Monday, 30 November 2015

When is Digital Marketing Really Digital Marketing... a Lesson in Customer Centricity
Last year PepsiCo's Lay's brand launched an interesting promotion in New York City. Over the course of two days, consumers logging into UberRUSH -- Uber's courier service -- could enter a special code provided by Lays, and in return have delivered, free, a picnic basket of sandwiches, water, fruit and, of course, bags of flavored Lays that represented finalists in the Lays "Do Us a Flavor" contest.
As reported, the Uber initiative was to be capped at 200 deliveries and was only available in Manhattan between 14th and 96th Streets.
I have no idea how successful the overall promotion was -- the Uber initiative, the pedicab sampling program that ran in other select cities using the @Lays Twitter handle, or the sampling via Amazon's #amazon cart program. I hope it went well and that together with the TV they developed (yes... TV), it was successful... after all, I still can't eat just one.
The reason I am so interested in this story, and the reason I have chosen to lead with it, is not to critique it -- far from it -- but to try to understand why it was billed as a program for the digital age, and just as importantly, try to understand just what "traditional" sampling is and why this was so breakthrough.
In my experience, sampling has always been an innovative activity. How do you intercept and interrupt consumers in relevant and powerful ways so that they pay attention to your new or new and improved products in ways that will make them want to buy their own.
Frankly, as this isn't a Ramble on sampling, I will leave it to you to follow the links and see what you can learn from some of the great efforts of the past -- from Trains, Planes and Automobiles to Street Corners to Restaurants to Homes to Hospitals to Gyms to Parks and Pools and Skate Rinks to Broadway Plays and Blockbuster Movies to Stores to Newspapers, Magazines and Mail -- there is no venue or delivery service that hasn't been cleverly used and exploited.
Sampling is about getting the product into the hands and usage patterns of the right consumer -- it's physical, real... not virtual or digital. And because in this use case, Uber was the delivery mechanism, that does not make it digital or teach anyone how to "adopt sampling to the digital age."
My readers know that I am a foe of digibabble. In my professional role as a marketer, little frustrates me more than those who still opine on "traditional" versus the newest whatever, or on digital first, or mobile first, or wearable or whatever first, as if the consumer no longer exists beyond their role in providing some data points to roll up into the Big Data play that will change the course and trajectory of the product or service in question (hopefully not down).
Frankly, I believe that the most successful brands in the future will be the ones who leave behind the self-consciousness of the digibabble age and move into the age of the consumer.
Therefore, I celebrate and share those brands that are not caught up in the need to prove their faux digital chops, but rather use digital tools in the digital exponential manner of adding value and power to their consumer engagement, and sometimes just plain understand that while digital is everything, not everything is digital.
I call your attention to Virgin America which has created a "wow customer experience" that, of course, uses technology, but begins by understanding that U.S. travelers, on domestic airlines, are subject to some of the worst experiences you can ever imagine, and that an app was not the answer, as in "Hey, let's launch an app"'s about mapping every step in the consumer journey and making sure it is all WOW...
Read the article by Mike Sharkey, who writes:
Technology isn't the answer to building a great company...what I've learned from starting three tech companies...
And please don't miss Yoni Heisler's post: "Apple's secret weapon: Incredible customer service."
Listen to the late Steve Jobs:
Wouldn't it be great if when you went to buy a computer, or after you bought a computer, if you had any questions, you could ask a genius?
And we all know where that has taken their business and their stores...keep your eye on the Microsoft Stores, as this is the game to beat, not product...
What about Netflix?
Read Julia Greenberg, who writes that "Netflix Is So Hot Because It Gives Us What We Want: TV."
Imagine that! TV putting "the consumer first, giving them what they want, anytime they want it and on any device."
Pretty simple, nondigital proposition.
How about Zappos and Zipcar, which in the best tradition of the best practice of catalogers make sure that their phone numbers are prominent on every digital page they serve -- a point brought home to me as my wife just screamed with frustration trying to find the phone number of a well-known restaurant that was buried deep, deep down behind layers and layers of clicks.
And of course NIKE, whose CEO Mark Parker talks about what it takes to continuously build and support an innovative brand, because that's what NIKE is regardless of tech, "It's all about the athlete."
Let's be clear, there are some who think this is all old-fashioned, out of date -- that in the new world, the customer can be ignored and channeled in ways that make more profit.
On the other hand, Forrester reports that over half of online shoppers will abandon their purchase if they cannot get quick help and that 67% have had unsatisfactory online customer service interactions.
Bottom line: If you are of the school that believes using Uber to sample products is simply proof of digital prowess, then I imagine that Amazon opening a store is, too...along with restaurants rewarding customers to stay off their cell phones and couriers waiting for you to try on the clothes you just ordered, you are leaving your primary audience in the cold.
But if you take the real world seriously and believe that digital is everything, but not everything is digital, your customers, consumers, users, buyers will bless you... as do I!!!
Eric Schmidt, in a nontraditional Google moment, said: "We used to think that the enterprise was the hardest customer to satisfy, but we were wrong. It turns out, consumers are harder than the enterprise because the consumer will not give you a second chance."
I disagree -- as does all the research I have ever seen on the topic, as will all the companies that actually do get what it means to be in the age of the customer/consumer -- if they love you, if they see you love them, they will give you a second and third chance, and therein lies true and enduring success.
Next time you think that only an app driven by Big Data is what will impress your customers, remember this. Listen:
Your customer doesn't care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Enterprise Marketers Cite Customer Experience as Top Priority for Mobile Apps
A recent report from Follow Analytics shows that 64 percent of marketing decision-makers across enterprise brands say the top priority of their mobile app is to improve the customer experience and foster customer loyalty. Many of these businesses are using a CRM platform to inform their mobile marketing and meet these goals.
Ko News 11.19
These findings indicate a shift in mobile app purpose from transactions and social sharing to customer experience, researchers note.
Fifty percent of respondents believe a mobile CRM helps them provide a seamless experience across multiple devices. According to researchers, “customers now expect 1:1, personalized interactions that are connected across devices and channels, meaning behavior and triggers in one place influences others.”
Ko News 11.19.2
However, marketers have come across challenges when using CRM data to inform mobile campaigns. Thirty-six percent cite high dependence on IT, 24 percent cite budget constraints, and 17 percent cite the requirement of complex coding as the main CRM integration issues.
Based on the findings, researchers suggest that brands trying to increase ROI from mobile apps should focus on long-term customer value, make mobile the center of an omni-channel strategy, and leverage technology that doesn’t require complex coding.


white paper recently released by Verint shows that today’s marketers are encouraged to focus on the customer experience, with an emphasis on answering questions and personalization.
Researchers found that customers prefer companies that offer superior customer experiences: 89 percent of the study’s respondents agree that good service makes them feel more positively about brands. In addition, 61 percent of those surveyed said they would tell family and friends about a customer experience that “goes the extra mile.”
According to a recent Adobe and Econsultancy study, customer experience, personalization and big data hold the most promise for B2B marketing over the next five years

Internet of Things For Energy Efficiency
Resultado de imagen para Internet of Things For Energy Efficiency
The world is in urgent need of solutions for its energy problems. Analyst Tom Raftery explains how the Internet of Things (IoT) can counter climate change.
News about natural disasters is taking over the media. Just recently, the U.S. Drought Monitor published a report outlining how California is in the midst of the worst drought it has ever experienced, causing water shortage and dangerous wildfires. May 2015 was the warmest May ever recorded, and 2015 is set to become the warmest year in recorded history.
In 2009, representatives from 176 countries gathered at the World Climate Conference in Copenhagen. They realized that we needed to keep global warming down to a maximum of 2° C (35° F) higher.
“Right now, the average temperature has already risen 0.8 degrees. That means we have only 1.2 degrees left,” warns Tom Raftery, a GreenMonk analyst at RedMonk. Global warming also needs to be dealt with at a technological level. To set course towards an energy revolution, renewable energies must become part of the power grid.
This realization has changed what we require of our electricity networks: Having many small power generators that need to be integrated into the network causes more fluctuations in supply, so the energy consumption has increased significantly in industrialized countries and emerging economies. Load management cannot make the necessary changes with the outdated technology of current networks.

Smart grids help load management

study by PricewaterhouseCooper revealed that electricity and transport are the greatest causes of CO2 emission at 38% and 32% respectively. “The current trend is to make more and more electric vehicles,” Raftery explains. “This means we could influence an entire 70% of the CO2 emissions.”
The idea behind smart grids is to connect electricity generators and consumers on one big network, so that it can be controlled more efficiently and dependably. Load management plays a big part in controlling the generating and consumption of electricity and makes it possible to include more renewable energies in the system. The more renewable energies in the network, the better: Their varying costs make them cheaper, and they emit less carbon dioxide.
The most important renewable energies right now are solar and wind energy. Unfortunately, these do not produce a constant amount of energy and can thus only offer a varying amount of supply in the energy market. To counter this, demand must somehow be adjusted to the fluctuations in energy supply.
Smart grids are interconnected through the IoT and can help influence energy demand. “Having a source of energy that can’t be controlled is a big problem for energy companies. However, if the supply of a product can’t be controlled, we will just have to control demand instead. For this, we need the Internet of Things,” explains Raftery.

Newest technology needed

The Internet of Things can do more than help everyday users monitor and quantify their daily activities; it can even contribute to getting our global energy problems under control and reducing CO2 emissions.
“The Internet of Things is an important driver for smart grids. It allows us to manage electricity more efficiently, save resources, and use more renewable energies,” says Raftery.
But in order to exert this influence on energy usage and to set up a comprehensive load management, the newest technology is necessary. For example, large wind turbines and solar fields are each connected to their bases. They continually send data back and forth to measure the performance and efficiency of the turbines.
With the help of real-time analysis through SAP HANA, the network utilization is monitored so that the electricity supply can be optimized automatically at any given moment. More and more manufacturers install small chips in their digitized machines that collect data, evaluate it, and identify action areas.
Data collection is also increasing in everyday life with the smart meter. It is being installed in more and more private households, where it shows how much energy you are consuming and the actual usage time. It also allows you to control your electric appliances with a smartphone app.
“Appliances with a high energy consumption like fridges and freezers could be controlled through the Internet of Things. You can set the temperature of your freezer lower when you want to save energy, and higher when you have energy to spare,” Raftery explains. Controlling your electric appliances can save a lot of energy.

5 Mobile App Metrics That Matter The Most
Earlier, app developers would measure the success of apps based on analytics. The statistics would determine the popularity of the app as well as provide feedback to the developers. Then came a time when an app’s download count and ratings were used as a basis to determine its success. Back then, these were the key mobile app performance metrics that everyone kept track of.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the days of measuring app success by the number of downloads and ratings are long gone.
Today, there are much better ways of gauging your app’s success. The metrics detailed here are vital; they can help you draw insights about your app and tell how well it is performing. In today’s increasingly competitive environment, it is important for developers to stay informed of how their app is behaving, how users are engaging with the app, and which areas they need to improve upon.
To help you keep track of the important stuff, here are five indispensable mobile app success metrics that every publisher should know inside and out.

1. Average Revenue per User (ARPU):
Average revenue per user

The Average Revenue per User is the average amount of revenue generated by an app in a given timeframe over the number of active users within the same timeframe.
Calculating ARPU is rather varied for each mobile app category and revenue model, and thus, comparison to determine app success becomes rather useless.
However, some comparisons are possible, and prove useful in determining the success of your app. For revenue models, the ARPU can help you learn more about the revenue being generated as a result of your advertisement campaigns, in-app purchases, subscriptions, etc. for making comparison somewhat easier.
Why does ARPU matter?

The ARPU is helpful in calculating the average revenue being generated per user. This figure is very important because of its resourcefulness in other metrics.
Once the ARPU has been calculated, you can use it with other metrics to better understand your app’s success. ARPU works best when combined with the Cost per Loyal User (CPLU) and with Retention.
When used with CPLU, ARPU provides you with better knowledge on how to optimally budget you advertisement expenditures and marketing campaigns. If the ARPU is greater than CPLU, you are doing things the right way. In other words, your mobile customers must generate more revenue than what it costs to acquire them.
When used with Retention, ARPU can help you find out the lifetime value (LTV) of loyal customers. Say, a user generates $0.40 per month on average and is retained for one year, the predicted lifetime value of that person will be $4.80.

2. Cost Per Install (CPI), Cost Per Loyal User (CPLU)

Cost per Install

The Cost per Install (CPI) is calculated by tracking ‘paid installs’ instead of organic installs, i.e. the acquisition costs for those customers that installed your app in response to seeing an advertisement.
According to Fiksu:
  • CPI for iOS dropped to $1.32 since last month, but increased 26 percent since August last year.
  • On Android, CPI decreased to $1.91, dropping 30 percent in August but increasing by 103 percent from last year.
The Cost per Loyal User metric is the cost of acquiring a loyal user for marketed apps (paid campaigns). A loyal user is one who opens your app at least three times. The CPLU is actually derived by dividing the advertisement expenses over the number of new loyal users acquired in response to ads.
According to Fiksu:


  • The CPLU Index rose to an all-time high of $4.04 in August, 2015.
  • This represents a 36 percent increase month-over-month and 117 percent rise year-over-year.
Why do CPI, CPLU matter?
As said earlier, CPI and CPLU are best used when combined with ARPU to calculate the return on investment for your paid campaigns. In order for your campaigns to become meaningful, your ARPU must be greater than the CPLU. Most stakeholders fail to make sense out of this, but make a note that your costs to acquire a user must be well below the amount of revenue generated by the user if you are to profit.

3. Engagement: Keep them in the loop
Mobile Engagement

Engagement, unlike other metrics listed here, has no set definition or a predefined formula to figure it out. Only in the context of the mobile app and its mobile marketing strategy can we define engagement. It is better to understand how users are interacting with a particular mobile app, and by understanding user behavior, you are better able to find out the elements that appeal more to the users, or what elements are unnecessary.
Having said that, engagement is most often thought in terms of the desire to use an app much frequently, and longer.
Although engagement itself does not rank as a metric, there are several other concrete metrics that converge underneath its umbrella. They are discussed as following.
  • App screens per session: How many different screens of your app does a customer launch in a single session? The more screens are launched, the more engaging your app is.
  • Session interval: How frequently do users launch your app?
  • Session length: In a single session, how much time does a user spend in your app on average.
  • Interactions: What portion of the total number of customers are prompted and reached out? How many customers respond to the message or prompt?
  • Conversion rate: What percentage of customers complete an action within your app?
  • Opt-ins: What number of users sign up for additional notifications and alerts?
  • Opt-outs: How many customers request fewer notifications or alerts?
Engagement too varies by the nature of the app and by its category.
Why does engagement matter?
Satisfied users are your app’s staff of life, and this is why user experience is the foremost concern for most app developers. The more engaging the user experience is, the more likely it is that your app will be referred to others. Stellar reviews and positive, healthy feedback are what all developers crave for. Besides, engaged customers are likely to bring in more profit for the app, and add to the loyal user base.
With the help of efficient analytics tool, you can divide your users into segments, narrowing down more engaged users to reveal recurring behavior, and analyzing their movement within the app to gain helpful insights. This narrowing down of user behavior will inform of you of what actions are the most engaging, how long users stay engaged on your app, and how their engagement levels change over time.

4. Crash Reports
Crash Reports

As said earlier, user experience matters. One most important mobile app metric you must track is the crash reports, as it is directly proportional to user experience.
Very frequent crashes will put your app in poor taste, and garner a discontented user base. This is true for all apps, no matter how engaging, entertaining, or resourceful the app is; it won’t last long if its users have to experience constant crashes.
You must review crash reports more than often to know how frequently and why your users reach a dead end. By frequent checks, you can be on top of the issues that inhibit your app’s success.

5. Retention

Retention is the estimation of users returning to your mobile app on a defined basis, i.e. how many users actively use your app after a week, month, or year.
Two particular formulas used for determining the retention rate are: aggregate retention, and retention over a
Retentionsspecified time.

Aggregate retention is calculated by dividing the number of monthly active users over the total number of app installs during the same period.
Determining the retention rate over a specified time requires you to note the total number of users you have managed to retain at the end of a given period, and divide it by the number of installs at the start of that given time period.
On average, an app is able to retain 40% of its users after one month, and a meager 4% at the end of a year.
Why does retention matter?
Knowing the retention rate of your app indicates the success of your app, and your current user-base. Apps with hundreds and thousands of downloads might look successful to the eye, but may not have much active users to boast about.
By continuously increasing CPLUs and CPIs, mobile development companies can cut costs while boosting results, and drive the same growth from acquisition to retention.


It is important for you to develop a better understanding of these metrics as it gives you more control and authority to drive your app’s revenue stream. With these, you can:
  1. Provide more value to every user in order to increase revenue, and hence increase the ARPU.
  2. Through effective and targeted marketing campaigns, decrease Cost per Loyal User (CPLU) and increase your profits.
  3. Engage more customers, increase the monthly active users, and hence increase revenue.
  4. Keep a check on the app performance and crash reports to provide an uninterrupted and streamlined user experience. This increases the probability of retaining a user and converting it into a loyal user.
  5. Design your marketing campaigns and strategies around user retention, rather than acquisition, in order to increase profits.
To sum it up, engaging users is an extremely daunting task, retaining them is even more difficult. Apps that fail to deliver instant value and a captivating initial experience, face a major challenge of retaining users. It is pertinent to mention here that keeping track of your metrics will help you tweak your app better, and ensure the app’s success.
Your decisions regarding your app should be data driven, and you must know when, and where you can make changes, and improve. Each change should be reassessed, its usage and effect will determine what your next move should be.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Although the most significant time of the year—the holiday shopping season—has yet to arrive, it’s not too soon to safely say that for digital marketers 2015 has been a great year.
2016 Marketing TrendsWe’ve seen programmatic go mainstream and viewability improve. Numerous brands have taken control over their first-party data, and are putting it to good use in reaching their exact audiences at scale. And large swaths of the industry have finally figured out how to reach consumers effectively on their mobile devices. So what’s in store for 2016? Here are eight trends we’re putting our money on:
1. Brands will focus on promoting their mobile apps. You’ve read the stats: m-commerce will top $252 million U.S. by 2020 (Forrester Research), and in 2016, consumers will spend three-plus hours a day using mobile apps (eMarketer). More importantly, consumers who download apps are willingly giving up valuable screen real estate to a favored brand. To many experts, downloading an app is a reliable proxy to brand loyalty. It can be no surprise that brands will focus on driving app downloads in 2016, and will spend time, energy and resources to increase their profile and ranking within the app stores. Of course, managing SDKs to support advertising opportunities will be challenging. We can expect to see the mobile providers invest in ways to streamline that process in order to alleviate the burden of resubmitting apps to app stores each time an advertising unit within an app is updated.
2. Native video becomes top choice for marketers. The visual web is rapidly changing the way we consume content, and video is on the forefront of that trend (as evidenced by the 5.5 hours a day we spend watching it). Native video—which seeks to enhance the consumer’s experience by complementing the content and design of a website—is poised to become the most desired video format. But it’s not enough to simply purchase native video ad units; marketers should employ the industry-tested best practices for engaging consumers via video. For instance, attention span is short, so get your message across within the first three seconds. And forget about auto-sound, which annoys users (and besides, many opt to mute their devices as they scroll).
3. Social media will lead the visual web. Thanks to visually oriented social media sites (e.g. Periscope, Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest) marketers will have more options to reach and engage consumers via social media channels. More importantly, they’ll shy away from slick professional shoots and stock photography, which no longer resonate with consumers, and rely on consumer-generated content created by brand enthusiasts and brand ambassadors to tell and promote their brand story. Pinterest is now one of the biggest conversion sites—a fact that’s not lost on savvy marketers.
4. A hybrid approach to connected IDs will arrive. Advertisers have long wanted to track users across their myriad devices and in 2016, they just may get their wish. While marketing-tech providers have spent the past few years debating the merits of a probabilistic versus a deterministic approach, the industry will coalesce against such demarcations and opt for more of a hybrid solution. For those who missed it, connected IDs (aka universal IDs), link the device identifiers to individual users so that marketers can do cross-device tracking and targeting. Deterministic methodologies use known attributes to associate multiple devices to a specific consumer (e.g. a user who logs into the New York Times via a laptop, tablet and smartphone. While accurate, it’s difficult to attain massive scale. Probabilistic methodologies solve the scale problem by using advanced algorithms to link devices, make educated guesses and then link it to the Connected ID. As brands bring data management in-house, most will use a hybrid approach, incorporating their first- and third-party data to the effort.
5. Vast improvements in data accuracy. As mentioned above, numerous brands are opting to manage some or all of their data directly via data management platforms (DMPs). Internal first-party data will be leveraged to increase accuracy and build lookalike models for targeting purposes, while third-party data will allow them to target the right audiences at scale.
6. Micro moments and customization. Although old news, micro moments are still highly relevant for marketers, and their importance demands real-time personalization in mobile advertising. Mobile devices allow consumers to act on any impulse, and when we do, we demand relevance. In fact, our preferences going forward are highly influenced by our experiences in these micro moments. The same technology that will power cross-device ID will allow marketers to track consumer preferences, and respond with relevant messages during the critical micro moments. The result? One step closer to 1-to-1 marketing.
7. Programmatic mainstreaming. Programmatic advertising has continued its upward trajectory through 2015, and is certain to do so in 2016. That trajectory is the result of many factors, including the new formats (e.g. rich media), buying models (programmatic direct) and inventory sources (native, mobile, video, social media). Tech providers have focused significant resources in automating direct deals, and publishers are comfortable offering their most premium inventory via programmatic channels. As a result, programmatic spending will leap from $9.33 billion in 2015 to $14.89 in 2016.
8. Latin America will continue to boom. Latin America is one of the most thriving regions for advertising investment and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. Case in point: 2015 saw significant growth in smartphone penetration, and by 2019, some 57% of consumers will own one. Moreover, 95% of all Internet users are active on at least one social media site. And by 2018, programmatic marketing will account for 61% of total display ad spend. For marketers seeking new markets, audiences and opportunities, LatAm is an attractive option

The industrial internet of things: Machine learning

Manufacturers must learn to behave more like tech firms

THE best manufacturers used to be the firms that made the best widgets. No longer. As the “internet of things” spreads to the factory floor, products are being packed with ever more sensors and connected to the internet. That is transforming manufacturing—and the mindset that firms need to succeed.
The first shift is from products to services. By one estimate the number of wirelessly connected products in existence (excluding smartphones or computers) will rise from 5 billion today to 21 billion by 2020. The data these products generate are the raw material for new services—from windscreen-wipers whose movement helps produce real-time weather reports, to tennis racquets whose sensors tell you why your backhand isn’t working, or machines that can order a new spare part when it is needed (see article). Such services will often be more profitable than the products they are based on.
The second, related change is the race to develop “platforms”, a software foundation upon which lots of services and applications can be built. In the world of information technology, platforms are already a well-known concept: think of the operating systems for smartphones, such as Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, which host all manner of apps. In industry the idea of platforms is new, and menacing. If Apple or Google, for instance, were to control entertainment systems in cars, and the data they throw off, many carmakers would risk becoming the computer-makers of the road: churning out bits of metal while others grab the really valuable parts.
This is disorientating stuff. Manufacturers are used to a world in which they take materials from suppliers, turn them into products and push them out to customers. But for clues on how to embrace the industrial internet of things, Germany offers early lessons. The country is an industrial powerhouse—manufacturers account for 22% of GDP, compared with 12% in America. In 2011 Germany launched “Industrie 4.0”, a government initiative to promote the computerisation of manufacturing (see article). Several companies have launched software platforms: Trumpf, a maker of industrial equipment, has set up one that collects data from machines built by it and by rivals, in order to help customers ensure that their production processes run more smoothly. Bosch helps other firms create services based on internet-connected devices.
For many manufacturers—in Germany and beyond—the principal sticking-point in making this digital leap is often cultural. They have to forge a more open type of relationship with competitors; in August, for example, BMW, Audi and Daimler, three German carmakers, banded together to buy a digital-mapping company. Companies also need to become less hierarchical and more entrepreneurial; Klöckner, a metals trader, has set up an incubator for startups far from its headquarters, to give it more freedom. All this may be old hat for IT firms, but it is new ground for many manufacturers.
Platform views
Governments, too, need to adjust. Bureaucratic initiatives like Industrie 4.0 matter less than the basics: top-notch broadband infrastructure, the right balance between open data and privacy (see article), and decent computer-science teaching in schools, an area in which Germany falls short. More ambitious ideas might include “special digital zones”—reserving designated bits of cities to try out self-driving cars or commercial drones. There is no single recipe, but both bureaucrats and industrialists must grasp one fact: making things is not what it used to be.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Mobile payments bubble to the surface amid EMV growing pains

Resultado de imagen para Mobile payments bubble to the surface amid EMV growing pains
We're about seven weeks into the great EMV liability shift in the U.S. and let's be honest, the transition hasn't been a smooth one.
Retailers and banks continue to squabble over chip-and-signature vs. chip-and-PIN. Issuers are still mailing out new chip cards. Merchants continue to upgrade their payments terminals and some who have done so still haven't activated chip acceptance. Consumers are irked by EMV transaction times.

As Hall of Fame football coach Vince Lombardi once shouted from the sidelines, what the hell's going on out here?

We all knew this transition wasn't going to be easy or instant. The industry anticipated some growing pains and hiccups along the way. But is it supposed to be this much of a hassle, especially from the consumer perspective? Let's consider some stats from a recent Harbortouch survey.
The merchant-services provider sponsored a survey that found one in five consumers consider transaction time as the No. 1 issue when using an EMV-enabled credit or debit card.
Some other survey highlights include:
  • only 21 percent of consumers have used an EMV card;
  • millennials boast the highest EMV adoption rate, at 25.3 percent;
  • the majority of consumers (67 percent) say that swiping cards is the fastest payment method; and
  • survey respondents were four times more likely to worry about speedy processing than about chip card security or the availability of EMV terminals.
U.S. consumers have found the EMV checkout experience to be anything but a smooth one. And that's ironic when you consider what payments companies, retailers and service providers are striving for these days with the customer experience.
Buzzwords such as "frictionless," "seamless" and "Uberization" have infiltrated conversations about what's best for how consumers interact with their favorite brands. While I'm all about making buying experiences as easy as possible, EMV at the physical point of sale is like the return of the old knuckle-buster credit card machine. The customer experience is going backwards.
A lot of consumers consider time money and if they have to spend an extra second paying for something, it's a problem. That's an unfortunate byproduct of our go-go society these days, but it's something that will never go away. So, at this point, what can everyone in the payments chain do to improve the new EMV customer experience?
Proximity mobile payments look like the obvious answer, and I realize I'm a bit biased considering what I do for a living. But if there were ever a time for widespread consumer adoption to happen, it would be now.
Tap-and-pay is a much more attractive option for consumers than dip-and-pay. There's no argument there. I've experienced some chip transactions that take up to 30 seconds and it's mostly because cashiers have no idea what they're doing. I encountered one cashier at a Rite Aid who said these words to me: "I think you have to swipe your card, then dip it."
I knew better, of course, but the cashier kept interrupting my checkout experience and cancelling my transaction because I wasn't doing it her way. I now use Apple Pay wherever the opportunity presents itself.
Consumers also might be more inclined to give proximity mobile payments a try now that Apple, Google and Samsung have flooded the airwaves with commercials about their respective systems. The companies' advertising campaigns have created more awareness than ever even though adoption still lags. But as consumers continue to vent their frustrations with the EMV transaction process, I'll bet adoption numbers get a good-sized bump in January after a holiday season filled with longer checkout lines brought on by the transition. It's already happening.
Another factor to consider with increased consumer adoption is that most folks update their smartphones every two years and the market will arrive at a point where NFC is just another standard feature. The more tech-savvy consumer will be inclined to use one of the major mobile wallets for the “cool” factor alone, but as these schemes add more utility such as loyalty and rewards, the “Pays” become more attractive to everyday consumers, as well. Of course, systems such as those from Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts and others will continue to gain adoption.
Whether any of these factors will lead to more mobile payments is difficult to determine. But consumers aren't dumb. If they know that a quicker way to pay for things exists with proximity mobile payments, why not give it a try? We'll still have consumers who will cling to plastic cards no matter what, and that's OK. But if everyone in the payments chain can convince consumers schemes such as the "Pays" are safe, then we could be on to something here.