Mobile Payments Today: September's top reads
Almost a year after it was first announced, Zelle still remains a conversation starter in the industry.
At least that was the case on Mobile Payments Today in September. Two separate articles about the P2P service topped the charts among this site's readers.
Mike Derins, CEO of the Archer Group, wrote a contributed piece about banks are keeping up with millennials in the era of Venmo.
"Zelle is not meant to be a Venmo rip-off, grafted onto an existing mobile infrastructure," he wrote. "It should be a fully integrated feature that feels and works like an authentic extension of the experience."
I wrote the other piece about Zelle based on a consumer panel at last month's Bank Customer Experience in Chicago.
I was surprised that most of the consumers on the panel had heard of and actually used Zelle to make mobile P2P payments. Those revelations made me wonder if Zelle had found a groove with consumers over Venmo.
Rounding out the top five stories in September are pieces about in-app Apple Pay acceptance; and a recap of a panel about chatbots from the fourth annual CONNECT: the Mobile CX Summit about Amazon Go; and Subway's redesigned stores that rely on self-service for orders.
5. "Merchants miss the mark with in-app Apple Pay acceptance": While the use of Apple Pay in mobile apps isn't a new concept, most retailers, especially in the SMB and mid-market world haven't taken advantage of its conversion advantages.
While the use of Apple Pay in mobile apps isn't a new concept, most retailers, especially in the SMB and mid-market world haven't taken advantage of its conversion advantages.
For consumers, consider the difference between having to manually enter their credit card and billing information during checkout on a 5-inch screen, versus holding their thumb on a button for a moment. Realistically, it might only save a couple of minutes, but the ease of use has huge implications in the world of mobile payments and abandoned carts.
Apple Pay is still relatively non-existent on mobile web, which is seriously detrimental to the conversion rates for online retailers without an app. When you consider that mobile commerce will make up nearly 50 percent of all e-commerce by 2020, one-touch payments are more important for online retailers than ever before.
4. "Chatbots emerging as a commerce channel, but work remains to perfect the tech": There's no denying the discussions happening today about chatbots. They include chatter about artificial intelligence, conversational commerce and voice assistants such as Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri.
Ted Livingston, co-founder and CEO of messaging app Kik, has made some profound statements over the past few years about the future of services like the one he helped start in 2009.
As messaging platforms such as Kik, Facebook Messenger and WeChat have become more popular in recent years, Livingston has turned his attention to a growing feature within those services: the chatbot, a virtual assistant consumers use to complete simple tasks.
"Chat is going to be the next great operating system," Livingston wrote in a Medium post last year. "Apps will come to be thought of as the new browsers; bots will be the new websites. This is the beginning of a new internet."
Whether Livingston's words are prophetic or a way to hype Kik's importance among messaging services remains to be seen. But there's no denying the discussions happening today about chatbots. They include chatter about artificial intelligence, conversational commerce and voice assistants such as Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri.
So, what exactly are we to make of chatbots in 2017?
3. "Mobile, self-service kiosks play key role in Subway's redesigned stores": By deploying its "Fresh Forward" concept, Subway has recognized the need to make ordering more convenient in addition to continuing its emphasis on freshness.
With its new look, dubbed "Fresh Forward," Subway has gone "high tech." The redesign, now being rolled out to stores nationwide, makes it easier for customers to order and pay for food, thanks in large measure to the new self-order kiosks.
"The kiosks introduce another channel for tech-savvy guests to engage with the brand and needed to feel integrated into the customer journey," Robyn Novak, vice president and creative managing director for FRCH Design Worldwide, told Kiosk Marketplace. Subway hired Novak's firm to create the new store look.
The restaurant's physical space was revamped to enable a seamless guest experience with kiosk ordering, dedicated pick-up and carry-out.
Additional conveniences include a bot for Messenger orders, USB charging ports and complementary Wi-Fi.
2. "Is Zelle finding a groove with bank customers over Venmo?": It was a small sample size, but participants at a consumer panel at last week's Bank Customer Experience Summit in Chicago revealed their preferences for mobile P2P services.
I couldn't believe what I was hearing from this group.
You never know what you're going to get from consumers invited to a conference to share their views about banking, payments and shopping habits. The best part about these panels is that the participants are brutally honest about their experiences, bad and good.
The reason this particular panel caused me to be shake my head in disbelief was because some of them had heard of and actually used something I've criticized over the last 12 months: Zelle.
1. "How banks are keeping up with Venmo in attracting millennials": Designers and developers need to consider how Zelle fits within, and complements, the bank in question’s digital experience.
"I'll Venmo you for that."
Venmo has become so omnipresent, it's now a verb.
In the course of just a couple years, peer-to-peer (P2P) banking has gone mainstream. In 2016, users exchanged more than $17 billion over Venmo alone. PayPal, Venmo, Square Cash and the like aren't merely apps; they've introduced an entirely new way of exchanging money that could eventually replace cash. The new wave is already in motion. We’'re carrying fewer bills than ever—particularly millennials, 64 percent of whom report preferring to use cards over cash, even for purchases of $5 or less.
Zelle joined the fray in 2016 as the big banks' answer to P2P mobile payments. It's not a standalone app, but rather a ready-made platform banks can build into their existing apps. Customers can send and receive funds within minutes, and all they need to know is the phone number or email address of the recipient or sender.
Topics: In-App Payments
Will Hernandez has 14 years of experience ranging from newspapers to wire services and trade publications. Before becoming Editor of MobilePaymentsToday.com, he spent two years as the content manager for PaymentsJournal.com, a leading payments industry news aggregator and information hub published by Mercator Advisory Group. Will spent four years covering the payments industry as an associate editor for multiple publications in SourceMedia's Payments Group based in Chicago.