Industry experts discuss the future of mobile payments at the latest Monitise conference in London.
For many people a bank is just a bank. Extending the bank’s brand into the e-commerce space throws up challenges and opportunities. How can a bank extend its brand into the e-commerce space and how should they support the brand as they do so?
Ben Green, head of mobile, Santander
I think the first thing is that the bank has to extend its brand into the customer’s general behaviour and day-to-day decision making – nudging the customer very, very gently.
When they wake up first thing in the morning and glance at their mobile they need to think ‘oh yeah, that’s how I’m going to run my finances’. It’s not an easy task in and of itself. But banks can nudge people gently, helping them to see their balance information so they start off the day knowing what they can afford to spend. That change is vital. Building the confidence and competence in how to execute payments. Encouraging the flow of money through a family, building that frequency and familiarity. That’s a pretty hard journey to begin with.
If you can do that then you’ll have covered the hardest ground and can move from payments into purchases. It can become a really strong, emotionally engaged relationship whereby customers look at the screen of their mobile when they wake up in the morning. It just becomes a very straightforward, obvious thing to do – check balance, make a few payments, buy something.
The emotional engagement almost becomes a secondary outcome rather than the brand forcing itself on people.
Benjamin Ensor, industry analyst, Forrester
Interestingly, at Forrester, we’re finding that branding matters less and less. What we’re finding is that customers, particularly young customers, care about who is letting them get more of what they want and need the quickest and most conveniently.
The companies that succeed are the companies that are able to deliver to customers what they want as easily as possible on the device they want. It’s all about mobile mind shift, where customers just expect good services and information to be available on whatever device they have in their moment of need.
The companies that success aren’t necessarily companies with big brands. They’re the companies that are able to orchestrate this huge complexity in the background to deliver to the customer what they want in their moment of need in a way that seems completely simply and obvious to them even though it’s incredibly difficult and complex. It’s not about the brand – it’s about what you deliver to the customer.
Sandra Alzetta, head of mobile business and innovation strategy, Visa Europe
One key thing to remember is that consumers of all ages are now comfortable with online transactions. Last year was the first year that we saw Visa card holders in Europe spend more than 200 million Euros online – that was a mixture of e-commerce and m-commerce. Clearly there’s something there that consumers like.
What is key is that it has to be easy. It’s such a fundamental and you see so many examples of where that real fundamental box hasn’t even been ticked. It will fail.
It also has to be engaging. There has to be a reason to make the consumer think ‘this is for me’. It really has to be secure. When it comes to payments, security really does matter and I think that’s something that the banking world needs to really understand. Security must absolutely underpin everything. Banks need to offer security and build up trust.
Simon Andrews, CEO and co-founder, digital marketing agency Addictive
An admission – I’m partly responsible for marketing Howard from the Halifax a few years ago, so I apologise. But with Howard, we promoted mortgages and extended that into saving and current accounts.
It was easy because we had a huge branch network and we then built up online banking. The idea that banks help you make the most of your money, savings, current accounts etc, can be extended into online. If you can deliver on that then it will work. You’re helping people. It’s not straightforward but it can be done.