at the hotel, you get an alert that you are checked in and should head to your room. An overlay pops up in which you select a credit card via Apple Pay as you head to the elevator. Knowing your history of attending the complimentary happy hours, the hotel sends a message about tonight’s event once you have settled in, with the opportunity to select your beverage of choice. As soon as you arrive, a staff member greets you with your drink, mentioning the special currently available at the spa (your weakness). The deal is too good to pass up, so you make an appointment on your phone, confirm the card for tomorrow’s massage and head out to your dinner plans.
After being sent an offer for 10 percent off at a clothing store, you add a few items to an online wish list for when you stop by the store. The jacket you want is on backorder in your size. A few days later, as you find yourself near the store, you are surprised when you get a push alert that says the jacket is now in stock. Without even opening the app, you respond to the message, telling the store to get your entire wish list ready for you in a fitting room. You arrive, head straight to the fitting room (skipping in-door traffic jams and lines), make your selections, and check out seamlessly at the counter. And of course, that 10 percent off offer was deducted automatically, having been saved in your Passbook.
Picking up your groceries
What if you are reminded to pick up dog food while you were at the store, because the retailer anticipated you are about to run out, saving you a trip back out when your spouse so gracefully reminds you? Grocers will start optimizing the experience by predicting things you may forget, based on your past shopping behavior (i.e., dog food every 3 months). They can then make personalized recommendations for items based on your preferences. For example: “You might love this pesto recipe – here’s where to find the ingredients in the store!” Grocery stores will also reduce friction by mapping your route to pick up items on your list, based on real-time foot traffic flow.
Mobile is a window to everything in life — physical and digital. With Apple Pay launching, consumers will be taking out their phones right after important buying decisions. This presents an opportunity for marketers to participate before the decision point as well, using the phone to motivate the decision maker with offers, information, and recommendations.
Every customer interaction needs to be personalized. The person behind the counter does not need to know the financial details of the customer who is using Apple Pay, but in order to up-sell and cross-sell appropriately and provide excellent service, she should know what the person has bought recently, how loyal they are, what they have recently added to their wish list, and more.
The checkout may soon be frictionless with Apple Pay, but as 2015 quickly approaches, marketers need to think about how they can expand the seamless experience throughout the entire customer journey.
Puneet Mehta is co-founder and CEO of MobileROI.