Mobile payments are on the rise, and early retail adopters are already experiencing the benefits of this new way to pay. But if your business isn't already on board, that doesn't mean you missed the boat.
I sat down with Tim Hayden, an advisor at Brain+Trust Partners, and Phil M. Jones, author of Exactly How to Sell, to get to the bottom of what business owners need to know about mobile's rising tide and how to avoid getting caught in the undertow.
Mobile payments can give businesses ultimate attribution, an increase in repeat purchase behavior and a significant conversion advantage. And according to Hayden and Jones, your business could benefit as an early adopter in the mobile payments swell.
If your business invests in a sales or marketing channel, you want to know the return on your investment. This has been the dogged pursuit for marketers for decades. From social media and in-store signage to banner ads and direct mail marketing, when it's possible to prove how a customer got to you and completed a sale, it's pure statistical gold.
Mobile payment may mean more for retailers than just the consumer's ability to buy on the go. The data that comes along with mobile payments delivers the ever-elusive ultimate attribution. This translates to empowering business to easily develop their most successful marketing channels and deliver future marketing efforts to those channels with razor precision.
And it's the leading win for mobile payments, says Hayden.
—Phil M. Jones, author, Exactly How to Sell
“By empowering customers to effortlessly execute a purchase on the one device that accompanies them everywhere they go, businesses also glean insights on a customer's location, the time of day and the medium responsible for initiating a purchase," says Hayden. “This goes beyond a link from content posted on a social network or a monthly email newsletter, as location and time data can provide marketers with evidence that anything from a physical billboard to a television spot or other analog medium was likely to have ignited purchase behavior."
Increasing Repeat Purchase Behavior
The modern consumer is a creature of convenience. Whether it's the allure of having free two-day shipping or hundreds of restaurants ready to fulfill your food delivery whim within a five-mile radius, consumers prove time and again that convenience is top-of-mind.
“By reducing the number of steps required for customers to commit a purchase with mobile payments, a business is likely to realize more frequent and repeat sales," says Hayden.
This frictionless mobile purchase environment means the customer gets ease and satisfaction and the brand delivers a frictionless experience. You made it easy. Consumers remember.
Hayden says that brands looking for evidence to back up the idea that consumers value the frictionless mobile payment experience need look no further than the ubiquity of mobile apps with built-in payments from leading retailers.
“Many companies that create frictionless mobile payment methods and model new loyalty programs around behaviors enabled by mobile payments are experiencing explosive growth in store traffic and returning visits because it is effortless, convenient and so simple," Hayden explains.
Jones emphasizes this need for businesses to create a frictionless payment environment as well.
"Habits are formed through convenience. The easier retailers make it for consumers to transact—and then catalogue those transactions with things like elegant email receipts, the more likely those consumers are to come back, again and again."
Again, mobile payments deliver more than just the ability to pay. In addition to the data mobile payments offer to businesses, they can be a gateway to a better, more loyal customer experience. Which means it's a good time to talk about conversion—transforming passive search into actual sales.
The Conversion Advantage
Remember the days where you had to type everything into a digital box, from SMS messages to search engine queries like “how to replace a windshield wiper blade on a 2012 Fiat 500"?
Mobile's rise as an everyday part of consumer lives means that those text-based searches have given way to a new direction: voice. Where we used to type, we talk. And this, says Hayden, is a key reason for businesses to add mobile payments to their strategy.
“Brands that improve the customer experience by allowing customers to use their natural voices, not text and typing, will have an early advantage in converting passive search behavior into actual sales," says Hayden. “With nearly half of all Americans using voice assistants today, primarily through the smartphones, it is no longer a novelty, but a rising expectation to converse with digital storefronts by voice."
Mobile payments extend beyond the transaction to how the customer initiated the transaction. A voice search into a mobile device during a train commute converts to a site visitor, which can convert to a mobile transaction, facilitated by a frictionless mobile payment. Mobile payments can transform your conversion rates by giving the customer a simple, voice-driven way to turn a search into a sale.
And even if you're not totally sold on the voice-mobile connection to increase conversions, there is a single solid reason why mobile payments are a strong contender for your business's attention: getting paid.
"Getting paid is possibly the most important part of every business," says Jones. "The easier you make it for your consumers to buy from you, the more likely they are to buy from you and you inevitably convert more customers."
As mobile payments and customer purchasing behavior change swiftly, try to look for solutions that will meet your customers at the intersection of convenience, security and a delightful brand experience. What mobile payments give your business can go beyond the ability to pay. Conversions, data and loyalty could all be built-in benefits for your business.
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