Why Mobile Payments Will Change Email Forever

In the year 2001, we were delivering streamed Disney videos with one-click commerce capabilities enabled through a Java applet commerce functionally -- all through email.   You could order a movie video while you were watching its trailer, and complete the transaction in the same frame -- all without leaving the email. Back then, the consumer was tethered to a desktop computer and a captured audience.

Cut to today. I haven’t felt more energized about the potential of video, email and mobile commerce than I do now.   Newer, safer payment technologies! More convenience!  Global acceptance at point of sale -- and lastly, everyone has a device. While we may argue the merits of the various forms of “payments” and whether the banks or the PayPals or Googles of the world will win, the shift is happening.    While mobile commerce still has a ways to go before a 75-year-old grandmother will pay for a meal at the diner with her mobile device, the trends absolutely lead you to believe that this is the future of a wallet-less consumer -- and email will most definitely be a key factor in making it happen.



A few trends to consider as you refine your strategy.

  • Email design has shifted from a portable newsletter design to a much more fluid single-purpose design.  mCommerce impact will take this even further with an emphasis on highly legible text, larger buttons, and gesture-based functions. 
  • Mobile apps will be a catalyst to convenience and fulfillment, but, like most websites, apps are passive experiences.  Email and Push messaging coordination will be required to consistently deliver on conversion events.
  • Personalization on steroids:  If you think you are using all of your capabilities when it comes to personalization, think again.  This new form of being relevant -- ALL THE TIME -- will stress how you think about personalization and how much of it will be driven by machine learning and automation.
  • The commerce-to-fulfillment continuum:  What mCommerce allows is a future look at real-time commerce all the way through the lifecycle, fully managed through a single device: shop, try, compare, buy, recommend, experience, share, and manage the transactions and experiences. It’s a liberation of the shopping experience that connects all the reasons consumers buy.

While  mCommerce and email have a way to go before they meet critical mass, the promise of convenience and delivering on impulse is too great not begin to preparing.  A few challenges that marketers will face will center on:

  • Content or commerce?   It seems that much of what is being written about email is focused on content marketing principles and publishing.  What mCommerce will force is a very deliberate approach to promotional marketing, requiring a good degree of personalization and brevity.  The purchase of the future will not require scrolling or zooming.  The toughest decision will be to simplify your content with a single intent, something we’ve been preaching for many years with email.
  • Connecting multi-modal messaging?   There is nothing sexy about push or SMS messaging, yet it’s still very functional.  As ISPs become more and more creative with inbox management interfaces, connecting your messaging strategy by mode through a common campaign management process may turn into your differentiating factor.
  • Attribution will seem a clear-cut equation, but it will actually be a tougher model to practice.  Search, email and interruptive mobile advertising experiences will be discrete, but there will be definitive differences by device, and “out of home” vs. “in-home.”  Spend attribution will be a very fluid activity, and may require rethinking how attribution is managed in your company.  Simple attribution by channel will be shifted to a new view of attribution by medium and location, instead of the general buckets we use today.

I really like this quote from Google's Eric Schmidt: “Mobile is the future, and there’s no such thing as communication overload.”    I think we need to really pay attention to mobile device processes and have distinct strategies within the email  channel for community, content, learning , sharing and shopping. All will be centered on the inbox as the directory of experiences.

7 comments about "Why Mobile Payments Will Change Email Forever".
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  1. Loren McDonald from IBM Marketing Cloud, October 6, 2014 at 1:24 p.m.

    Great post David...whole-heartedly agree about the impact of mobile payments ... it is going to be key to closing the smartphone shopper browse to buy gap.

  2. Doug Schumacher from Zuum, October 7, 2014 at 4:17 p.m.

    Liked this post a lot, David. Thanks. The idea of mcommerce being more single-minded feels right on target -- when dealing with commerce issues on my phone, the last thing I want to do is feel like I'm 'browsing'.

  3. David Baker from David Baker, October 7, 2014 at 6:55 p.m.

    Thanks for your comments Loren and Doug! exciting times !!!

  4. David Smith from Helpmoi, October 8, 2014 at 6:32 a.m.

    Great post. We love mobile payments at where we offer Short Term Loans

  5. Derek Harding from Little Bee Consulting, October 10, 2014 at 1:03 p.m.

    Cool stuff, and agree there will be impact. Color me slow but I'm trying to understand what the impact will be? How will this alter email as a marketing medium?

  6. Sandra Lee from Luise, October 13, 2014 at 5:55 a.m.

    The technical level is increasing every day. That is why many people need some time to adopt to new applications and services. And than they will agree that new ones are better corresponding their needs. As for me I am a little bit slow in adopting to new things. I have recently found UK Payday Loans Online from Direct Lenders and can not understand how I lived without it lat time. This service can help you to solve any monetary problems within 24 hours. So I am ready now for new developments.

  7. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, November 9, 2014 at 12:32 p.m.

    Right across from this column on MediaPost: JP Morgan Chase Customer Email addresses Were Exposed in Data Breach...turns out, as usual, it was worse than reported.

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