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Optimising Payments Over Mobile Channels


20 December 2017

Victoria Galloway

7 minute read

These days, almost half of Australian smartphone users buy via mobile at least once a week, up from 36% in 2016, says PayPal’s mCommerce Index. They’re preferring it more and spending more frequently. Remarkably, this number spikes in the case of people aged under 35 - almost nine in 10 use their mobile for payments or purchases. See why this channel now accounts for a fifth of all eCommerce sales in Australia (up from a modest 13% in 2016)?

But here’s where the business side of things doesn’t quite align with where consumers are headed. The index found that just 51% of online businesses have optimised their site for mobile payments.

We completely understand if you’re among the one-third of businesses who think your consumers don’t want to buy via a mobile device. Maybe you’re unsure of the costs of mobile optimisation. Or it may be something as fundamental as not knowing how to go about it. You’re not an exception.

The reasons mentioned above are the top three barriers preventing businesses investing in mCommerce, says the index.

Too many eTailers appear to be holding back, perhaps waiting for something revolutionary. In many ways, the revolution is already under way. The future is here - and it's time to be part of it.

Mobile payments will dominate

More than eight out of 10 Australians have a smartphone and according to the Australian Payments’ Network’s The Digital Economy Report issued in November 2017, mobile will dominate the next wave of payment innovation.

Smartphones are really leading the charge with regulators supporting the push to a growing cashless economy, says PwC in its report, The Future of Payments in Australia. We’re seeing more apps that leave traditional payment methods in their wake for efficiency.

The way forward, says the report, is offering a “unique customer experience and increased engagement by smoothing traditional friction points”. The early adopters of mobile payment systems as the ‘hero’ of omnichannel payment options are already surging ahead in business.

Businesses must be customer-centric

Jimmy Duvall, from BigCommerce, says brands that are customer-centric throughout their business from marketing to shipping to policy on returns will have the edge over their competitors. Smart companies are automating part of their customer service processes using chatbot services. And we’re seeing AI drive personal recommendation technology.

How’s that tech working for your business? We’d get it if you feel a bit overwhelmed by it all.

Many businesses like you, or even bigger, are still trying to understand optimising mobile payments. About seven in 10 eBusiness managers admitted they had average or less mobile expertise, as RetailDive reported based on Forrester research. Meanwhile 43% of online retailers don’t have an mCommerce strategy.

This is proof enough that it’s still not late for your business to seize the mCommerce opportunity! In fact, this could be the best time to do so as a range of experts are predicting major retail disruption in 2018. Many of the trends focus on an improved customer journey and artificial intelligence (AI) is predicted to be a big player in these changes.

How can your business develop an effective mCommerce strategy?

mCommerce happens when your customers buy goods or services online using a mobile phone, tablet, smart watch and even smart glasses. Your customers could be in your store or elsewhere. It shouldn’t matter.

Where to start? Sadly, there are still too many eCommerce sites not optimised for mobile phones. The time your customers take to pinch and zoom on their devices to make your site’s text and images visible may well see them move on. Perhaps to a competitor's site.

More importantly, the payment process should be seamless.

That means designing the process with the customer at the forefront of your mind. Your business has probably ticked that box when integrating a checkout system with your site. Maybe you spent a lot of effort ensuring the desktop checkout process was schmick.

But what are the number of abandoned carts online? On average a quarter of carts are abandoned, says Inc. What’s your data showing when your customers visit your site on their mobile device?

Consumer behaviour under the spotlight

The average Australian buys something online 16 times a year, and 35% of those purchases are imports, according to KPMG’s The Truth about Online Consumers: 2017 Global Online Consumer Report. They spend on average 1.2 hours researching online, often via a mobile phone while in a bricks-and-mortar store comparing prices and reading reviews. Price/promotion prompted 38% of online purchasing decisions. More than half of them purchased using a laptop or PC, but only 13% said they preferred to buy via a mobile device.

This is a crucial point.

Customers are mostly researching via a mobile device, but purchasing on a laptop or PC. Switching device is a hassle, but it’s become the norm. Our industry knowledge suggests a key factor why online purchasing via mobiles isn’t flavour of the month yet. It’s the off-putting customer experience, the lack of optimisation that screams to purchasers it’s just not worth it buying via a mobile.

Consumers are all thumbs

Katrina Welch in Forbes Inc, part of that publication’s Communications Council, explains that mobile shoppers are often on the hop and multitasking.

“That means speed is essential. They’re using fingers and thumbs, which have wider margins of error than a trackpad or mouse. It’s more arduous to click through to a new field or page on mobile than it is on a keyboard.”

There could be a bevy of reasons why your customers abandon at checkout, including:

  • Not wanting to create an account
  • Their credit card was declined
  • Your site doesn’t offer their preferred payment method
  • They don’t trust your site with their credit card details
  • They found the checkout process too clunky or long

These are user experiences they’ll talk to others about, but not in a good way. The company’s reputation for customer service could be harmed, particularly with social media reviews so prevalent.

Simple fixes could be optimising your website to be mobile responsive with larger buttons on the screen and ensuring there’s a fair bit of space between them. Also consider giving customers a visual progress indicator of where they’re up to in the purchasing process.

Auto-filling forms is a bonus, you can lure customers in with coupons, or tweak your system to shorten the checkout path.

In short, simplicity is everything.

Digital wallets – a real time saver

There’s another, easier way to save customers keying in and clicking away, particularly while they’re in a physical store doing their ‘research’. Their mobile device can be linked to their credit or debit card in a virtual wallet, also known as a digital or mobile wallet.

It’s secure, too, as the card info is hidden when the payment is made. So, your customers can use it to pay in-store plus redeem digital coupons and store loyalty card information. It’s ‘tap and go’ with the bells and whistles.

How can this benefit your business?

You’ll be ahead of the game because you’re offering your customers faster, more convenient and secure payments in store. All you’ll need is to ensure your eStore’s payment systems are compatible with digital wallets. Then, with a Near Field Communication (NFC) reader plugged in, you’re ready to go.

Mobile digital wallets we recommend include Visa Checkout, MasterPass, Apple Pay, Android Pay and AMEX Express Checkout.

Mobile Payments part of an ever-expanding ecosystem

Getting the impression that customers want wider choices about online payment options? There’s an approach that ‘allows’ purchasers to follow the one that suits them at any particular time.

We’re talking about device agnostic payment systems.

They hand your customers options to pay through multiple channels such as an integrated payment system, credit card, EFT, BPAY, peer-to-peer payment, apps, mobile device, direct debit, phone, email or even in your bricks-and-mortar store. This is omnichannel marketing in a nutshell. Read more about device agnostic payment systems here.

Your solution to boost business

Forty years. That’s how long mobile phones have been around. We’ve come a long way from just being able to buy ringtones or ‘SMS’ to pay for services on our phones as was the case in the 1990s. Why not bring your business up to the 21st Century?

If your business is ready to simplify the mobile payments process to attract more sales and grow, talk to Bambora.

We’ve helped small and enterprise businesses do just that. We can swiftly integrate your eCommerce system with a range of mobile wallets optimised to be mobile responsive in your customers’ hands.

About the author

Victoria Galloway is Bambora APAC's Technical Copywriter, and has been writing and producing in the payments and eCommerce space for a number of years, both in the UK and Australia.