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Apple Pay: 'Retailers must ensure payment channels work together'

Following the announcement that a raft of UK retailers have signed up to the UK launch of Apple’s contactless payment service next month, technology and retail analysts give Drapers their reaction.

David Alexander, retail consultant at Conlumino, said: “Certainly retailers will be anticipating that many shoppers will adopt the technology because the iPhone is the most popular model in the UK. What retailer’s should keep in mind is that there will be a clear difference in age groups in terms of demand for it. Stores aimed at a young consumer will see a large take-up while older audiences might be slower or avoid it all together.”

Craig Bevan, managing director of retail for UK and Ireland at retail hardware, software and services provider Wincor Nixdorf, said: “Apple Pay’s launch in the UK is an exciting move by the company and sends out a clear signal to competitors. However, the reality is it’s just the latest in a long line of ways for consumers to pay for goods and services.

“What’s significant is that it gives retailers another channel to engage with today’s device driven consumer which can only positively impact the shopping experience in store. That said the real challenge for retailers is to ensure that all channels work together seamlessly. If they don’t provide the much-needed consistent experience that customers have come to expect, they will just walk away.”

Gavin Ray, senior vice president of products and marketing at mobile solutions firm ip.access, said: “Traditional retailers need to adapt and adopt rapidly developing technology in order for them to communicate with millennial customers in the right way. It is time to start opening conversations instead of simply pushing messaging at potential consumers and hoping you understood their needs.

“Ominpresence, or ominchannel, is becoming the Holy Grail for retailers in an era when consumers have more choice about how they shop than ever before. The honey of Apple’s evolution has the potential to attract more consumers than the bitter lemon that would be rejecting this customer-focused new technology.”

Georges Berzgal, managing director of marketing platform Bronto Europe said: “The announcement that Apple Pay is expanding beyond its initial US launch is an exciting one; the UK is a natural market for the m-payment service, not least because contactless card payments have already taken off here. In 2014, total contactless spend came in at £2.32 billion, according to the UK Cards Association.

“Personalised customer engagement – always a key aim for retailers – will also be bolstered via Apple Pay and by m-payments more broadly. Brands will be in a stronger position to identify and analyse shopping habits amongst their m-payment customers, and develop useful and targeted messages as a result.”

Lee Perkins, managing director of payment service provider Sage UK said: “The world of business has learnt a huge amount from the consumer payments landscape. Pioneers like Apple Pay have accelerated the pace for the payments sector and agile businesses will soon follow suit. 2015 is set to be a milestone year for the future of payments as businesses, like consumers, seek more secure, transparent, automated payments processes to give greater accuracy, efficiency and control of their money.”

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