Whilst mobile wallets is more widespread now than when I first started holding our annual Mobile Money Wallet Summits, but by no means prevalent in our everyday life yet, Apple Pay has managed to gain quite an impressive uptake no small part due to the might of the Apple brand and the fact it’s one of most admired companies in the world when it comes to launching cutting edge products. Even though it hasn’t gained instant hit status that you have come to expect from an Apple product launch, nevertheless, no other company arguably apart from Square has come remotely close in gaining such an extensive following with its new mobile payments offering.
The proof of Apple Pay’s NFC payment success was obvious just a month after its initial release. Previously, lingos such as NFC, contact less,mobile payments or mobile wallets were confined to people working in the payments and the wider financial community, however with Apple Pay’s launch, obscure terminology was elevated to the mass and in turn educating people about the benefits of mobile commerce. As with any Apple product launches, the public quickly jumped on to the bandwagon eagerly embracing the new mobile payment system which in comparison is relatively easy to master, not too clunky with its slick systems and user interface. Companies like Walgreens and McDonald’s both stated that 50% or more of their contact less payments were via Apple Pay and Whole Foods reported that they have made more than 150,000 mobile payments through Apple Pay. Many other big brands also supported Apple Pay, including Toys R Us, Nike, Macy’s, Sephora, Panera Bread, Disney, Subway, PETCO, Staples, etc. Also, more than 500 banks and financial institutions have also supported Apple Pay into its foray into mobile payments.
More importantly how did it take a technology giant like Apple to make a success of it whereas previously so many payments and financial institutions have failed to launch a competitive mobile payment offering?
Many reasons can explain this; however some of the main reasons include trust and dominance of the technology brands in our everyday life such as Google, Facebook, even though technology companies have and will continue to have its fair share of critics in terms addressing privacy concerns, this has had a far less impact to its brand cache then the scandals which have dominated the financial sector in recent years. For some, the first thing you think of when you mention an international bank are, fines, overcharging, investigations, rigging, scandals-you get my drift.
A culture of ‘product is king’ in technology companies and its obsession with delivering the most user friendly product to the market place combined with almost pedantic product tweaks will put most banks to shame. Most financial institutions and banks still run outdated legacy technology systems, where patching up existing technology is more prevalent than utilizing the latest agile methodology and exploiting the latest big data ideas to gleam more incisive insights over customer’s behavior thus able to tweak the product better to user’s expectations and overall satisfaction.
By far the most compelling reason why technology companies will dominate mobile payments is often misunderstood, underestimated and by far the hardest to execute in business and that is ‘culture’. More specifically, a culture of speed, a culture of change, culture of innovation, culture of risk taking, culture of digital, culture of execution, whilst I’m am not implying that every technology companies in the world has all these characteristics or conversely every bank has none of the mentioned, what I am saying is that some of the above characteristics is embedded in the DNA of a good technology firm’s foundation. In a world where change and ‘digitalizing of the world’ is moving at light speed, having those characteristics will give a company a sizeable advantage over its competitors. Furthermore if a company wishes to completely diversify away from its core business like the case with Apple with its mobile payment offering Apple Pay, it will stand a better chance of success by adopting or changing some of its cultural DNA to that of technology companies which by no means an easy feat but essential to ensure the survival of a company.
Clearly technology companies have won the war for the dominance of mobile money and mobile payments already, companies such as Apple, Facebook, PayPal, Google, Amazon and Alibaba will continue to remain the poster boys of the mobile payments industry. Banks and other companies such as telecom operators who want a piece of this lucrative mobile payment ecosystem had better raise their game not only technically but culturally as well.
I am organising the next conference in London on mobile payment, if you are interested in learning more about the latest trends and innovations in mobile payments and how it’s affecting your business, please join me at Mobile Money Wallet Summit 2015 Europe where experts will debate the hottest mobile payment, mobile wallet and mobile money issues.
About Us – Mobile Money Wallet Summit Europe 2015
We are delighted to welcome you to Mobile Money & Wallet Summit 2015. Now in its third year, the annual conference is packed with experts from the mobile ecosystem to discuss the hottest trends and topics. Mobile Money & Wallet Summit 2015 is the industry’s ‘must attend’ event of the year. With mobile money, mobile payments and mobile wallet phenomenal growth and adoption, it will quickly become the primary way to make transactions. From mobile commerce to mobile banking, mobile payment to mobile wallet – there has never been a more exciting or optimum time to scale or launch your mobile money initiative. http://www.mmwsummit.com