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GUEST OPINION Apple Pay is now available on websites: why should retailers care?

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The roll out of Apple Pay on websites is the most significant thing that Apple has done this year. Igor Gorin, CEO, Astound Commerce explains why

In June, Apple made an announcement arguably more significant for retailers than the launch of the Apple Watch in 2015. What could be more exciting than a wearable Apple device? The ability to use Apple Pay across mobile and desktop ecommerce sites, which makes it even easier for businesses to drive sales from Apple customers.

The update may not seem significant at first glance, but iPhone users are wealthier, more highly educated, and employed in jobs in the business world than any other brand of smartphone users. In fact, Google found that iPhone users spend four dollars for every Android dollar. In other words, making it easier for an Apple customer to make a purchase on your site can significantly boost revenue.

How it works

When making a purchase with a participating retailer, shoppers can select Apple Pay at checkout. They will then receive a notification on their iPhones that allows them to authenticate purchases quickly and easily. Essentially, shoppers can make purchases on both desktop and mobile ecommerce sites using forms of payment they already have securely saved in their phone.

Things to consider for retailers

For retailers to leverage this update, the Apple Pay option must be easily accessible for shoppers on their mobile and desktop sites. This means understanding the necessary integrations for software that validates taxes, addresses, standardization and other considerations.

Additionally, retailers must be mindful of the placement of the Apple Pay button while also adhering to the Apple Pay UI and identity guidelines. Apple Pay should be easily accessible to users looking for that option, or integration is a waste of time.

What retailers need to do behind the scenes

On the back-end, there are several key areas retailers need to address in order to take advantage of this new update. Retailers must first make sure their existing payment gateway, merchant bank, and processing network supports Apple Pay, or upgrade to systems with that capability.

Retailers must also register a merchant account with Apple Pay, and install certificates that support Apple Pay on each specific account. Apple Pay is less like Square and more like Verified by Visa or Secure by Mastercard (alternative payment token vendors), so upgrading this capability should be straightforward.

Why it matters

The update eliminates steps that often lead to abandoned shopping carts, such as being asked to type in credit card numbers or billing information. If shoppers can authenticate purchases by simply clicking a button on their iPhones, they’re much more likely to follow through with their purchases.

This is even more important for retailers that drive significant revenue on mobile websites. Prior to this update, Apple Pay was not integrated into mobile websites (only apps). This changes the game for retailers that lose customers due to difficulties entering credit card numbers or billing information on small iPhone screens.

Many industry experts predict mobile to drive nearly half of all ecommerce sales by 2020 and the seamless integration of Apple Pay into mobile websites is critical to driving increased revenue. What’s more, the system will also allow users to authenticate purchases on Apple Watches, which puts the industry one step closer to offering wearable payment options. It also means Apple is going to foster some competition for PayPal, which is currently one of the leading payment processing options on the market.

To put it simply, the ability to offer Apple Pay options at checkout is huge for the ecommerce industry. Mobile commerce continues to drive a greater share of ecommerce each year. So, an opportunity to make it even easier for consumers (particularly iPhone users) to make a purchase on mobile sites is something retailers should be thankful for.

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