I realize that you might find this hard to believe, but it is my wife who is the actual jokester in the family.
Impossible, you say. Nah.
Here’s an example:
Her take on Apple Pay to explain how an expensive handbag may soon make its way into our house:
“What if I’m in the Louis Vuitton section of Nordstrom and my phone just happens to swipe?”
Of course, the technology doesn’t work that way. Thankfully.
Education is a big hurdle for Apple Pay and other mobile payments services with questions around everything from how the process works to how secure the transaction will be. Small and medium-sized businesses wonder, too, how available it will be for them in the near future.
Among the most interesting aspects of the Apple Pay rollout is the pushback by some retailers who have loyalty worries on their minds.
In a Bloomberg Businessweek story titled Apple Pay Is Too Anonymous for Some Retailers, http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-10-20/apple-pay-is-too-anonymous-for-panera-starbucks-and-other-retailers#r=read, a Panera Bread executive said that Apple’s new service is too impersonal.
As the magazine reported, “Apple Pay, with its built-in anonymity, won’t eliminate the need to swipe a loyalty card or give the cashier a phone number. ‘Obviously, that’s not where we want to be,’ says Blaine Hurst, Panera’s executive vice president for technology and transformation. ‘Why can’t I just walk up to a cashier with my phone and all that information magically appears?’”
Not to be left out at the launch, Panera decided to be an Apple Pay merchant despite its concerns about what the new service is supposedly missing – personalization that rewards loyalty.
Study after study tells us that the modern-day technology user wants personal experiences.
Personalized emails improve click-through rates by an average of 14% and conversation rates by 10% (Aberdeen Group).
Nearly 75% of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content (e.g. offers, ads and promotions) appears that has nothing to do with their interests (Harris Interactive).
What we don’t know is whether consumers will trade a personal, loyalty-driven experience for a speedier one. And that’s provided that they get over any concerns that they may have about privacy and where individual purchase data may or may not go.
As stated in the Bloomberg Businessweek story, the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores, is rejecting Apple Pay altogether. It has said it has no plans to accept Apple’s payments, and is working on its own system developed by Merchant Customer Exchange, or MCX, in conjunction with a handful of other big merchants.
MCX and Wal-Mart declined to discuss their reasons for not working with Apple Pay. Analysts told the publication that the primary reason for the parallel effort is to make sure that merchants retain control of the relationship with their customers.
As of now, ApplePay is unavailable to many merchants, including those small and medium-sized businesses on Main Street. If, and when that changes, entities of all sizes will get to decide if Apple Pay pays for them – and their customers.
This post was brought to you by IBM for Midsize Business and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit IBM's Midsize Insider. Dedicated to providing businesses with expertise, solutions and tools that are specific to small and midsized companies, the Midsize Business program provides businesses with the materials and knowledge they need to become engines of a smarter planet.