6 Dec 2015

Apple Pay

We generally think of Apple Pay as a method of in-shop payment. That’s great, and futuristic. But Apple’s HIG points out that Apple Pay also works for e-commerce apps. You can make a purchase without having to create an account or log in, and have Apple Pay supply your credit card information, shipping details and contact information. This reduces friction.

Traditionally, people have shopped on mobile less often than on the PC, because of the overhead. Apple Pay eliminates that overhead. In fact, if you don’t have an account with a particular e-commerce store, it’s easier to buy from them on mobile than on the PC. This is the best kind of innovation: don’t merely catch up with the PC; leapfrog it.

This means that newer or niche companies have a better chance of success on iPhone than on the PC, despite the supposedly open nature of the web. Mobile is less open than the web, and even among mobile OSs, iOS is less open than Android. But if you’re an e-commerce app, it’s actually better for you.

On the web, the overhead of registering, logging in, remembering user names and passwords, trusting a site with your payment information, and so on, means that most people have one or a few sites they order from. On the iPhone, Apple Pay could result in a variety of e-commerce shops succeeding, either catering to niches (like photography or headphones), or doing something differently. Let a thousand flowers bloom.

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