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Apple Pay providing “incredible lift” to mobile e-commerce: Shopify

One-touch payment system is easing pain points of phone-based transactions.

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Apple Pay is providing an “incredible lift” to mobile e-commerce just two months after it launched on the web, according to Shopify.

“We really recommend to all our merchants to add Apple Pay,” says Brandon Chu, senior product manager at the Ottawa-based company, which provides e-commerce tools to more than 300,000 businesses.  “It’s very, very promising.”

Chu declined to share specific figures, but says Apple Pay is better suited for mobile e-commerce than it is for physical in-store transactions because it eases several pain points.

While many websites are seeing the majority of their web traffic arriving via mobile, consumers are still reluctant to make purchases on their phones because they often have to fill out forms and enter credit card numbers.

Many instead opt for the more comfortable and private experience of completing transactions on a desktop or laptop at work or at home.

The web version of Apple Pay, launched in September, replaces the need for forms with a one-touch payment system. Users’ information is stored in a sort of central repository that then securely directs payments to merchants.

“The proposition for in-person [use] has more to do with security and less so about reducing friction. It’s the opposite online,” Chu says. “Apple Pay has a much bigger fit online.”

Shopify expects bigger uptake of Apple Pay with its merchant customers in 2017 and is working on adding functionality for Android Pay, Google’s rival payment system. Chu says the company hasn’t made Samsung Pay, a third system, a priority yet.

Apple Pay’s fortunes in the physical world, so far, are not clear.

Apple has touted the feature, which lets iPhone users pay for purchases by tapping their device on enabled in-store terminals, as a success. The company says it accounts for three-quarters of contactless payments in the United States.

But independent estimates have instead suggested Apple Pay is a flop, accounting for only a tiny amount of eligible transactions.

A report last December from tracking firm InfoScout found that Apple Pay usage in stores was almost half its level a year earlier, indicating that it might have been a flash-in-the-pan novelty after its initial release in 2014.

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