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Staples adopts Apple Pay for Web after in-app success

Office supplier Staples is investing more in Apple Pay for online purposes after it saw 30 percent of its mobile application sales coming through the mobile pay program, but its in-store usage is lacking.

The company announced that customers can now use Apple Pay to check out with a single authentication through their Apple device’s Touch ID on mobile outside of just its app. This removes the somewhat tedious process of entering credit card information through a mobile site, suggesting that the success of Apple Pay in-store is being expanded to every aspect of the retailer’s channels.

“Apple Pay is still in the early days of web acceptance, but given the brand awareness and cards on file one can assume their success rate will be significant,” said Jon Squire, CEO and founder of Cardfree. “Given that in-store is still beholden to NFC terminalization it may also be safe to assume that online could have a more immediate impact.”  

Apple Pay
Staples was one of the retailers in the first wave of Apple Pay adopters in November of 2014. Since then, the company has gone on record saying that it has been successful in purchases made through its mobile app, but less so when it comes to in-store checkout.

As reported by Apple Insider, the brand saw 30 percent of its mobile app sales coming through Apple Pay. Meanwhile, Apple Pay is not even in the top three for Staples’ in-store purchasing methods.

It seems that Staples is leaning into Apple Pay’s strengths by opening up its use on the office supplier’s mobile Web site in addition to its mobile app.

Now, users can link their Apple Pay accounts with their Staples accounts and simply sign in to the mobile Web site. Once signed in, purchases can be made just as smoothly as through the mobile app by accessing the consumer’s Apple Pay account.

All that is required to finalize the purchase is for the consumer to confirm his or her identity through Apple’s Touch ID.

“Anytime you introduce a new means of payment for customers it’s key that it work seamlessly across all channels to reinforce both the experience and the brand support for the payment type,” Mr. Squire said. “Checkout can quickly become one of those natural speed bumps in your consumer process if you don’t provide ubiquity.”

A wider audience
Opening up Apple Pay for use on the mobile Web could also help bring up transaction numbers due to the fact that Apple Pay on the mobile Web can be completed with a larger number of devices.

In-store, Apple Pay can only be used with the iPhone 6 and later, as well as the Apple Watch. On the mobile Web, Apple Pay can be used with the iPhone 6 and later as well as any iPad that was released after Apple Pay was introduced – the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, etc.

Additionally, opening up the service to the mobile Web means that customers will not need to have the Staples app installed in order to use Apple Pay to make purchases. Even with the expanded storage capacities of modern smartphones, brands with dedicated apps still have to compete for limited screen and storage space on users’ mobile devices.

Now, however, Staples can reach a segment of its audience who have not and will not download its app by letting them reach the brand through the mobile Web.

Big retailers like Staples are still divided on where their loyalties stand when it comes to mobile payments. Some appear loyal to third-party payment options such as Staples and Apple Pay, while others are branching off and creating their own first-party systems that work specifically with their own apps.

As an example of a retailer that is forging its own path through the mobile payments world, Kohl’s just recently announced Kohl’s Pay in a turn away from Apple Pay, of which it had been an early adopter (see story).

CVS has followed suit with its own CVS Pay, confirming longstanding rumors that it would not be accepting Apple Pay (see story).

“At some point customer check out options begins to bleed into customer overload/fatigue,” Mr. Squire said. “It would seem that a neutral tokenization engine that could predicate which card/payment type on file gets used would be a welcome choice to the customers of the future.”