Jul 17, 2013 Dave King
The business world isn't getting any less competitive. Increasingly, company leaders need to think strategically about how they can position their organizations as the right choice for consumers, as people today have so many options. Buying products and services has become a highly complicated process, as shoppers can now weigh many factors in their decisions - they aren't limited to the closest locations, for instance. Instead, modern customers are prepared to be selective and find the best options to meet their discerning tastes, which often means discovering a business that can offer a superior customer experience, not just great prices.
One way enterprises can differentiate themselves from other companies in their industries is to integrate mobile payments options. As these tools grow more popular and consumers become more technology-savvy, customers are often opting to spend with brands that allow them to pay whichever way is best for their needs. Linking up a patron's credit, debit or ACH cards to an app or digital wallet, mobile payments make it even easier for individuals to check out in the brick-and-mortar location or while on the go.
Optimization or bust
However, this is only true when companies take the time and care to implement mobile payments effectively. If they don't, it's actually possible for these solutions to become detrimental to an enterprise's success. In a recent study by Skava, it was revealed that 71 percent of smartphone owners use their devices to shop, but 88 percent of these consumers have also had negative experiences while doing so. And most importantly for business leaders, many customers are not very forgiving of problems while taking part in mobile commerce. In fact, 30 percent of the more than 2,000 respondents said they would never go back to a retailer's mobile site after having issues, while 33 percent would even immediately head to a competitor's website. Additionally, 36 percent would abandon a transaction in the middle of the purchase process if it wasn't going smoothly.
But what issues must companies be looking out for? According to Skava, 51 percent of mobile payments users listed websites that aren't intuitive to navigate from their gadgets as their biggest pain point, while 46 percent cited product images that were too small to aid in their decisions. Another 41 percent felt unsure about mobile security, and 26 percent said that the checkout process was too difficult.
In an article for Mobile Commerce Daily, Hjalmar Winbladh explained that for mobile payments to be successful and boost business' results, they need to make the consumer experience better rather than interrupt it. He emphasized that for companies, the emerging trend toward using smartphones and tablets to make purchasing decisions is an enormous opportunity. By harnessing the power of mobile, enterprises can increase engagement, a factor which often brings higher revenues with it. Sunil Gupta, head of the marketing unit at Harvard Business School, has also stressed that with the help of apps, marketing teams can promote a brand without seeming disingenuous to customers while helping spur word-of-mouth recommendations. To do this, the apps should present customers with added value.
When it comes to mobile payments tools, the potential for introducing extra benefits and generating customer enthusiasm in the process is huge. Patrons want easy, anytime, anywhere options to buy their favorite products and services. Done correctly, mobile apps even make it easier to pay by helping a consumer ready his or her preferred credit, debit and ACH cards for a quick checkout. With so many mobile shoppers experiencing less-than-ideal interactions over these channels, businesses that invest the time and effort into producing convenient, secure mobile payment tools are likely to stand heads above their competitors.