Apple Pay could change the face of digital advertising


Digital media has long provided retailers and advertisers a way to encourage users to “add to basket” directly from advertisements, pushing consumers further and further down the purchase funnel.

The beauty of this is that each interaction and eventual purchase can be tracked, therefore impacting future campaign planning and optimisation.

The introduction of mobile into the channel mix, not just for in-store research but also long-anticipated conversion payments through mobile, could spell a huge shift in retail and, therefore, the advertising industry.

The launch of the Apple iPhone 6 and Apple Watch could result in the biggest shift in consumer behaviour to date, as these new devices include Apple Pay. The inclusion of near field communication (NFC) in the devices is likely to boost the mobile payments sector, which so far has not had a huge impact despite the fact that Android, Windows, and Blackberry smartphones have the technology.

Apple has created a secure and simple way for consumers to use their credit card details through their phones. Where other companies have been unsuccessful in this area, Apple has introduced a characteristically simple solution by partnering with Visa and MasterCard using the security of a finger print scan. This is likely to encourage consumer trust and could transform retail payment.

What could this mean for advertisers? With an easier purchase journey, consumers are more likely to make purchase decisions quicker – after all, the role of advertising is to give consumers a rational reason for an irrational purchase. Being present at the point of purchase is essential to encourage users to convert.

As is often the case with mobile, social will also play a part in the channel mix, with consumers now able to buy through Twitter, which has announced its first commerce product.

Consumers are increasingly becoming more perceptive to completing their purchases via mobile platforms and in less traditional environments. Capitalising on this could not only grow mobile channels for advertisers but also overall by appealing to early adopters and essentially the future mobile world.

Retailers themselves are also (finally) realising the importance of mobile in the consumer journey, and, rather than being afraid that consumers will purchase online after researching (53% of consumers make price comparisons in store), those that embrace mobile are likely to succeed.

One example of a retailer truly embracing mobile is U.K. grocer Waitrose. The recent installation of iBeacons in its stores is one example. These small, wireless, Bluetooth-enabled sensors created by Apple recognise when a smartphone is nearby and allow Waitrose to transmit special promotions, coupons, and recommendations to shoppers as they walk around the store.

Brands are also embracing iBeacons by enabling Bluetooth in products, which enables them to reach a consumer at that key point of purchase. Waitrose also is embracing mobile payment through its QikServe app, where it is likely to introduce PayPal so consumers can use the app to order and pay for food and drink within its stores.

This means that a consumer can order and pay for a smoothie, for example, using his smartphone on the way to the store, and the smoothie will be ready to pick up upon arrival alongside a picture of the consumer so that Waitrose staff can recognise him.

These are just a few of the vast developments in mobile that have meant consumers both engage with retailers and are increasingly likely to pay via their mobiles.

There are so many different technologies available, from NFC and iBeacons to QR codes. Despite this fragmentation of technology in the market, consumers are adopting quickly as mobile is increasingly a necessary part of their everyday lives.

Being present at every stage is important for brands to eventually have an impact at the ever-quicker point of purchase.

This is the closest we have been to tying up the whole channel end to end, but also influencing at different stages. Could this be the “holy grail” for advertisers in the mobile space?

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