PayArc: ‘The Mad Grab for Mobile’

By Jared Ronski, Principal at PayArc.

Perhaps the worst kept secret in retail is that mobile commerce has officially arrived, and stands to have an increasingly significant impact going forward (see infographic). What is less obvious for merchants, however, and often creates conflicting opinions that result in fruitless executions, is how best to optimize their online enterprises for this dynamic shift in consumer behavior.

A simple Google search for best practices in m-commerce will yield thousands of articles, reports and e-books, and a thousand times more “can’t-fail” mobile marketing strategies. The noise can be deafening, especially for smaller merchants who lack the resources to be on a continuous search for the next right solution.

For them, every decision and investment toward mobile had better produce positive results or they are putting their businesses at risk. With that in mind, we have provided answers to three frequently asked questions from mobile-curious merchants to help them succeed on the first attempt.

Do I Need an App to be Successful in Mobile?
It depends on the specifics of your business and your commitment to winning in mobile but, generally, the answer is a resounding “Yes.” The vast majority of consumers’ time spent on their mobile devices is inside mobile applications, which have become the most popular and effective way for brands to increase their visibility and promote customer engagement.

In the earliest days of mobile app development, they were costly and time-consuming to build, making them prohibitive to all but the biggest, most established brands in retail. That’s all changed, however, and apps are not only readily available to any merchant but are more or less a necessity to truly succeed in today’s increasingly mobile world. The key, of course, is developing one that fits your business model and one that customers will find useful, personal, inspiring and easy to use.

There are countless quality vendors in the mobile space available to assist merchants in the conceptualization, development and implementation of apps, so the heaviest lifting on the brand’s part should not exceed solid research and asking the right questions. But with Forrester projecting m-commerce sales through apps to increase by a compound growth rate (CAGR) of 20.3 percent by 2021, there is no better time than now to dive headfirst into the app-building pool.

Does a Mobile App Require its Own Payment Gateway?
Again, a resounding “Yes,” unless you want to try to force a one-size-fits-all solution into place that will prevent you from capturing all the benefits of a mobile app. A seamless, secure mobile app payment gateway is essential to achieving optimal success in mobile, as consumers are less likely and less able to punch in long strings of payment card numbers on their smaller devices – but they value the promise of secure transactions more highly as a result.

Second to security in a mobile app payment gateway, in the eyes of consumers, is convenience at checkout. One-click purchase capabilities are all but essential in mobile today. Shoppers are often willing to share their user information to complete a registration form on a desktop or laptop computer where it’s more convenient, but only with the reward of being able to then purchase more quickly and conveniently on their mobile devices.

Many ecommerce payments processors are also experts in the mobile space, and many others are not. So if your current provider is well versed in mobile app gateways, then you should be ready for development and deployment in a matter of days. If that appears not to be the case, it may be time to find a new partner or partners.

What Matters Most in a Mobile App Payment Gateway?
There are actually six areas of consideration, and we briefly touched on two of them in the section above. Security may be the most important area of consideration when developing a mobile app payment gateway, so be sure that your provider is able to guarantee the required PCI-DSS compliance as well as fraud-protection features such as data encryption, tokenization, address verification, card code verification, real-time fraud alerts and more.

Ease of use for customers, as mentioned in the previous section, falls under the technological considerations, which may also include, plug-ins, custom forms, ease of integration, the presence of iOS, Android and/or Windows support, social media platforms and more. Additional areas of consideration should include your business model, the app payment gateway’s level of customer support, the pricing model, and the provider’s contractual terms and terms of service.

With regard to your business model, consider what types of payments your mobile app payment gateway will need to accept, what types of currencies and from which countries, they payment models that will best suit your business, and what level of customization you will require. The level of customer support you choose will likely affect the provider’s pricing model, but it’s generally not an area to be neglected to achieve true success. The contractual terms and terms of service are whatever you’re comfortable with, but it’s often a wise idea to invest in some legal consultation before signing on the dotted line.

The mobile landscape is a little bit like the Wild West right now: expansive, intimidating and full of opportunity. But with the right information and the right partners, it’s a territory that every merchant can finally feel confident about exploring and ultimately conquering.

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