Apple announced this week at their WWDC developer conference that they will be bringing Apple Pay to the Web. Apple Pay will be integrated with the macOS and iOS Safari browsers and users will be able to make a purchase on the web and authorize the transaction through their Apple Pay enabled iPhone.
Interestingly, Google made an earlier announcement of bringing Android Pay to the Web as well at their IO conference last month which got much less fanfare.
Good news for mobile email
This is a huge development for email because it will make mobile web transactions so much easier. Although more than half of emails are read on mobile phones and email drives more sales than search on mobile, mobile transactions overall are still lagging behind desktop.
According to a report by IBM, mobile only makes up 10.7% of sales in 2015 even though mobile accounts for 33% of all traffic to websites.
Although there are many factors that may account for the lack of conversions on mobile - for example people who are out and about may not be in the mindset to make a transaction - the fact is completing a purchase through a screen on a phone is just plain difficult. Not only is completing payment fields a pain, imagine taking out your credit card in the middle of a subway ride to read the security pin and risk having your wallet or purse stolen from you.
With Apple Pay on the Web, making a purchase is simply a tap on a “Pay with Apple Pay” button and a fingerprint scan away.
More investment in responsive and interactive design
Email marketers are always strapped for resources so it's no wonder many email marketers have not yet embraced mobile responsive email. Furthermore, with the bulk of the transactions taking place on a desktop, it can be a difficult to get the budget to mobile optimize your emails.
If Apple Pay and Android Pay starts to get broad adoption among web merchants and consumers, organizations will start finding that budget.
The rewards can be particularly promising because the iPhone’s email client supports rich HTML functionality and marketers are able to deliver rich interactive experiences within an email. By leveraging kinetic design that employ advanced HTML and CSS, marketers can bring the experience of the web inside the email itself and give the recipient a personalized shopping experience in the inbox.
Triggered emails will benefit the most
Emails such as abandoned shopping cart emails that are sent based on a user’s online behavior will also more readily benefit from Apple Pay on the Web as these emails target buyers who are in the middle of a purchasing decision. Apple Pay for the Web will significantly reduce the friction to complete a purchase and I expect the return on investment of resources to implement such programs to be even more lucrative.
What's in store for the future?
Will Apple eventually integrate Apple Pay inside the email client itself? With the concern over privacy, spoofing and spam it does not look likely. However many messaging app providers including Facebook and WeChat have added the ability to send payments through chat (rumors have it Apple may follow suit as well). If the email client is able to establish an affirmative relationship between the user and certain email senders, perhaps Apple Pay over Email may not be such a far-fetched idea.