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Apple Pay coming to the web won’t be enough to fix your company’s mobile commerce strategy

by Mark Rosner on Oct 5, 2016

If your business doesn’t have a mobile app and suffers high “abandoned cart” rates, you might have breathed a sigh of relief when Apple announced that Apple Pay will officially be supported on the web in the soon-to-be-released iOS 10. As bad as the abandoned shopping cart rates are on desktop sites, those on mobile are even worse because tapping in a credit card number and billing address is more cumbersome on mobile than desktop. Apple Pay already solved this problem in apps by letting users pay with just a quick fingerprint, and now abandoned carts are a thing of the past on the web, too, right?

Not so fast. The promise of Apple Pay on the web, (as it was mostly covered) has a big caveat: it’s only for Safari, Apple’s browser. This makes sense, because Apple needs to control all parts of the financial transaction and authentication, but Safari only accounts for about half of mobile browser usage and just 3.6% of desktop. You’ll still have tons of Android, Windows and desktop users leaving their shopping carts behind because they don’t want to fumble around for a credit card. What does this mean? Apple Pay on the mobile web (Safari) is a nice-to-have, but it won’t save your flawed mobile strategy. Investing in a mobile app for your business matters because you can’t top the frictionless payment and user experience offered by a native app.

The mobile web is slow and can give your brand a bad reputation

The mobile web is just awful. As Nilay Patel, The Verge’s editor in chief, eloquently put it,  “Mobile Safari on my iPhone 6 Plus is a slow, buggy, crashy affair, starved for the phone’s paltry 1GB of memory and unable to rotate from portrait to landscape without suffering an emotional crisis.” He adds that it doesn’t get better on Android:. “Chrome on my various Android devices feels entirely outclassed at times, a country mouse lost in the big city, waiting to be mugged by the first remnant ad with a redirect loop and something to prove.”

Consumer research from Nielsen backs up Patel’s take. People spend about 89% of their time on mobile in apps and just 11% of it on mobile web. Thanks to on-demand-everything, people are more impatient than ever, and mobile web is frustrating and slow. However, when your mobile website is lagging and buggy, users don’t blame the browser. They blame your brand.

Customers may never log in to begin with

Software development studio RedBadger points out many APIs open to apps aren’t open to the web. Your users can’t login with TouchID, you can’t enable GPS, and entering usernames and passwords on mobile is just as frustrating as entering credit card information.

You might have users who don’t abandon shopping carts because they never fill them in the first place. Mobile web can’t cater to the consumer in the same way a mobile app can, and so if you rely exclusively on it, you miss out on users who could turn into customers.

You lose opportunities to keep your customers coming back

When you stick to mobile web, you lose marketing tricks like push notifications, which keep you top of mind with your customers. Localytics found users who opt for push notifications open an app 14.7 times per month on average. Those who don’t open it about 5.4 times.

Users getting push notifications engage nearly 3x compared to those who don’t. If you only have mobile web, you don’t even have a chance at tripling the engagement of some of your customers because you’re missing out on an entire marketing channel.

In reality, you’re lucky if your customers engage with you on mobile at all if you’re only on the mobile web, given Nielsen research that shows apps get about 10x more attention than mobile websites. With an app, you’ll get more attention from consumers and have a better chance at continually bringing them back to the brand.

Apple Pay coming to Safari is still a win. Abandoned shopping cart rates on mobile can be as high as 97%, and Apple Pay fixes that. However, it’s not enough for your company to rely solely on mobile web or the desktop. Doing so creates a bad experience for your brand, you lose out on opportunities to bring your customers back to your business, and some customers might not even log in to begin with due to the cumbersome process. Apps create a better experience and attract more attention and engagement from consumers, and that helps your  company’s bottom line.

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Mark Rosner is AppLovin’s Chief Revenue Officer.

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