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Google updates mobile wallet to make purchasing faster

Google is continuing to expand its Google Wallet mobile payments application to insert it into a broader array of shopping experiences. In the latest news, the company is making Google Wallet available as a checkout service on mobile commerce and desktop sites.

The new version of Google Wallet supports mobile shopping by allowing users to quickly make purchases from mobile commerce sites without entering lengthy credit card information. As part of its ongoing efforts to refine the Google Wallet mobile payments application, Google also said it is discontinuing the Google Prepaid Card.

“If there are enough users of the Google Wallet to make it a useful payment method for merchants, then there is some value in it being an option,” said Drew Sievers, cofounder/CEO of mFoundry, San Francisco. “However, if the number of Google Wallet users is low, then there is very little value to the option.

“Google has the issue that all payment methods face, namely the issue of user count,” he said. “It’s always chicken and egg for payments: To get merchants, you need users, to get users you need merchants. 

“On the surface, it seems pretty similar to Checkout.”

Google Checkout was a ecommerce checkout service that never really caught on and was rolled into Google Wallet last year.

Online retailers a focus
Last month, Google revamped its mobile wallet application to support all credit and debit cards, giving users the ability to tap and pay for in-store purchases from these accounts by using the Google Wallet application. Google also released a cloud-based version of its Google Wallet app.

The new Google Wallet API announced recently by Google extends these services to retailers, enabling them to add Google Wallet as a checkout option on their mobile commerce and desktop sites.

The move comes at a time of fierce competition in the mobile payments space, with the Isis mobile wallet supported by several wireless carriers supposedly launching sometime this month and retailers such as Walmart and Target working together on their own mobile payments solution.

PayPal, another mobile payments competitor, offers its own checkout option for mobile devices.

The Google Wallet app.

Shopping card abandonment
Google said it is making the move into offering mobile checkout to address high shopping cart abandonment rates on both mobile and desktop.

One of the factors contributing to high shopping cart abandonment rates for mobile commerce sites is the fact that the requirement for shoppers to fill in up to 20 different fields on a small phone screen. As a result, shoppers often make many mistakes, get frustrated and give up.  

With Google Wallet installed as a payment option on a mobile commerce site, shoppers will be able to log into Google Wallet, eliminating the need to enter a 16 digit credit card number or other payment information.

Those who have already authorized Google Wallet as their payment method will be able to complete their transactions without leaving a merchant’s site.

Shoppers will also be able to use their Google accounts to login to merchant sites, so there is no need to remember multiple logins and passwords.

Google also said it will discontinue the Google Prepaid Card within the Google Wallet app and that it is making the move as a result of recently adding the ability for users to add any credit or debit card to the app.

Branding Brand, which helped develop many of the leading mobile commerce sites, is including Google Wallet as part of the commerce services it provides to retailers such as American Eagle Outfitters, Anthropologie and Sephora, among others. 

“A streamlined checkout is critical to good mobile conversion,” said Chris Mason, co-founder and CEO of Branding Brand, Pittsburgh, PA. “Our data shows that funnel conversion rates decrease dramatically as page count increases. 

“Mobile comes with its own set of use-cases and form-factors,” he said. “Multipage, desktop checkout flows were never intended for smartphones.

“Many of our clients are adding Google Wallet within the year. The process is already underway.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York