Apple bolsters mobile wallet with desktop functionality

Consumers shopping online via desktop devices will soon be able to pay for goods using Apple’s mobile wallet.

The technology giant announced last night at its global conference that it will be making an Apple Pay button available for retailers to embed on their desktop websites. The button will link to a shopper’s iPhone device and using touch ID fingerprint technology on their mobile, they will be able to authenticate the desktop purchase.

Apple bought its Apple Pay digital wallet to the UK last summer, which allows customers to make payments in-store by tapping their mobile device at a contactless POS terminal and verifying with a fingerprint ID. The technology also allows customers to purchase on participating mobile sites with a scan of a thumbprint, removing the cumbersome process of manually typing in card details.

But the extension of this technology will now allow customers to use the Apple digital wallet to make purchases from participating eCommerce sites on Safari desktop browsers.

eCommerce providers IBM and Demandware confirmed their retail clients will be able to integrate Apple Pay on desktop sites when it rolls out to Safari browsers on iPhone, iPad and Mac in September.

Demandware noted while consumers are increasingly shopping on mobile devices, most choose to convert on desktop computers because the checkout process is easier.

“In the last year, mobile has become the consumer’s number one choice for shopping, however, the checkout process hasn’t caught up with this shift," said Elana Anderson, senior vice president of marketing at Demandware. "Now, by enabling Apple Pay on their Demandware storefronts, merchants will be able to offer a frictionless checkout experience in Safari whether via mobile or desktop, easily converting traffic into sales.”

Demandware’s CEO, Tom Ebling, told Essential Retail at the vendor’s partner conference in Berlin today that he expects to see an initial uptake of the technology by his retail customers. He said the technology is limited to Apple customers, but even within the Apple community to customers who own the latest iPhones with biometric capabilities.

“But we can already see this in our shopping index that Apple users spend more than other customers,” he said. “So as they adopt new Apple technologies, it will be a tremendous asset to making retail frictionless in whatever environment customers are in.”

Ebling also noted how the technology is restricted to Apple’s Safari browser, but he doubts Apple would offer the functionality to other browsers in the future.  

Meanwhile, Rob Green, CTO of Monitise Create, added: "Customer expectation is driving so much of the digital innovation we see transforming the retail experience. One of the biggest frustrations for shoppers has always been friction at the checkout which has resulted in billions of pounds worth of shopping being 'left in the basket' every year. As a business, we were flagging this threat to retailers back in 2011 so it has taken Apple a good five years to bring a solution to market. Retailers have a huge opportunity to compete on digital experience and jumping on board the Apple train will certainly be a necessary move."

What’s Hot on Essential Retail?