COMMENTARY

Kagan: Mobile pay apps not created equal

April 4, 2017 | by Jeff KAGAN

Photo source: iStock.com

So, you have been watching the exploding mobile pay market. As a user or an executive, you wonder what's the difference between different systems and apps. There are so many differences it can make your head spin. If you are an executive, you must sort through all the choices trying to decide which to use. If you are a customer, you have no choice, but you like some more than others. So, let's take a closer look to help you make the right choice.

The decision on which mobile app to work with is an important decision. Some are sleek. Others are clunky. Some are quick. Others are slow as molasses. There are many items you must choose from, but here is an important something to think about.

The first item on your list should be to find an app your customers prefer. Period. That's because increasingly as mobile pay grows, customers will choose the retailer based on their ease of doing business and paying. And all mobile pay apps are not the same.

Differences in mobile pay apps

Let me explain the differences I have discovered as a user. When I walk into a Sprouts or Trader Joe's grocery store, or a QT gas station, using the mobile pay app is quicker, easier and more sanitary. All you have to do is swipe your phone, press a button on your display, and you are done.

Other similar stores like Racetrack gas station and Whole Foods also use a mobile pay app, but with this, you must press the keypad on their device to authorize the transaction. Suddenly, the sanitary part of the equation goes out of the window.

While that is not important issue to some, it is very important to others. Even President Donald Trump is a germ-o-phobe trying not to shake hands and always using germ killing wipes afterwards.

First, choose mobile pay app system based on what users like

Other systems don't have a reliable mobile pay system at all. There are many stores where sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. And when there are other people in line behind you, there is little time to figure out the problem.

This creates a bad experience for customers. Something that has nothing to do with the store, but still reflects poorly on the overall experience. This can make the difference whether a customer returns or not.

Then there are larger stores who have stayed away so far. Think about your grocery stores, department stores like Target, Walmart, Macy's, Sears and so on. Ultimately, every retailer will have to use these mobile pay apps or they will lose business. Today, we are still early in the game where early users have a competitive advantage.

OmnyPay helps Kohl's strengthen app business

There are also stores that have taken an aggressive, growth oriented path. Look at Kohl's. Their shopping app was terrible. Then they started working with a company called OmnyPay and their results have been better than ever. Often times it takes working with someone who knows what they are doing in a new space.

So, if all mobile pay apps are not created equal, how can you choose the best system for your business? The first item should be, which is best of class in the space from the customer perspective? They are not all the same.

There are a few top companies to consider. They should be the only ones you consider. As time passes and others get better, that list can expand. But for now, choose the friendliest systems first from the user perspective, then from yours. This is a new and confusing sector, so find the right people to help you.


Topics: Consumer Behavior, Customer Experience, Mobile Payments, Mobile Retail, Technology


Jeff KAGAN / Jeff Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, speaker, author and consultant. Over 30 years he has followed the Customer Experience through technology like wireless, wire line, telecom, Internet, cable TV, IPTV, Cloud, AI, Mobile Pay, FinTech and more. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com.
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