While most people assume the messy mobile payment industry is made up of simply Apple Pay, and Square, the term really has to be expanded to include the basic experience of buying stuff off of your phone. If I can't sit in bed and buy something from a site because of a poor mobile experience, you'll probably lose my money. Apparently the rest of the world agrees, as according to Business Insider Intelligence, $4 trillion of purchases will be left for dead in mobile shopping carts, though 63% of it can be recouped if they'd pay attention to what shoppers actually wanted. Their research, which is behind a paywall, is also frightening for the lazy retailers out there--people are abandoning even more carts. Correlation doesn't equal causation, but it's a worrying situation.

According to a 2014 study by VMO of e-commerce shoppers, 23% of orphaned mobile carts on are a result of the basic rule of the internet--build an experience that actually fits the device a user will be on. The phrase "Shut up and take my money" applies to an alarming amount of stores which don't consider that making the buying process shorter (have them fill in automatically, based on google maps data, perhaps) or not forcing them to log into Facebook or make an account. People act quickly when using their phones. That means that if your mobile website (or app) is great, they'll buy things faster. For example, Amazon's mobile experience, which his quick and easy (and on iOS even can use your thumb-print instead of a password)--almost too much, according to my credit card--accounted for 60% of their total volume by the end of 2014.

Another way to make this all a lot easier is to get a digital wallet integrated into a retailer, even in the actual store. Accepting mobile payments and mobile-heavy users is a lot more than just being vaguely modern, it's actually an opportunity to sell more stuff (that's the point, I assume, of your store). For example, 58% of consumers would rather look at their mobile phone for product information than ask a store employee, well, anything. The result is that anything that ties your customer's ability to buy--a digital wallet, a barcode scanner, or even something like Target's mobile-specific deals app Cartwheel--to their device can actually make them more likely to keep buying at a particular store.

However, mobile wallets specifically have an issue of being desperate to replace someone's entire physical wallet. Furthermore, Digital Wallets, which are basically just another account you have to create because a company decided they wanted you to, are awkward, fumbling entities, minus perhaps Amazon Checkout. The physical versions have failed for exactly the same reason--even when they work, it's more effort than just pulling out a credit card or even getting physical money. "All attempts at a mobile wallet have so far failed to live up to the hype," said Robert McHugh, Co-Founder of PayDunk, in one of the few readable LinkedIn Pulse pieces (typo aside). His reasoning is that the mobile wallet yet to do very basic things a real wallet does--like have your car insurance, medical insurance, driver's license and other things you need in one place.

There are also countless problems with security in mobile payments if you want to use digital wallets and their incredibly awkward mobile experiences. PayPal, MasterCard's Masterpass and Visa Checkout make users sets up an account with each store, leaving information sitting on separate servers for each, and when the user logs in with the specific wallet, they'll then enter their necessary details. That's more information in more places, and apparently nobody is safe from a hack at the moment. McHugh's PayDunk gets around this by encrypting and storing all of the user’s personal and financial information on the user's phone (through the app), removing the need to create extra, information-dropping accounts all over the place, handing it over when necessary and then keeping it on the device itself. The company's white-label checkout system also removes the concept of logins and accounts entirely, requiring a few swipes or touches to get a purchase done.

Both PayDunk and Amazon are following many of the trends pointed to by Oracle's future of mobile payments report. It may be fairly obvious to you, but many stores still haven't realized that a simple, private mobile experience of any kind is a lot more attractive to the average shopper.

While mobile payments in the sense of "your store works on my smartphone" are only going to take more out of the pockets of in-store purchases, mobile wallets have a long way to go. Though some of the big names--Best Buy, Target and Amazon, for example--have worked out how to create great smartphone stores, the integration of your average mobile wallet is awkward at best. Even in my local Walgreens, paying with Apple Pay is an awkward mixture of tapping, thumbprints and hoping my iPhone likes me that day. If Apple can't get it right, there's little hope for CurrentC to work. And Visa and the rest of the payments industry's attempts to make digital wallets and get as much of your data as possible are ruining the experience for everyone. If you want my money, just make it easier on them. Me too, please.

Published on: Aug 27, 2015
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