Why is shopping on your phone so difficult?
By the end of this year, 2.6 billion mobile phones will initiate more than 50% of all shopping carts. More shopping carts created on mobile phones than computers and tablets combined. That is phenomenal growth in smartphone usage. Shoppers have clearly stated that they like to shop on their phones.
But there is a very serious problem with online smartphone purchases. Tiny keyboards make it very difficult to enter Credit Card, Billing and Shipping information. About 150 keystrokes. Smartphone shopping cart abandonment is around 90%.
People want to shop on their phones, but do not want to enter all that information. A significant gap between what the market wants and what is provided by the eTailers.
One solution is PayPal or various other copycats, which store your credit card number and process your payment after an authentication process. A significant improvement over typing 150 characters on a tiny keyboard. But you enter your email address, on the average 22 characters. Then a password of minimum 8 or 9 characters containing numbers, upper and lower case characters and a symbol, each time changing your keyboard layout. Perhaps you want to be safer and use a longer and safer password. Imagine typing that every time you want to buy something online.
We can do better. Our phones are not only a communication device, but they can be a security device. And a good one at that too. They are much safer than using passwords. Smartphones can become our digital identity, which can automatically authenticate us and make payments for us on our command.
Our phones know who we are. They can authenticate us (I love the Touch ID on my iPhone and the fingerprint reader on Nexus 5x is simply amazing). They can remember our credit cards and shipping addresses. If we have such a capability in our hands, why are we being asked to type 150 characters on tiny keyboards when we buy something? Even though a large majority of shoppers said they are not going to do it? It is so counter intuitive.
Companies involved in mobile payments, aware of this mobile web payment friction, have been struggling to address the void. Making general announcements about their solutions, with very little detail.
Apple Pay for Safari, Apple’s new announcement, is only for shopping on your desktop, won’t help you if you are shopping on your phone. Won’t help you if you prefer Chrome, or use a PC. Mobile Safari in certain cases can detect a payment form and fill in some of the blanks. But this feature did not work even when shopping on Apple’s own Apple.com site. Market acceptance has been less than great.
Android Pay, which does not have a solution today for mobile web payments, is betting on a proposed cross-browser Payment API, a complex undertaking involving multiple standards that will take some time to go through the standards groups. And will require completely new payment app architecture.
Perhaps it is time to shine a light on the truth. There is no good mobile web payment solution in the US today that you can use across different mobile browsers and phones. And none is coming soon. Europe has it. Asia has it. Why don’t we have it in the US?
Technology to pay and checkout on smartphones in seconds exists today, demonstrated by companies like Sekur.Me (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37s3Jzcj7yY). With the switch to EMV, online commerce fraud in the US is up by 50%. Good mobile payments solutions not only offer convenience, but also much better security, a prime tool against fighting fraud as well.
We should be able to purchase without having to type anything. All the information needed can be provided by our phones. Mobile phone manufacturers, who can offer easy mobile web check out to their users, have failed to do so, perhaps still trying to figure out how to corner a piece of the payments market.
So the big question is that when will eTailers, financial institutions, smartphone manufacturers and others involved in eCommerce, catch up and provide the level of ease of use shoppers deserve? The mobile revolution makes this possible. What are we waiting for?