Image credit: Apple
Apple Pay isn't just a new mobile payment method. It's also a stake in the heart of merchants who want to use your purchase activity for their own ends. It gives companies who want to honor the customer a high-profile bandwagon to jump on. And it punctuates Apple's leadership.
Historically, companies have had to work with the idea that if their product is valuable, people will buy it. There was a quid pro quo. However, in the Internet age, competition is fierce and time is short, and so companies need an edge. They want to know a lot more about their customers so that they can use that information to more accurately target their products. Product quality, they figure, doesn't matter so much if the company can appear to be johnny-on-the-spot with customer needs in mind. But that's an illusion.
The Internet gives merchants exactly that opportunity to pry. That's done by inserting software into the purchase process that essentially spies on the customer's purchase habits.
When that's taken away from a company, it must face the reality that it has to do a better job of branding, marketing, and manufacturing so that customers, via reviews and word of mouth, will seek out and acquire its products.
The Side Effects of Apple Pay
Apple is a company that believes that its products are so good, no trickery is needed to convince customers to buy. That tradition has put Apple is a position of leadership. That is to say, when you build the very best product, you're doing the right thing for the customer. That naturally leads to always doing the right thing. Period.
Apple Pay, adhering to this principle, is already having far reaching consequences in American commerce. When Apple says it has no interest in tracking what the customer buys, it's basically laying down a new law of commerce. Apple's focus on a secure financial transaction void of traditional nosiness ignites a fresh spirit amongst all, sets a new standard, and brings into sharp contrast the undesirable methods of others. The estimation of Apple and its partners is improved. The awareness of the old methods is laid bare.
In fact, Apple Pay, being a very visible method of money handling, a topic dear to all, easily does what obscure security documents never could do. For example, getting customers to read, "Apple Publishes iOS Security Guide with Apple Pay Details" is like giving them a takehome science exam. Yawn. But telling them they'll be free of Breach Fatigue and worries about identity theft, and now you're talking. "How Apple Pay Mitigates Breach Fatigue."
In addition, Apple's leadership gives companies who want to do the right thing for their customers more courage. Heretofore, most companies were in a funk, doing what everyone else did because there was no practical alternative. Apple Pay gives companies a great motivation to do the right thing, and that will avalanche into a public discussion that could change American commerce.
Also, Apple Pay has, built into it, the seeds of vigorous competition. See, for example, "How CVS and Rite Aid’s wrongheaded war against Apple benefits Walgreens." Battle lines are bring drawn, and consumers will pick the winners and the losers. Soon, companies who want to continue the tradition of tracking every detail of their paying customers' transaction will be brought into stark contrast by social media who now have new heros to follow.
We haven't had that in awhile.
Finally, Apple Pay, because it is so convenient, private and secure creates a renewed sense of well-being in American commerce. The endless reports of credit card theft, malware in Android phones, point of sale breaches, and hacks into merchant computers that steal customer information have all led to weariness and anger amongst customers.
For example, one of the competing methods that CVS and Rite Aid are clinging to, CurrentC, requires customers to cough up social security number and driver’s license information and, at launch, draws directly from the user's bank account, not a credit card. That's not going to be met with enthusiasm. With Apple Pay, with just a few taps, the Apple ID default credit card is made active.
Apple Pay, by design has the potential to create a renewed spirit amongst consumers. In turn, they'll find ways to punish merchants who won't go along and want to keep doing things the same old questionable ways.
Apple Pay is more than a credit card payment system.
- It ignites immediate interest amongst paying customers in the benefits of a private and secure payment system. It's a real world reminder of these virtues that pretty smartphones and arcane security documents cannot achieve. Apple Pay punctuates Apple's leadership in our technical lives and makes us look forward to more of the same.
- It's an attractive platform for companies who want the best for their customers and want to compete on an honorable basis. It also showcases companies that want to cling to the past and draws clear battle lines.
- Finally, because it's so much more secure and private than the old ways, Apple Pay has the capacity to refresh the American spi of commerce and inject a feeling of well-being instead of dread into consumer lives. That will be good for businesses as well.
Some of them, anyway.