Mobile is a ‘lifestyle,’ and other lessons from Alipay

By Casey Bullock for PaymentsSource

Alipay has grown to become the most widely-used online payment method in the world.

According to Worldpay’s 2016 Global Payments Report, Alipay currently accounts for 44% of global mobile wallet spend and is on pace to reach 60% by 2020. Some of this success can be attributed to Alipay being introduced to China when mobile wallet adoption was booming, as well as the sheer size of the Chinese customer-base.

But several other factors also contribute to Alipay’s success. Here are strategic steps mobile wallet providers, should consider if they hope to gain a bigger share of the global ecommerce market.

Push mobile as a lifestyle. Mobile wallets have capabilities far beyond purchasing physical goods. A key to Alipay’s success has been its ability to turn mobile payments into a lifestyle choice embedded into daily activities and interactions, rather than simply a form to complete a purchase. Consumers in China use Alipay when booking a taxi, searching for a restaurant, or chatting with friends, in addition to completing a purchase or peer-to-peer payment. By contrast, Western consumers, such as those in Europe and the U.S. are more likely to open their browsers – rather than a mobile wallet – to buy goods and use a purpose-built app, such as PayPal or Venmo for money transfers.

Another way in which Alipay is integrating its payments into consumers’ lifestyles is by launching the Alipay Local Services Platform in more than 12 countries and regions to enable Chinese tourists to “travel like locals” when they are traveling abroad. The platform will enable more than 100 million Chinese tourists worldwide to easily find and use local services in the Alipay app. Western mobile wallet providers can follow in Alipay’s footsteps by placing more of an emphasis on making mobile wallets part of the day-to-day lifestyle for consumers.

Offer enhanced security. Security is a top concern for consumers no matter how they choose to make payments. In fact, according to Worldpay’s 2015 Online Payment Journey study, 51% of retail consumers know a website is a secure place to shop if they see payment authentication logos on the homepage. If your mobile wallet re-directs customers to a different page for payments, authentication logos are key to maintain sales. To enhance customer loyalty, mobile wallet providers should join security initiatives like the W3C Web Payments Working Group or obtain all applicable payment certifications – and make sure the emphasis on security is clear to customers.

Gaining a piece of the mobile payments market over Alipay might be especially pertinent for payments providers in Europe and the U.S., as Alipay recently partnered with Point of Sale vendors in both markets to support its continued growth. While many other steps, both small and large, may be necessary for mobile payment providers and other companies to rival Alipay, these two steps have the potential to be crucial in achieving competitive success.

First appeared at PS