Mobile Payment Solutions

Mobile Payment Solutions

The mobile payment revolution is upon us! Technologists and futurists have been making promises about mobile payment solutions for almost a decade now. Promising that it would revolutionise the way in which we pay for goods and services. In fact, I was quoted by ITWeb back in 2012 in an article entitled Wireless spells ‘end of card era’, and my words were no more true then, than they are today.

Mobile Payments: When They Work

In my opinion, Samsung Pay is leading the charge in south Africa when it comes to mobile payments. Sure there are others out there coming to South Africa in the near (or distant) future: Apple Pay and Huawei Pay being the most talked about and anticipated, but Samsung have hit the ground hard!

The Samsung technology is fantastic. It provides both NFC as well as MST which basically means that it works as both a “tap” solution and one that mimics the magnetic strip of your conventional bank card which brings older card reader machines into contention!

Combine that with the ability to install Samsung Pay on your Galaxy Smart Watch (albeit only functioning with NFC) and you have a formidable mobile payment solution. I will say that I have only been forced to take my card out of my wallet a handful of times over the last 4 months since the release of Samsung Pay.

This is the way mobile payments are supposed to be. They are supposed to be seamless. That’s when you know a solution works. When the technology is unobtrusive. It integrates with your life and doesn’t give you hurdles to jump over; it removes the hurdles and let’s you sprint your way through the shopping centre during the Christmas spending frenzy!!

Mobile Payments: When They Don’t Work

Unfortunately, as much as I would love to wax lyrically for hours about how fantastic Samsung Pay is… 1: They don’t pay me and 2: there are some flaws.

One cannot fault Samsung for the above the line marketing job they have done since releasing their mobile payment solution into the market. You could practically not turn on the television over the last 5 months and NOT see an advert for Samsung Pay.

They strategically created the demand on the consumer side. They made it something that we wanted to use. It looked so simple. So sexy. So fantastic that even Apple users wanted to use Samsung Pay.

And for the most part, their job was done. Except that it wasn’t.

I have unfortunately had to take to Twitter a few times to raise issues where Samsung Pay was “not being accepted”…

Part of me immediately wants to take my frustration out on the retailer. And partly this is justified; especially in the instance where the retailer is categorically accepting Samsung’s mobile payment solution. This is a question of poor communication from management down to shop floor staff.

The balance of the blame goes squarely on the shoulders of Samsung Pay. While I understand the mammoth undertaking in reaching every major retailer; it is one that needs to be done!

Where the retailer is still vetting Samsung Pay as a safe and secure mobile payment solution is another story altogether; but still one that needs proper communication from management down. A simple “we were told we cannot accept it” doesn’t really satisfy an agitated consumer.

What are the consequences?

Ultimately this is a brand, reputation and customer experience problem. Both Samsung and the retailers brands are at risk here…

Where the mobile payment solution is accepted: both brands are seen as providing innovative customer centric payment solutions! A fantastic Win / Win scenario.

Where Samsung pay is not accepted (for whatever reason): again both brands suffer.

  • Samsung suffers reputation damage as they have created the demand with the consumer, but have not done enough to generate a healthy supply of retailers to offer the mobile payment solution in store.
  • The retailer suffers reputation damage as they are not being innovative enough for technology savvy consumers who are looking at receiving the same customer experience as they would get online — swift, seamless, sexy.

A less fantastic Lose / Lose scenario.

There is a lot of education, change management and communication that needs to be done on every side of the equation.

Samsung need to ensure that they are not just educating and striking payment agreements with the retailers head office or management. They need to ensure that adequate training is being done in the trenches. It is their brand that gets tarnished when it doesn’t work as much as it is the retailer! Get dirty, do secret shopper checks. Do in store activations. Do what’s needed to actively protect your brand!

The retailers cannot stick their heads in the sand and hope this passes them by. Mobile payment solutions are not going away. They need to be embraced. As I said at the start of this post; futurists have been talking about mobile payment solutions for the last decade (at least). This is not new. This is not unheard of and taking retailers by surprise.

If they are not accepting Samsung Pay; that’s fine. But then have a more compelling answer than, “we don’t accept that…”… Because that translates to “we are too scared / lazy / arrogant to accept innovation for the benefit of the customer experience!” and we don’t accept that.

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