Business are publishing their own apps, no big news there but these apps have legs. They are payment-centric. No big news here either. Starbucks led this trend and is doing great with their own app. 20% of their payments come in via the app. Waiting for “the pays” to mature enough is a not a wise strategy. Someday we will use a consolidated mobile wallet to pay various merchants but not today. Today businesses are leading the charge.
Business mobile wallets are better than the Pays like Apple Pay. Why? They do more than payments, they totally, 100% integrate into the business. For example, I ordered Razor Scooters for the office via the Walmart app. Yes, people really do ride scooters around the office, including Tom Shen. Once I ordered the scooters I was instructed to stop by the store to pick them up and was in and out in minutes. It was just like Starbucks order-ahead; skip the line, drink your coffee. Same for Walmart. I never even really felt like I paid because I had previously set up my card in the app. Of course I paid but they completely removed the payment resistance by putting focus elsewhere, in this case on picking up the items I ordered. Awesome. I just ordered and went in and got my stuff. The payment kind of faded in to the background.
This is why business mobile wallets are better. They build 100% into the buying process. Apple Pay and the other pays, well, yes they automate the payment piece without the swipe, that’s a nifty thing. And yes, they might someday have marketing, loyalty etc. but the pays will never be able to integrate into the customer experience so completely that it makes the payment “disappear.”
If the pays are how your bank or credit union is approaching mobile wallets, make sure to start thinking about the other elements of a customer’s buying experience. Start thinking about how to build out these features. I have a sense that this factor of providing other features to surround the payment, might be the single biggest factor in swaying public usage. If the pays do figure this out, hmm, do they then make the financial institutions less relevant? Do the pays become the front door for all businesses? And can the pays ever really recoup what they have lost to the Starbucks and Walmarts already out there making real progress in the mobile wallet space? The challenge is on and we’ll be monitoring the results. Right now we’re in early innings but the current score? Business mobile wallets = 3, the pays = 1. Let’s see what develops.