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Why touch commerce will reign supreme in 2016: report

As consumers become more comfortable with making purchases on smartphones, the number of users tapping a third-party touch-based payment platform for mobile checkout is expected to increase by 150 percent this year, according to research from Deloitte Canada.

Deloitte’s 2016 Canadian technology, media and telecommunications predictions forecast a continuation of mobile payments going mainstream, especially as marketers begin to adopt more payment platforms, such as Apple Pay, as well as authorization tools, including Touch ID. The number of consumers using a touch-based payment service to make a purchase on mobile this year is expected to rise to more than one million users in Canada, even though mobile checkout optimization has not yet reached its zenith.

“We are making significant strides [with online checkout],” said Duncan Stewart, director of research, technology, media and telecommunications at Deloitte Canada. “The use of technology on phones and online Web sites is making real progress with what we call touch commerce, the ability to auto-populate a mobile checkout form.

“It’s an important step along the journey toward peak mobile checkout optimization, but it is not going to be a problem solved in 2016.”

Auto-complete’s inevitable rise
Deloitte predicts that consumers will not be forced to manually fill out payment information and shipping details on small smartphone screens for much longer, as the mobile commerce world moves closer to the days where auto-populating information will be the new standard.

The rise of technologies such as mobile wallets and Touch ID verification will also make it easier for customers to complete transactions, since all they will need is their fingerprint or initial sign-in details. The mobile payment platforms will remember each user’s unique information after the first transaction is completed, and auto-populate it for each subsequent purchase.

This trend, referred to as touch commerce, is likely to have a significant – and positive – effect on mobile sales.

“It will decrease mobile shopping cart abandonment,” Mr. Stewart said.

Touch commerce will help retailers leverage the growing amount of time that shoppers spend on their mobile devices while on-the-go. Shopping cart abandonment on smartphone devices may sometimes reach levels as high as 80 percent, signifying that easier checkout experiences are sorely needed.

In fact, streamlined checkout has been identified as a driving factor for increased mobile buying.

This should be a primary concern for all marketers seeking to fuel mobile sales this year.

“The nice thing about touch commerce is that it’s relatively straightforward for retailers and brands to participate in,” Mr. Stewart said. “When you look across that spectrum of touch commerce options, retailers should very much be thinking about ‘how do I reduce friction for my customers primarily browsing on their mobile device?’”

Eliminating friction
Retailers should also ensure they support a wide variety of operating systems, payment cards and third-party options such as PayPal. If payment choices for consumers are rife, they will have fewer opportunities to second-guess the contents in their virtual shopping carts and leave the site or app empty-handed.

Touch commerce, aided by the help of third-party platforms, will remove the negative aspects surrounding mobile transactions and transform the process into one requiring a simple fingerprint, or one or two touches on a screen.

Deloitte predicts that two principal types of third-party mobile payment options will be most popular in 2016. The first links to devices’ operating systems, and will typically require shoppers to verify a purchase via fingerprints.

Consequently, retail apps will be able to pull existing information from the smartphone’s operating system, and ship purchased goods to the address stored within.

Deloitte Canada’s Paul Lee and Duncan Stewart discuss mobile touch commerce

The second type of service links to existing payment providers, such as Visa Checkout or PayPal. Each user must register for an account and input all personal information at that time, but will have the option to stay logged in indefinitely.

Therefore, future purchases would need to be authenticated with a “buy now” button but would not require additional manual entry of details.

Retailers that take these technologies into account and work toward offering streamlined checkout experiences will likely see their sales strengthen this year.

One unnamed merchant referenced in Deloitte’s research claimed that the original checkout in its legacy app required 103 seconds for users to type in their details, as opposed to 17 seconds after teaming up with a third-party touch commerce provider.

Nevertheless, marketers will need to work within their boundaries and expect realistic results.

“Retailers need to keep realistic expectations,” Mr. Stewart said. “You may be able to drive that number higher, but you’re unlikely to get everyone who’s filling out that form to complete the purchase.”