Amazon’s challenge to PayPal in mobile-enabled online payments gains steam
Amazon saw more than 25 percent of Login and Pay with Amazon payments come from mobile devices in 2014, underscoring the power of streamlined checkout processes on mobile as well as the online retailer’s growing role in driving mobile commerce across the Web.
Amazon has also been differentiating itself from other retailers by offering a more seller-friendly brand approach, which includes its 2014 rollout of the Amazon Seller app, a mobile application designed to help on-the-go sellers manage business transactions on their smartphones. These features, combined with the wide inventory of products Amazon provides, led to the brand seeing more than 2 billion units ordered worldwide from businesses of all sizes.
“Amazon is true to its core,” said Djamel Agaoua, CEO of MobPartner, San Francisco. “Companies can learn from this by putting their sellers at the center of everything.
“Just like consumers are doing their shopping on the move, the Amazon Seller App helps sellers manage their Amazon businesses on-the-go directly from their mobile devices. Amazon also understands that location and time of day are no longer barriers to shopping, which has become a 24/7 activity.”
Catering to sellers
The brand’s desire to cater to sellers, a large audience of its platform, likely contributed to the record-setting year for Amazon. The Amazon Seller app, which is designed for Fire phones in addition to iOS and Android devices, allows sellers to quickly manage their businesses’ inventory, list and source new items on the mcommerce site and respond to customer questions.
Users can confirm shipments and pending orders, receive notifications when an item sells and compare current prices and sales ranks of similar products. The app also enables sellers to estimate profitability of units before anything is uploaded to sell.
Amazon attempted to reduce barriers for cross-border selling by expanding recruitment for new sellers worldwide and selecting from emerging areas such as Singapore, Australia and South Korea.
The brand also rolled out advanced shipping options in 2014 that appealed to time-strapped consumers. The Prime Now service allowed users of its mobile app to select one-hour or two-hour delivery in select test areas of Manhattan, with plans for future cities to be enacted in 2015.
Amazon worked to improve delivery experiences for European customers with Borderless Fulfillment, which enabled Prime members of Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.fr and Amazon.de to receive access to free two-day delivery for products from sellers using the Fulfillment by Amazon service.
The service, which grew more than 65 percent worldwide, is designed for sellers to ship their items directly to consumers while offering Amazon Prime features such as free shipping and easy returns.
Login and Pay convenience
The Login and Pay function allows for consumers to quickly check-in to their Amazon accounts on their mobile devices, and purchase an item with just a few taps of their finger. The feature was expanded to European users in 2014, prompting an even wider audience to use the secure payment method, which also prompts impulse purchases.
Login and Pay offers a payment button on partnering sites that is designed to compete with checkout services such as PayPal. Users on participating retailers’ sites will spot a “Pay with Amazon” button next to credit card or third-party payment options, and can log in with their Amazon account, which has credit card information already loaded.
“People are flocking to mobile purchases due to the convenience for on-the-go shopping,” Mr. Agaoua said. “However, it’s critical that mcommerce apps also make the buying process easy and convenient for their consumers (i.e., a 1 or 2-step checkout), which Amazon has successfully achieved.”
Amazon Payments enticed sellers to use this function by offering a Growth Guarantee for those that adopted Login and Pay: businesses were allowed to trial the service and receive a refund of up to $100,000 in transactions if they did not see an increase in sales.
Select sellers that used Login and Pay were also allowed to offer Prime members special benefits from their commerce sites.
With all of Amazon’s international-friendly features, such as the Amazon Currency Converter for Sellers, brands seeking to compete with the mcommerce retailer must ensure that they too offer benefits for sellers in addition to streamlined checkout processes for customers.
“I see Amazon’s mcommerce numbers increasing in 2015, as Amazon is well positioned to benefit from the trend of growing global purchases made via mobile,” Mr. Agaoua said.
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York