The Square-Starbucks Deal Will Accelerate Digital Wallet Adoption

Today’s announced partnership between the West Coast innovators Square and Starbucks represents a significant milestone in the advancement of mobile payment and digital wallets. Here’s why:

  • New entrant scale. The Pay With Square digital wallet has suddenly catapulted from a respectable new entrant in mobile payments, driving adoption within the long-tail of retail, to soon being present in every Starbucks, and in NYC, that’s just about every other block. Starbucks, the leader of in-store mobile payments, says that 1 million people per week use its mobile payment app to pay in-store. Its existing mobile payment customers will now be Square’s customers, giving Square an immediate boost in the number of locations and consumers it reaches within the market.
  • Accelerated adoption. As with the Starbucks app, consumers have only to download the Pay With Square wallet and load their funding source in order to use it. But unlike the existing Starbucks app, the Square digital wallet works with other merchants. According to Square, merchant acceptance is very quick and no-to-low cost, and Square promotes its participating merchants to users of the wallet. I think this set of factors will motivate other merchants — both large and small — to use this as an opportunity to trial mobile payments in their stores. Today’s announcement is unclear about whether the initial implementation will have Starbucks embedded in the Pay With Square wallet, but at a minimum, this deal gives Square broader visibility and awareness and the opportunity to earn the confidence of new customers with its digital wallet, which will drive broader adoption overall.
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HTML5 – Maturing Desktop Browser Support Opens The Door To Enhanced Commerce Experiences

 

eBusiness and channel strategy professionals are no strangers to HTML5. Ubiquitous support for the next generation of open web technologies (HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript) across smartphones and tablets has made it easy for mobile development teams to start leveraging these technologies. However, fragmented browser support for HTML5 and CSS3 features on desktop browsers has thus far dampened the appetite of developers to embed HTML5 into their desktop eCommerce sites.

As we roll towards 2013, the tide is turning; leading online brands, including Apple, Best Buy, Four Seasons Hotels, and Rue La La to name a few, are now putting the features of HTML5 to use on their desktop sites with the goal of enhancing the online experience for customers using modern browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and IE9. We are at an inflection point: With consumer adoption of HTML5-“capable” desktop browsers widespread and web developer understanding of the technology rapidly maturing, HTML5 is no longer an emerging toolset for mobile and tablet development. Instead, it is fast becoming the de facto standard for web experience innovation across touchpoints.

As eBusiness teams evaluate the business case for HTML5 on the desktop, it is important to remember that this not an all-new technology— it is a collection of individual features that extend the existing W3C HTML standards. The decision to start using HTML5 or CSS3 does not require any changes to or throwing away of existing code. Instead, eBusiness teams can simply enhance the user experience of existing sites by incrementally using the new features of HTML5. HTML5 puts more tools in the box, but it doesn’t change the fundamentals of how to build the website.

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Join Me And Drive Our Next Generation Commerce Technology Research

Wow, do I have the perfect job for the right person. We have just posted a new position to join me in developing, creating, publishing, and delivering research and consulting services to inspire and guide eBusiness & Channel Strategy Professionals. This Associate Analyst will write and publish leading eCommerce and agile commerce research and become a critical member of Forrester’s eBusiness and channel strategy research team. They will also be out in front of our clients presenting research and helping them with challenging, important decisions.

The questions we are focused on at Forrester just keep getting more interesting and more strategic. There is so much more we can do to develop research on the technologies, services, and trends important to eCommerce and multichannel leaders across the globe. That’s why I am so excited about this. This person will help us scale our eBusiness technology research coverage and expand into important areas. (Don’t worry, there is a long list sitting right here to my left as I type this. You won’t get bored. Promise.)

This is a great opportunity to join a proven and growing research area on a fantastic team. If you are even remotely interested, check out the job description, and of course I encourage you to apply if you feel like this could be a good fit for you – or forward to that just-right person you know. This really is a great opportunity.

Who Will Displace Amazon? One Of These 3 Will

Last week, my colleague Brian Walker and I released a lengthy overview of Amazon, its role in retail, and what eBusiness executives need to do to compete with this growing retail force. The larger undercurrent of the report is that Amazon is affecting everyone’s business: its tentacles extend far into digital and physical goods, it is vertically integrated but also a distributor, it is unafraid to spend money to gain market share, and it can successfully compete on price with retailers far bigger than itself. And when disruptive forces arise, they dominate for years. So that begs an even bigger question of Amazon: if this is its decade, who will displace it? The company seems unstoppable now, and it will take a radical new business to displace it. Here are three possibilities:

  • Walmart with a monster marketplace. Walmart in its current form will only continue to lose share to Amazon. While Walmart continues to focus on aggressive pricing by pressuring suppliers, Amazon has an equally compelling value proposition for shoppers because it has a lucrative marketplace. And while Walmart has dipped its toe in a marketplace its own, it’s really been a mediocre effort. BUT if Walmart really had a bona fide marketplace, say, by acquiring eBay, it would give it an economic model more similar to Amazon’s: a high-margin business that can bolster the low-margin one. And deeper Walmart pockets mean that someone could finally out-Amazon Amazon.
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The Digital Wallets Wars Are the Next Phase of the Payments Industry Transformation

In my coverage as Forrester’s new payments analyst, I'll serve consumer product strategists who accept or facilitate payments as they create, navigate, and capitalize on digital disruption within payments.

We are in the early stages of unprecedented innovation and transformation of the consumer payments industry, and emergence of a digital wallet marketplace is the next act. The definition of a digital wallet continues to evolve as innovations come to market, and the term is sometimes used synonymously with “mobile payment.” However, there are significant differences. Forrester defines a digital wallet as:

A digital service — accessed via the web or a mobile application — that authorizes payment transactions from one or more payment sources and facilitates other commerce-related features, such as offers, coupons, loyalty rewards, electronic receipts, and product information.

As new wallets are introduced into the market, we will see consumers and merchants accelerate their trial and adoption. Yesterday, Google announced a new cloud-based version of their digital wallet that intends to address many of impediments associated with their first version.  In my new report out today, titled “Why The Digital Wallet Wars Matter," I frame the emerging digital wallet landscape, provide a profile of early adopters and how to capture their attention, and outline which wallets will ultimately win in the marketplace. Here are the key takeaways:

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