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Apple Pay and eCommerce: 5 Questions Answered

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Imagine enabling your customers to buy online without even visiting a checkout – or enabling first time visitors to make a purchase without needing to register or enter card and address details.

This is a future that Apple Pay makes possible – but it’s also a future that throws up plenty of questions. We’ve taken a few minutes to answer five of the most common questions here:

1. Isn’t Apple Pay an in-store technology?

It’s true that Apple Pay has until now been focused on enabling shoppers to use their iPhones to complete contactless payments in-store (though it can also be used to make in-app purchases without entering card details).

However, last year Apple announced plans to allow shoppers to use Apple Pay – in combination with Touch ID authentication – to pay for online purchases via their Apple accounts. In essence, the service will enable one touch purchasing wherever a website displays a ‘Pay with Apple Pay’ icon.

2. When will Apple Pay be available for eCommerce sites?

Apple Pay is not yet widely available as an online payment option, but it is coming. In fact some stores – notably Apple’s own online store – are already offering a slick and seamless purchasing experience for visitors using iPhones or iPads with Touch ID – or those using Safari on a Mac running Sierra.

3. How does Apple Pay help me cater for mobile users?

Apple Pay completely changes the customer journey – and this is good news for anyone wrestling with lower conversion rates from mobile traffic.

The Apple Pay icon can be added anywhere on a website, including product details and listings pages. That spells the end for a linear journey – through listings and product details pages, basket and checkout – that has proven so cumbersome and off-putting for many mobile users.

Instead, iPhone or iPad users can buy products with a single tap, from any page that features the Apple Pay icon, then authenticate the purchase directly on the same device using Touch ID. It’s intuitive, instant and native to the device – basically frictionless and therefore the exact opposite of many existing mobile checkout experiences.

4. Will Apple Pay help improve conversion rates?

In theory, that simpler journey will help with mobile conversion – but Apple Pay should really help with converting new customers too. Users only have to register their details once – with the app itself, so all those visitors who saw something cool while browsing, but were put off by having to enter their address and card details again, are more likely to purchase.

The signs are good in practice too. Early adopters have reported conversion rates doubling, with mobile traffic benefiting in particular.

5. Will Apple Pay help me optimise the customer experience?

Optimising the customer experience involves increasing the motivation to purchase, and simplifying the digital journey. By almost completely removing the barriers to completing payment, Apple Pay offers a huge leap forward for simplification, leaving more time to focus on increasing motivation – by delivering great content and experiences.

Think about it. What would your site look like if resources and time did not have to be committed to designing, maintaining and troubleshooting a checkout process? What new content or fresh user flows could you put in place instead? And, crucially, how much better will it be for shoppers?

The future may not be Apple – after all Android Pay and PayPal One Touch offer similar solutions – but it will certainly be interesting.