Around a third of consumer brands will integrate mobile payments into their customer facing mobile apps, Gartner has predicted.
Doing so will move mobile applications from being simply a marketing channel to a transactional sales channel.
“Brands need to help consumers make purchasing decisions in an efficient and personalised way," said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner. "Branded apps should be good shopping apps in the first place, and payment is only the final step before making the sale.”
Companies that have already integrated payment functionality into the mobile apps include Apple. Using the Apple Store app on iOS, users worldwide can browse the company’s products and sign in to their Apple account to personalise products that they purchase.
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By using the the app’s ‘EasyPay’ feature, customers in Apple’s retail outlets can also scan a physical product’s barcode using their mobile phone’s camera to complete the transaction from within the app, rather than at the store’s point-of-sale terminal, before leaving the store with the item.
In the UK, coffee chain Starbucks allows customers use its own-branded app to pay for goods in-store. Instead of presenting a physical Starbucks Card, the app lets customers to scan a barcode on their iPhone or Android device that is linked to it, which when scanned deducts funds from the users’ pre-paid Starbucks account. The app also provides additional features such as tracking rewards and providing directions to local stores.
Branded companies’ apps will have to compete with aggregator apps in terms of richness of offering and user experience, Gartner said, and only those that deliver “compelling value and user experience” will last.
Gartner said consumers may prefer to use an aggregator app instead of shopping directly from the merchants’ own apps to access multiple brands and offers, or specialist apps dealing with location information, promotional offers and travel.