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Enter the 'droid: How UK retailers can win by supporting Android Pay

It’s that time again. Nine months after we were poised at the brink of the launch of Apple Pay, we are now all agog for the latest mobile payment method to step into the arena – Android Pay.

This comes with a flurry of anticipation, and rightly so. Android is used by 54% of the smartphone-owning population. And, unlike Apple Pay, which is restricted to iPhone 6, Android Pay is available to users of older models as well – meaning essentially that an entirely new customer segment will have access to mobile payments.

And UK shoppers like mobile payments. In fact we are the global leader, using our mobiles for almost 50% of online purchases.  We are also enthusiastic about contactless point of sale payments; the usage of which increased by 200% in 2015. Put two and two together and we can see that the leap to contactless mobile payments is more like a small step. Furthermore, as a card-dominated market, we are well primed for mobile point of sale payment methods such as Apple Pay and Android Pay, which allow us to use our smartphones as an extension of our credit cards.

Is this the ‘droid you’ve been looking for?

We must remember of course that big things were predicted for the launch of Apple Pay, which then gave way to scepticism when it failed to meet its perhaps disproportionate expectations. It has even been called “a solution looking for a problem”. Nevertheless, between June and December, Apple Pay succeeded in racking up 10 times more usage than in the first half of the year, suggesting that things are gathering momentum. Android Pay may be coming at just the right moment, to be the shot in the arm the mobile payments ecosystem needs to truly enter the mainstream. Throw Samsung Pay into the mix later this year and most people with a smartphone in their pocket will be able to pay with a tap of their phone.

For retailers, the way to win at payments is to offer seamless, secure and convenient ways for shoppers to pay. So when considering mobile payments, here are some factors to bear in mind:

Make mobile easy online and in-store

Whether your mobile payments are processed in a native app or mobile browser, think about how the experience is optimized for small screens. Frictionless payment methods such as ApplePay and Android Pay will help you provide a great user experience, and can be supported just by implementing a few lines of code. In order to support mobile solutions in-store, your pin terminals must be NFC enabled.

Think omnichannel

Mobile payment methods, like Android Pay and Apple Pay are an ideal bridge between your online and physical channels. With her phone in her pocket, a shopper might browse online, reserve an item in-app, and then pay in your store with a tap of her phone. This seamless transition across sales channels provides a golden opportunity for retailers to delight their shoppers, build loyalty and drive sales.

To enable cross-channel journeys like this, your payment provider must be able to unify online and point of sale payments. It is also necessary to centralize the management of your payments across channels so you can build a 360-degree view of shoppers’ purchase history. This simplifies omnichannel use cases such as click and collect, endless aisle or cross-channel returns and refunds.

Stay ahead of the curve

Remember, innovation in payments is picking up speed. This month in the US Google rolled out a pilot of its latest payments venture: Hands Free, in which your phone communicates with the NFC terminal from your pocket. And, for online payments, MasterCard has announced it is bringing Selfie Pay to the UK, letting customers buy online by taking a selfie.

But of course, none of this is about offering the shiniest new method on the block. Retailers need to deliver the payment experience best suited to their customers. Whatever new payments technology you are evaluating, keep your customers’ needs front and centre. 




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