Educating consumers about Apple Pay will benefit marketers

Educating consumers about Apple Pay will benefit marketers
Liz Morrell is a freelance business journalist and content creator with more than 20 years writing experience, including 15 in retail and associated sectors. She is a regular contributor to MarketingTech but also covers a number of other industries in her freelance capacity. Contact her via LinkedIn or at

Apple Pay is still a baby that is barely weeks old and still available only in the US, but its potential as yet another way of helping marketers reach consumers in bricks and mortar stores is huge.

Add in the possibilities to also link the payment functionality with Apple’s advertising platform iAd to enable consumers to buy products seen in mobile ads and the potential is great still.

So how is actual take-up faring? As yet another payment option for customers – where many have already tried – there have been almost equal levels of doubt to the excitement that the initial September announcement of the technology brought.

Slow uptake

New research by InfoScout suggests there is some way to go yet. The company tracked the shopping behaviour and opinions of those in its 170,000 US household consumer panel who own an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus and shopped at a retail store that accepts Apple Pay over last week’s Black Friday weekend. The idea was to gauge true usage of the technology which – after all – is supposed to be faster and easier than the card alternative.

With the majority (91%) of iPhone 6 or 6+ users yet to even try Apple Pay the results showed that there was a 50-50 chance that they would use it at checkout when shopping at a participating retailer on Black Friday.

The reasons why they liked the technology centred largely on its ease of use, speed at checkout and security but when that was translated to a real life experience it made interesting reading.

Poor promotion

It was reported that 31% of customers did not use Apple Pay simply because they did not realise the store supported it, one in four simply forgot and one in five (19%) said that they did not have their phone handy.

As a process that has become one of habit the reason of forgetfulness, or the lack of awareness over support of the technology is unsurprising given customers are so used to simply swiping a card or paying with cash instead. Marketeers will need to work harder therefore to capture mindshare at checkout.

And there is opportunity too for marketeers to better educate their customers on the benefits of their store offering Apple Pay by helping them understand how to use it. The survey showed that a third (32%) of eligible users had not tried Apple Pay because they were not familiar with how it works, while 11% simply had not heard of it.

It is early days for the technology and change will take time. The marketing opportunities it brings however, are significant.

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