The different faces of success that mobile payments can have in the US

Until now, many leaders in the mobile payments industry in the U.S thought that they had the requirements for success figured out. However, it is high time that experts start using a better measurement system to evaluate the success of mobile payments. Why? The definition of what makes mobile payments successful and when does it occur has been constantly changing over the years.


Panelists meet to discuss the success of mobile payments

The sixth annual Money20/20 conference took place on a Monday in Las Vegas and contained various important discussions on the mobile payments industry. One of the most noteworthy points of discussion in this conference revolved around the success of mobile payments, its requirements and the aims of merchants.

What do consumers and merchants expect from mobile payments?

Currently, it seems to be that many people are more interested in predicting in which year would mobile payments be widely adopted in the U.S. However, panelists believe that this is a running joke and that instead, executives should concentrate on a different criteria altogether, “What does success for mobile payments look like for certain consumer or merchant segments?”.

Walmart has a successful mobile payment method with Walmart Pay

Karla Allen, the senior director of Walmart’s mobile wallets said to one of the attendees, “There are a variety of experiences you can build that you can find success in”. Indeed, this statement proves the success that Allen has helped built for Walmart. In late 2015, Walmart Pay was launched by Walmart, the world’s largest retailer and gained a larger rollout in 2016.

Walmart Pay is used over and over again by customers

Walmart Pay acquired the trust of many users ever since it was launched. In his keynote speech during the annual Mobile Customer Experience Summit (which is partly produced by Mobile Payments Today), the senior vice president of Walmart Services, Daniel Eckert stated several figures to show the success that Walmart had with mobile payments. Within the first six months itself, it is estimated that four out of five (that is 80%) customers were already recommending Walmart Pay to other users. In addition, almost 90% of Walmart’s customers were repeated users who used this service over and over again.

What constitutes the success of Walmart?

According to Allen, the success of Walmart can be viewed to a major part due to the “repeat use cases”. This included continued use of Walmart Pay at the physical point-of-sale by consumers. It also involved consumers using the mobile web to browse for items, purchasing products online and picking up their orders at a physical location. Allen also adds that “We’re adding value that ends in payments but it’s not necessarily about payments. Those kinds of services make a customer want to use mobile.”

Restaurants thrive on mobile orders

Another topic that was widely discussed among panelists at the conference was the importance of mobile orders and payments that have been recently on the rise with restaurants. The last 18 months have been particularly benefiting for food outlet owners who decided to use a mobile payment app to attract their customers. In fact, the mobile payments industry is very familiar with the success that major food brands such as Domino’s, Starbucks or Panera have had with mobile orders.

Tom Poole, the senior vice president of digital payments and identity at Capital One also shared his opinion with the attendees, “[Mobile ordering] is going to be an enormous explosion and [brands will] find this incremental demand [for it] from their customers. That [feature] is going to expand everywhere because [of the revenue potential]”.

The progress of mobile payments is slow

In fact, the general feeling that one can get from the mobile payments industry is that progress is being made rather slowly in some areas, especially due to the nature of mobile payments. This is one of the most familiar and frequent ironies that are often talked about at such conferences.

Poole provides more explanation on the causes behind this slow progress, “Payments work at a glacial pace because there are many different factors at play. You are seeing few glimmers and signs that things are progressing. Merchants have found ways to deliver value in the store with their own wallets and apps. There is steady growth at the point of sale, but not a true inflection there.”

Mobile payments work great for transits

Another area where mobile payments have had a lot of success is transit. According to Erik Vlugt, the vice president of product management at Cubic Transportation Systems, his company is actively involved in ” helping transit agencies deploy open-loop payment systems in major metropolitan areas such as Chicago and London”.

Vlugt further adds that it is of utmost importance to provide every consumer with access and the ability to pay for transit fees using a mobile wallet, “As long as we can derive the value for consumers, then it makes sense”. Using mobile wallets to pay for their transit fees not only makes the process easier but quicker. With so many travelers out there, the mobile payment industry has become a blessing in facilitating and speeding up things for workers and individuals who have a busy life.

Adopting mobile payments at a higher rate

In the event of such a success for the mobile payments industry, various providers such as Google have noticed that such transit initiative is an ideal way of initiating consumers towards adopting mobile payments at a higher rate. In addition, it will also encourage consumers to use their mobile wallets over and over again, which is handier for those who do not like carrying a lot of cash on them.

The director of emerging platforms for Google, Spencer Spinnell highlighted more particularly the success of mobile payments in London. He says, “We’re quite happy with the progress we’re making when the right consumer use case is there. A great example is a transit in the U.K.”

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