What Apple Pay for the web means for ecommerce retailers (includes 4 mini case studies)

By Marc Hummel

June 15, 2016

You probably already heard that Apple Pay is coming to the web (both desktop + mobile flavors) and mobile apps for the first time this fall. But what does it mean for ecommerce retailers? Read on to find out.

The potential

According to comScore, retailers had 2% more visits to their mobile websites than their mobile apps during last year’s holiday shopping season.

For ecommerce properties that enable it, Pay with Apple Pay will be a new payment option presented during the checkout process. From there, according to Ars Technica:

“the customer just selects the Apple Pay button during checkout and then authenticates the transaction using TouchID on their phone or by tapping an Apple Watch associated with the computer the purchase is being made on.”

This means that customers won’t have to input credit card numbers or security codes. Apple Pay even takes care of the shipping and billing addresses—which may have a serious implication for conversion rates. As Apple said on-stage at WWDC: “fewer taps means more sales.”

As Shopify suggests:

“Enabling Apple Pay for your online store is another way for you to simplify and speed up your checkout, giving your customers a better checkout experience while also boosting your conversion rate.”

Apple highlighted four case studies during WWDC:

  • “StubHub [has] a great iPhone app. You can buy event tickets directly on the phone. They integrated with Apple Pay and they found that Apple Pay users transact 20% more frequently than regular customers.”
  • With OpenTable, “you cannot only book a reservation but you can go into a restaurant and pay for your meal directly on your phone at the table. And when they integrated that product with Apple Pay, they saw transaction growth of 50%.
  • “Staples [has] a really nice app. You can buy all of your office supplies directly from your phone and they saw an increase in overall conversion, that’s the percentage of users who became paying customers, of 109% with Apple Pay.”
  • Fancy said Apple Pay is not only driving more purchases but activating [its] biggest spenders […] and that iOS users of Fancy out-spend all over mobile platforms combined by a factor of two to one.

The new Apple Pay functionality might even make user accounts themselves obsolete. If just a tap of a finger can take care of payment info and addresses, why would you need an account in the first place?

The limitations

The biggest one is obvious: You have to own an iPhone. But since iPhone users generally earn more and use the web more, so this might be a good problem to have. (An Android equivalent is reportedly in the works.)

The second problem: at launch, Pay with Apple Pay will only be available for Safari on desktop Macs running macOS Sierra. It’s unclear whether or not Apple plans to expand the program to other browsers and desktop platforms, although it seems unlikely, since there is no Windows equivalent of Continuity.

Launch partners

The following ecommerce platforms and other vendors have announced they will support Apple Pay when it is available:

Learn more

Marc Hummel is a former Content Marketing Associate for Monetate. He's also a part-time grad student at the University of Pennsylvania. He enjoys biking to work, reading, listening to podcasts/music, and eating ice cream. Usually not all at once. For more about Marc, go here.

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