David Nunn, Head of Braintree Europe
The shift from coins and notes to digital has signalled a massive upheaval in consumer expectation. Where once I might have reconciled myself to withdrawing cash in working hours, or buying goods from the stores in our local town, the ability to pay whenever and wherever we like has completely turned this convention on its head.
Once upon a time I might have even been worried by the ease with which I spent my money online. However, much like easier and more available banking stopped us hiding money under the mattress, the convenience and security of one click, tap or swipe purchasing has removed such doubts.
The world has become so much more accessible over the past ten years. There are no borders on the internet, no opening hours. Online and mobile has made digital payments and access to financial services possible for a new and larger population of previously unconnected individuals.
The biggest change has been in attitude. There’s now this expectation that buying is something we do on our terms – how, when, where and in whatever format we like. This behaviour isn’t just for the much discussed ‘Millennials’ – people either side of that generational band are making the same shift.
Mobile has been the biggest driver of that change. Mobile payments continue to reach new heights. The smartphone wars have started over digital wallets, and Google says that more than 50 per cent of search traffic comes from mobile devices. We’ve got the world in our pocket and that kind of ease and ‘always on’ connectivity has set the bar for every other experience.
Some merchants seem to understand exactly how consumers are wired – building slick experiences that match up exactly to how we want to act. But despite smartphones being part of the furniture, I’m always shocked by how often mobile commerce experiences fall short.
Retail experiences begin and end on mobile these days. From the initial moment of discovery on social or email, the moment you decide to make payment, and even how the transaction continues post-purchase, like an Instagram post of your new buy. Retailers need to make sure they’re dismantling every barrier that compromises convenience, trust and sharing.
Currently mobile purchasing is just littered with obstacles. A lot of merchants are still trying to squeeze their entire online store down to fit onto a smartphone, instead of thinking about the behaviours that are important when a consumer is using his or her mobile. 93% of people who use mobile to research go on to complete a purchase of a product or service – we need to make it easy to convert that intent.
If you’re on a bus trying to buy something, you don’t want to tap in your credit card details whilst someone peers over your shoulder. Or if you’ve searched for an item, you don’t want to have to go through ten different pages to finally buy it. Or say you’re price checking in a store – if that was synced up with instore systems, a sale conversion could be an SMS message away.
Mobile should be as simple as possible – reducing the number of clicks, swipes and above all typing anyone has to do. The best make sure they take what they already know about their customer. They synchronise accounts with other channels to make sure the end user doesn’t have to laboriously retype details and personalise content to make the most of that small screen.
As consumers spend more time engaging online, whether that’s inside social and messaging apps, or in marketplaces, merchants need to adapt to how this changes expectations and behaviours. Connecting merchants and consumers directly within those experiences, within context, is a massive opportunity, particularly on mobile devices.
Now that immediacy is the norm, contextual commerce is the next great behavioural shift for retailers. Giving the user the ability to make a purchase when their intent heightens.
The pace of change in payment innovation is constant but in-experience and context aware routes to buy are absolutely the future. This will change everything.
David Nunn is the head of Braintree Europe, a team he’s built and led since 2013. He is passionate about company culture, payments optimisation, and finding solutions to power businesses’ growth. David is responsible for Braintree’s growth across 39 European markets. Braintree is an industry leading online and mobile full service payments platform powering the best-in-class next-generation purchasing experiences.
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