by Paul Marcantonio (Head of UK/Western Europe at ECOMMPAY)
Over the past decade, the world has witnessed a bona fide revolution – a mobile revolution, that is. It’s had a massive impact on the eCommerce industry, with new generations of consumers tapping and swiping for anything and everything in greater numbers than ever before. The skyrocketing mobile browsing rate has heralded the advent of innovative new mobile payment technologies – not to mention the proliferation of an app ecosystem more diverse than the rainforests themselves. In essence, it’s looking like a mobile paradise.
Entry into this mobile paradise isn’t readily available to just anyone, though. It’s not going to be smooth progress for online companies lacking the right technology – or the expertise to back it up. Joining the mobile revolution can be a pretty bumpy road, and unprepared merchants are already starting to find themselves left behind.
Perhaps the most pressing issue facing would-be mobile revolutionaries is simple (or sometimes not-so-simple) website modernisation. Altering creaky old websites to adapt to mobile screens is a task that sounds easy in theory, but in practise can be anything but. Nevertheless, adapting forward-facing website pages, and especially the payment page, to work seamlessly with mobile devices is one of the most surefire moves a business can undertake to boost their conversion among generations of customers that are doing more and more of their daily window shopping via phone and tablet screens. With mobile devices predicted to drive an incredible 80% of global internet usage in the near future, having a site that’s not optimised for mobile browsing is becoming increasingly untenable for companies hoping to carve a space for themselves in eCommerce.
There’s also the matter of the new types of payments that the mobile explosion has conceived. In Asia, payment apps like WeChat Pay and Alipay have virtually abolished cash transactions in some countries, while direct carrier billing is expected to see revenues of nearly USD 25 billion next year. There’s also SMS payments, eWallets, mobile web payments, NFC payments, QR codes, and a whole host of innovative new technologies perpetually in development. Online merchants need to be able to adeptly manage the most popular payment methods of the areas in which they operate. That means an awareness of customers’ preferred payment options, plus the resources and know how to deal with them. That’s a lot of responsibility for modern businesses, and all because of the humble mobile phone. Apparently, these things can also make calls.
So how can an eCommerce business join the ranks of the mobile-conscious and technologically advanced? Simply put, through strategic partnerships. Payment service providers possess tech that they can frictionlessly integrate with a client’s website, allowing the latter to accept and process payments from a near-endless array of methods through an intuitive, clean interface. In 2019, that interface has to be omnichannel-equipped, able to deal with customers approaching from a desktop, mobile, or something else (or some combination of all three) without breaking a sweat. Working in tandem with the client, an experienced payment service provider should also be able to customise the user interface to the aesthetic of the merchant’s website without sacrificing user experience. More than that, they’re able to provide their clients and that client’s customers with a payment experience that is both simple and secure, zipping card data (or Alipay data, or eWallet data, or…you get the idea) around the internet in a way that doesn’t let more nefarious types get their hands on it. PCI DSS certification, paired with solutions like card data tokenisation and 256-bit encryption, means good providers will be immediately able to handle sensitive data, which enables your customers to pay you quickly, simply, and securely. Not a bad arrangement, all things considered.
Mobile is here. In fact, that’s a dramatic understatement; mobile has moved in, put its feet up and started paying rent, and businesses that aren’t able to accommodate it are bound to be left behind as the trend continues. Companies that can adapt to the tectonic shift that mobile has produced, however, stand to reap some fairly enormous benefits. That doesn’t quite mean a company can just make the adjustments necessary to handle mobile browsing as it stands right now and be done with it, though. As mobile use grows, mobile innovation grows with it, and operators need to be able to adapt to the changes and trends that innovation brings as they happen, if not before. It’s impossible to tell what the industry-changing trends of the years to come will be, but the stats tell us clearly that they’re going to come from mobile devices, and history shows they’re liable to quickly explode rather than grow slowly. A strong partnership, built on experience, expertise and adaptable tech, is the best way to roll with those changes as they come.