Getting ready for Apple Pay

The last month has seen significant mobile news for retailers and brands. Nordstrom is now selling product from Instagram, forever ensuring that it’s feed will link to a product page every time. 

A click on this image feeds into the product page for the pearl bracelet, $48. Not the soda. 

A click on this image feeds into the product page for the pearl bracelet, $48. Not the soda. 

Apple is making a move into less affluent markets with the iPhone 5C, Boku is enabling carrier billing in the European Union, PayPal separated from eBay, and retailers are embracing mobile in-store service at a much higher rate.


The piece of mobile news that caught most retailers’ ear was the launch of Apple Pay in the US. It will be one of the easier technologies to implement, and given the market penetration of the iPhone (in the US it is 42.4 percent as of July 2014), and the mobile payment method major retailers will want to adopt.

Apple Pay appeals to customer’s sense of security because only a token is transferred to the retailer, no credit or banking information. But this does have implications for loyalty programming as no other customer information is connected with the transaction. Personalized online shopping experiences are at risk for these customers, as are loyalty rewards.

Retailers can reach out to payment terminal providers to set up their business for Apple Pay. EMV standard contactless payment (tap payment) will need to be functioning in-store. And for those brands and retailers with Apps – familiarize yourself with the Developer page for Apple Pay.

ADDITIONAL | Has mobile payment hit it’s tipping point?

1 Billion reasons to celebrate: Nordstrom's online success

Written by David McKay

Seattle-based Nordstrom's online sales surpassed the $1 billion mark in 2012, which was a 37% increase over the previous year - six times the average company growth over its history.  Free shipping and free returns, in addition to access to inventory in every Nordstrom store (not just limited to e.commerce allocations) has helped fuel the business.  Customer usability has also also been a significant factor.  Customers can see items in any colour on a model, may contact a style stylist, and with # of clicks to product under 3.  


Additionally, the 2011 acquisition of flash-sale site HauteLook has been a key part of Nordstrom's strategy.  "We may have done a good job over the years with the Baby Boomer generation, but we have also got to figure out to be relevant to the Millennial customer, and HauteLook has built a business on figuring that out," said Jamie Nordstrom, the retailer's President of Direct.  The average age of a HauteLook member  is 30 with a household income of $75,000 yearly.  The two companies are beginning to align in more significant ways.  HauteLook has been a product testing ground for Nordstrom's 119 Rack locations - allowing the bricks-and-motar channel to buy with greater confidence product which did extremely well on the flash site.  Lorac cosmetics has been one such success story.  


Many luxury department stores are onto the next round of site improvements.  Saks Fifth Avenue has improved its navigation, is showing larger images and providing more editorial-like content.  Canadian luxury retailer Holt Renfrew continues to support a Showroom environment - showing product flat on white backgrounds, with some editorial images from its social media sites and printed catalogues.  Sales through the channel are limited to Gift Cards, available to be purchased and shipped only within the country.  Nordstrom, which is entering the Canadian marketplace next year with its first bricks-and-motar stores, has 15,000 Canadian credit card holders and offers easy shipping and returns to the US through their e.commerce channel already.