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Nick Bennett

Strategy Director

The ever changing E & M-Commerce landscape

So in the last two weeks we’ve seen the launch of Apple Pay and the separation of PayPal and Ebay. Moving away from the ‘do consumers buy online’ argument, seems appropriate more than ever as we know that they do - albeit they appreciate convenient choice offline too.

Let us not forget that Apple Pay is not anything new, in fact similar services have been available for some time, including Samsung Pay, Google Wallet & Barclays bPay. So why do we care about Apple Pay so much - well it is probably two things most notably - partnerships and wearable technology. From a partnerships perspective - the ability to use TFL services in particular is a major coup - and one that will no doubt be followed in major global cities in the months to come.

For a long time now, retail marketers have long wanted to establish credibility between them and the Apple brand, linking through association and connectivity of ease in buying product. The consumer’s expectations have arisen so much through digital connectivity in recent years that the ability to expedite any process from wanting an item to receiving it. The rise of same-day delivery in major cities highlights this, we are growing up as a wanting and demanding society and each time your competitor raises the bar, you must react.

We know from building e-commerce and m-commerce sites for multiple clients that understanding the design dynamics of seeing product options and large images plays a significant factor in basket addition. In addition to this, the ability in being able to enter shipping details with minimal fuss to complete the transaction is an absolute must as competition is fierce. Only this week have we seen Argos be the first company to break the 1bn figure of m-commerce sales, but what we don’t know is if that has been at a loss of its brick and mortar stores and if that makes them increasingly sustainable.

As we see the rise in more people purchase through mobile in a variety of locations as 4G networks make the experience more seamless, again we will see the desire and appetite for interconnectivity within the shopping experiences that we have. For brands that solely operate online - this may be less of an issue, but for those that have both offline and online touchpoints, the integration of both will be essential to drive customer retention. Starbucks have already proven how successful this tactic can be.

Interestingly, it is Amazon that are arguably leading the way of this where they have created a subscription model for the items that we buy on a regular basis - being delivered as your stocks run out dependent on usage. As we see the rise of technology in the home place with smart devices, it won’t be long before your shopping determines your next shopping list and it is sat waiting for you upon your return home from being out doing fun stuff! Furthermore than this, Amazon are also pushing their Alexa service, the super-intelligent personal assistant that always directs you and your needs via its store.

With PayPal’s entrance on Nasdaq at a higher point than many had anticipated, their much lauded decision to split is seemingly a smart one (whoever may have instigated the move!) Add into the mix that PayPal will now go direct in competition with Apple Pay for the mobile pay market will hopefully benefit consumers in the long run. Their partnership with Shell and being able to pay at the pump through PayPal is a prime example of the demands driven by the consumer for efficiency.

We know that mobile technology is transforming payments - both in ease and safety and their is real appetite for it and this growth will happen at rapid pace and one that we are always wanting to assist our clients with to make the correct choices in how they engage with their customers at every touchpoint.

The battle of PayPal v Apple Pay and the other competing services will most likely come down to devices. Is it foreseeable that a PayPal app will not be allowed on the AppStore in years to come? In a nutshell, there is more to this than meets the eye. Apple for quite some time have been focused on their own ecosystem and Apple Pay now sits in the very core of it, whereas for everyone else it is about having an independent platform that will work across a multitude of clients.