Just yesterday Google debuted its new Android Pay, a virtual wallet similar to Apple Pay allowing customers to make purchases in store with a simple tap on their phone. After Google’s first foray into mobile payments with Google Wallet which was relatively unsuccessful, they’ve come back with a solution that has a promise to surpass Apple Pay with its open source philosophy.
Perhaps it being an open platform is the biggest advantage of the Android Mobile Wallet product. It means that it has the capability to work with third party payment systems and even loyalty programs.
Currently the Android Mobile Wallet should work with about 700,000 stores in the US and is being integrated into the apps like Lyft, GrubHub, and Groupon among others. However, it’s easy to overlook this latest development in mobile wallets. After all, the “cooler” company on the block, Apple, has yet to see expansive success with Apple Pay. However, as writers at Wired have pointed out Google’s Android operating system runs many of the world’s phones and market shares for Android hover around 80 percent, according to the research firm IDC. This predominance may be what pushes mobile payments into the mainstream.
Its clear that cashless economy is the future, however it remains to be seen whether the concept of a mobile wallet will really take hold. Already use of mobile phones in shopping is undeniable. According to Internet Retailer, 75% of shoppers use their mobile devices while perusing brick and mortar stores and even more revealing 25% of shoppers who use their phones in stores also make purchases using their phones while in the store.
The biggest takeaway for retailers from all of this is the gradual move towards an omni-channel shopping experience. The relatively small dent mobile wallets have made in the consumer’s shopping experience isn’t necessarily an indication of their discomfort with the omni-channel experience but instead a sign that the medium hasn’t been perfected yet. Maybe consumers are looking for more than just a tool to make purchases in store. Maybe the next phase to really take hold will be a truly omni-channel experience that breaks down the barriers of a traditional in-store checkout and merges the customer’s in-store cart and payment tools with their online ones.