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Cole Haan streamlines customer journey with in-app Apple Pay

Cole Haan has integrated Apple Pay within its mobile shopping application for online-only purchases, as the footwear and accessories brand becomes the latest retailer to embrace what is viewed as a competitive edge offered by the system’s ability to let consumers make one-touch purchases.

The move lets Cole Haan users download the app to an iPhone, navigate to a product page, select the desired size and buy the item with a single tap of the thumb. With Cole Haan now in the Apple Pay camp, contactless mobile payments are picking up steam online, although challenges continue to plague in-store adoption due to various difficulties, including inexperienced store associates.

“The consumer mentality is ‘I want what I want when I want it’ and mobile is at the centerpiece,” said Josh Krepon, vice president for global digital commerce at Cole Haan, Greenland, NH. “Our position is to provide a great user experience for consumers who want to engage with us on the mobile Web or through a mobile application.

“We plan to bring extraordinary stories, craft, style and engineering to life through our mobile application.”

On the go
Cole Haan gets about half its traffic from mobile, including a significant amount from smartphones. Given that the brand’s typical customer is on the go and online at all times, bringing the mobile wallet into its popular mobile application made sense.

Cole Haan’s Apple Pay promotion.

Cole Haan has strived to make its PredictSpring-co-developed app necessary to keep consumers coming back to it.

The app’s features include Shop the Look, allowing consumers to shop directly from the retailer’s Instagram feed, and geo-fencing technology that alerts consumers to nearby Cole Haan stores.

Apple Pay, launched in September, is an NFC-based solution, which lets users place their thumb on the Touch ID sensor to initiate a payment.

Despite its more convenient experience, Apple Pay depends on retailers’ having contactless terminals in place. Many still do not.

Retailers who accept Apple Pay may find it a competitive advantage during the upcoming holiday season. For one thing, Apple Pay also works with many major credit cards, allowing consumers to simply link up their existing cards.

On the downside, Apple Pay is not available on Android phones. The move to contactless terminals is still in the early stages and could take a while to gain mainstream acceptance.

The timeline for Apple Pay to reach critical mass is roughly two years, in part because of the EMV terminal migration which will promote merchant NFC capabilities, and the time it takes for most consumers to upgrade to an iPhone 6, carrier contracts notwithstanding.

Key goal
While Apple Pay has made inroads online, in-store contactless mobile payments are experiencing resistance due to technology difficulties, inexperienced store associates and an evolving landscape.

Gaining a competitive edge with Apple Pay.

Enabling in-store mobile payments at scale is viewed as a key goal but one that has proven to be elusive over the past few years for a variety of reasons. The latest setbacks include reports of Apple Pay not working at Home Depot stores. 

“The evolution of one-touch payment will be instrumental in shifting the balance of mobile phone usage from discovery and influence to commerce,” Mr. Krepon said.

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York