Apple Pay Contactless – Keeping us in Contact
This morning, Apple launched Apple Pay, a new contactless payment system that allows people to use their iPhones to pay for goods and services in high street shops and online, using their thumbprint as a type of “signature”.
A host of banks and retailers have signed up to offer the service and it makes perfect sense why. It’s another step in the merging of on and offline. The worlds of physical and virtual shopping are becoming ever more intertwined and it is therefore becoming extremely important for the brand experience to be both seamless and consistent across all channels.
Rather than m-commerce or e-commerce and physical retail stores, it’s another step towards “total retail”. Brands will use tools like iBeacon (another protocol introduced by Apple) to announce sales to passers-by and drive physical footfall, just as online stores use click and collect when they have no retail stores of their own.
With Apple Pay, retailers know that customers who pay on a smart phone are using their phones during the “offline” shopping experience and they therefore have an opportunity to make the most of this marketing channel. The likes of Starbucks and Barclays do this well by letting iPhone users, who have their app downloaded, know that they’re near a store, but that’s only a snippet of what can and will be done.
Long gone are the days when direct mail was for targeting offline customers and email or social for connecting with online customers. More traditional transactions are rapidly dying out as customers look for the easiest buying journey. As the customer is almost constantly connected via their smartphone, the potential opportunities for brands to talk to them cross channel, streamlining their buying journey and increasing brand buy-in are phenomenal.
By Julaine Speight, consumer digital account manager