The announcement that Apple Pay would be extending to the UK in July 2015 created a buzz of excitement in the technology and payments world.
Apple claims the new product will enable consumers to substitute their existing bank card and use their iPhone 6, 6 Plus or Apple Watch instead.
In practical terms, this means users can pay by simply holding their device near a payment terminal in-store and authenticating the purchase with their Touch ID.
Even purchasing on a mobile device is made simpler by enabling consumers to pay and authenticate with their fingerprint or passcode without having to enter their card number or leave the app.
Adding this new functionality to the device that most consumers have on their person at all times is incredibly convenient. But what does Apple Pay offer to brands and consumers beyond just another way to pay?
This is more than just a standard proof of purchase. Customers who adopt new digital payment systems are much more likely to embrace a digital proof of purchase too, offering businesses an opportunity to continue to engage with them.
For example, within an e-receipt brands can safely use up to 20% of the available space on an e-receipt for promotional content – whether that’s inviting consumers to interact on social channels, offering them promotions or other items they might like is up to the brand.
New era for loyalty
As well as allowing people to pay with their mobile phone, Apple Pay is part of the new generation of m-payments services that will incorporate loyalty programmes.
With Passbook being renamed as simply ‘Wallet’ in the latest iOS 9 update, users can now link their bank cards and loyalty programmes on their smartphone.
This not only allows consumers to ditch some of the cards they currently carry around, but also helps retailers to better understand the consumer to increase customer retention and brand advocacy – ultimately influencing customer lifetime value.
Improving in-app purchase experience
Apple has simplified in-app purchasing by allowing consumers to make a purchase with a fingerprint, and reports suggest that iOS developers have already seen checkout rates more than double for applications that include an Apple Pay option.
For brands, this is an opportunity to streamline the purchase experience for the increasing number of people that shop on their mobile.
Mobile social commerce
As well as streamlining in-app purchases, Apple is reportedly working with Pinterest on what has been described as ‘Buyable Pins’.
Will this be the way to monetise the image-based social network? We’ll have to see, but it’s interesting that Apple Pay will be a part of social commerce.
For marketers that use Pinterest already, this could be an interesting option to create ROI from their social media activity.
Much has been about the benefits of Apple Pay. Those brands who look beyond m-payments as a simple means of facilitating payments can seize the opportunity to effectively connect their online and offline marketing in order to enhance customer experience and drive revenue.