Eran Feinstein is the founder of 3G Direct Pay Group , a global e-commerce and online payments solutions provider for the travel and related industries. With over 14 years of experience leading technology, sales, marketing and operation teams, Eran is an authority in the East African e-commerce and payments arena. He’s also an avid marathon runner.
As of June 2016, there were an estimated 2.2 million mobile applications in the Android app store. More are added every day, with many apps selling the same basic function. A search of mobile payment applications in the Android app store reveals more than 60 top-rated apps on the first page of results, alone.
Facing that level of competition, app developers and owners are under considerable pressure to compete. Standing up and standing out are crucial goals for a new mobile payment application, particularly as it develops its reputation in the first few months. As you work to set your own mobile payment app apart from the others, the following five steps are a good place to start:
Gamification—that is, turning otherwise repetitive tasks or goals into “games” by adding points, levels, etc.—has been proven time and again as a prime way to engage users. App users, particularly Millennials, have responded to the phenomenon with enthusiasm, and it’s not hard to see why.
According to a survey by TalentLMS, almost 80% of learners report that they would be more productive if their university or workplace were more game-like. Over 60% would be motivated by increased competition with peers, and 89% would be more engaged with an e-learning system if it had a built-in points tiers.
As is evidenced by Pokémon GO, Minesweeper, Angry Birds, and every other purely entertainment-centered game, people simply respond well to games. When those games happen to carry meaning and weight, as is very possible with your app, jumping in the game is even more tempting.
One example of gamification is easy: offer loyalty points to users who continue to use the app or refer others to download the app.
Make and Share Content Online
The first step here is to have an active social media presence, perhaps “liking” or “following” any similar apps or organizations in an effort to stay informed and become a part of their circle. While it’s certainly worthwhile to share or retweet relevant content from these sources, you should focus on creating your own.
A great example of promotional yet practical content can be found in the recently redesigned Starbucks app. The app includes a visual and interactive moving stars display to keep track of reward points, but it also includes original content such as information on the music being played on store speakers in real time.
Another mobile payment app, by Bank of America, is constantly creating and sharing educational content on its YouTube page. Videos vary, from cheap DIY home improvement project tutorials to a video on how to create a safety net for emergencies. The common thread is financial education, and after building a relationship through these online videos, a user is more likely to download and use Bank of America’s mobile payment app.
Become PCI DSS Certified and Earn Customer Trust
The PCI Data Security Standards Council was established in 2006 by American Express, Discover, JCB International, MasterCard, and Visa, and the council exists to build and maintain customer trust in online transactions.
The importance of upholding PCI Data security standards cannot be emphasized enough, as businesses live and die over the issue. The theft of a customer’s data affects the entire online payment ecosystem, as customers lose trust in the system and merchants lose business in response.
When the team behind a mobile payment app is serious about PCI security standards, it shows. Customers will understand that the data they give you is to be protected in the same way that Visa and MasterCard protect their data. Build off of the trust that PCI standards garners, and potential customers won’t hesitate to share their information and register as users.
Accept Cross-Border Payments, Payments in Foreign Currency
Once a customer comes to accept that he or she can trust an online retailer with personal data and financial transactions, the customer’s focus shifts from security to convenience. With plane tickets available at lower prices than ever before, it’s very common for travelers to make regular purchases with credit and debit cards when traveling abroad. Just as common, however, is confusion over the resulting monthly bank statements.
When customers must use their credit and debit cards to pay for products in the host country’s currency, the conversion rate isn’t always clear. It’s harder for the customer to evaluate a deal when it’s presented in unfamiliar terms, and there is room for significant error in the customer’s ballpark estimate.
If you want to be one of the first in a wave of business owners to save your customers the trouble of uncertain currency conversion and transactional fees, you may want to incorporate dynamic currency conversion into your app.
DCC (dynamic currency conversion) does not require additional effort or integration. Once a customer swipes a credit card in a foreign country, DCC-enabled software recognizes the currency of the customer’s home country. The customer will then be offered a choice of one currency or the other to be used in the transaction process. A conversion rate is applied, and the amount in the home currency is automatically converted to the amount in the foreign currency.
Implementing DCC will not only help you reduce chargebacks, but it will increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Get Accepted by the Biggest Retailers
Once you’ve accomplished all four of the above steps, and once you’re confident that your mobile payment app is in top form, you can start to look outwards. This is a bit of the “chicken and the egg” – to get picked up by large external businesses, there should be a customer demand for your mobile payment app. But in order for your mobile payment app to get exposure and be used by more consumers, it should be accepted by more businesses.
While most apps are developed, managed, and marketed independently, there are the lucky few that do get picked up by external businesses with considerably more power.
If an app is accepted by an external company, be it an online retailer company, brick and mortar store, hotel or travel operator, its opportunities for exposure leap beyond what was originally expected. This has the additional benefit of placing the product’s listing beside better-known products, introducing it to a larger audience.
Getting accepted by a retailer is an extremely difficult task, though, and requires constant preparation. You can increase the chances of your mobile payment app being offered by external businesses if you offer B2B benefits such as strong 24/7 support, a convenient settlement policy, and/or competitive processing fees.
The best way to get your mobile payment app picked up by businesses, though, is to offer the complete turnkey mobile payment experience. In addition to accepting mobile payments via wallets and stored credit/debit card information:
- An mPOS solution app can give you an edge over the competition, as it allows businesses to accept credit card payments from their customers on the spot. This both increases their sales and their customers’ satisfaction.
- Enabling businesses to accept mobile money, email and SMS payments through your app lets them reach a wider audience of customers.
At the end of the day, however, most mobile payment app developers and owners market their product independently. It’s certainly more of a challenge than it might be if your product were picked up on its first night, but increasing mobile payment app users is intuitive. Focus on growth, convenience, and security, and users will find their way to you.