Apple Pay Doesn’t Have to Kill the Wallet to Be Worth SMBs’ Adoption

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800px-Mobile_payment_03Last week, Newtech released a study that painted a fairly grim outlook for Apple Pay among small business owners. The study found that four out of five small business could not accept contactless payments and only 7% planned on updating their payment terminals with the necessary technology in the next year.

Small businesses are making a mistake. More and more, software is influencing the way consumers evaluate the places where the shop in the real world. As the small business technology ecosystem grows, it is crucial for small businesses to break down any potential barriers surrounding purchase, especially when consumers are offered numerous alternatives including national chains and ecommerce giants.

Local sellers have been able to ignore mobile payments largely because consumers interest remained equally apathetic. But Apple has once again harnessed the power of their brand to convince consumers that they’ve made payments easier than what currently exists. Consider the backlash against Walmart, CVS and other members of the much-maligned Merchant Customer Exchange when they decided not to accept Apple Pay in lieu of their own technology.

Speculation aside, Apple Pay is ridiculously easy and given Apple’s brand power and market size, Apple Pay is a huge vote of confidence for Near Field Communication (NFC) technology in terms of becoming the industry standard. While ubiquitous adoption may be a ways away, local businesses would be wise, at the risk of losing revenue, to make transactions as simple as possible for any customer by accepting mobile payments.

It might be generational, but I rarely carry cash. The continued success of Square, PayPal and other mobile payment processing companies have conditioned me to expect that all businesses accept credit/debit cards. And I’ve sometimes chosen to spend elsewhere when they did not.

What’s more, smartphones and tablets are increasingly becoming hubs of commerce. According to Google, over half of consumers who make a local search on their mobile device go on to visit those business that day. Further, 75 percent of consumers research on their mobile devices while in store. If the consumer found you with their phone and used it when deciding to purchase from you in-store, it is also extremely likely it’s already in their hand at checkout. It only makes sense that they may also want to purchase with their phone in-store.

So, will the phone replace our wallets? Apple has certainly set its sights on doing so via the iPhone and the Apple Watch. But for small businesses, the question is not whether Apple Pay will replace wallets. Instead, its whether the ability to accept Apple Pay will factor in consumer’s decision of where they shop.

Mobile payments will continue to gain popularity and adoption in the next few years as developers build more meaningful experiences around the data for consumers. And given the relatively small expense of accepting the new technology, the cost of losing even a handful of snobbish early adopters does not seem worthwhile.

MattM-Headshot1Matt Matergia leads North American business development efforts for mono solutions, a SaaS-based platform built for resellers to design, deliver and manage professional, responsive websites and e-commerce sites for small and medium sized businesses.  Matt can be reached on Twitter and Instagram: @mterg.