Apple Pay hits the Web

Like any self respecting creative company owner, I tend to use a lot of Apple kit including my trusty Macbook Pro and an iPhone 6. So, when Apple recently released IOS 10 (the latest update to the operating system which powers iPhones), I was keen to see what the updates where.  Most of of it looked fairly run of the mill and didn’t really excite me, until I spotted Apple Pay for the Web.

Apple Pay for the Web

If you are a iPhone owner you may well have come across Apple Pay already. Basically this is Apple’s wallet facility so that you can securely store your credit / debit cards on your phone. With this facility you’ve been able to use your iPhone to pay in places like Starbucks and McDonalds. To be honest, I’ve not really used it much as faffing around with your iPhone to pay is actually harder work than paying by contactless debit card; so why bother? I’m only interested where things are made easier & smoother. So this is where it gets interesting….

Easier & Smoother

If you’ve ever purchased something from your mobile phone, you’ll know what a royal pain in the bottom this can be. In fact, most people tend to give up and wait until they are on a larger screen where the experience isn’t quite so frustrating.

However, sometimes you are caught short, you just have to make that purchase right there & then. Perhaps it’s a ticket to an event, perhaps it’s a book, perhaps some last minute flowers. By and large (with a few notable exceptions), paying for things on your mobile is a soul destroying experience; poor design, clunky purchase paths, obscure error messages, all conspire to make mobile eCommerce an uphill struggle.

There are exceptions of course, the Amazon mobile site (and app) make purchasing a doddle; in fairness, they have the money to enable that. Also, if memory serves, the mobile site on Just Giving was superb as well.

But these are the rare, polished exceptions. By and large, if I’m going to make a purchase, and the immediate device to hand is my iPhone, then I’ll probably think twice. And delay obviously means I may forget or change my mind; in short, a sale can all too easily be lost.

Stripe’s Apple Pay Web Demo

Stripe are an eCommerce payment gateway with lots of bells and whistles; we use them for internal projects at Glass Mountains (like our website review service) as well as for some of our clients. So I was very interested to try out their demo of Apple Pay here.

Note: to use the demo you’ll obviously have to be using IOS 10. Alternatively you can watch a demo

I was immediately wowed by Stripe’s demo. I clicked their ‘Try it now‘ button (whilst in the mobile version of the Safari web browser on my IOS10 iPhone), and it launched the Apple Pay wallet (which is a native app on my iPhone). The iPhone then prompts me to select which of my pre-stored cards I want to use, I click the button, and I’ve paid*. Simple as that. 5 seconds (if that). No clunky purchase path, no confusing error messages. Easy. Note: the above is a test demo, you don’t actually spend money.

(*security is great because paying uses Apple’s finger print recognition system).

Not just Mobile

Better still, this isn’t just trying to solve a problem with mobile eCommerce. It’s coming to Apple’s desktop computers as well (in Apple’s upcoming o/s update Sierra).

Imagine this scenario: you visit an eCommerce site on your laptop, want to make a purchase, click the ‘Pay by Apple Pay‘ button, and you’ll authorise the payment via your iPhone or Apple Watch; again, no clunky purchase path. Item bought in under 3 seconds. Wow.

Ah! But!

The flaw in all of this is that all of the above is Apple focussed and, more to the point, requires the latest operating systems. Well, Apple users are pretty on the ball with adopting the latest o/s so that isn’t a major hurdle but the other issue is important; what if you are not an Apple user? The simple answer is that websites (as they do now) will present users with a variety of methods for people to pay; If the website detects your on Mac/iPhone, they may make the Apply Pay option prominent. Simple.

Anything that makes mobile eCommerce a smoother, more painless process, is good news. We have a few clients with very high traffic, a significant portion coming from iPhones. We’re developing some Apple Pay options to target this traffic and we’ll let you know how we get along.

Final Thoughts

I really do hope you get to play with Stripe’s demo as you’ll see how lightning fast a purchase can be. And the fluidity here is what will open up new doors; think beyond your traditional Amazon like purchase path. Think new micro-transactions. Think a tip jar on a blog. Think white papers. Apple Pay will make such impulse purchases easier; the game then is to make a tempting offer. What can your company offer?



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