The numbers are in on the usage of Apple Pay (Apple’s digital wallet) on Black Friday and they aren’t pretty. According to a survey of more than 400 users conducted by InfoScout, more than 95% of iPhone 6 and 6+ users could have paid with Apple Pay on Black Friday and didn’t. And most iPhone 6 and 6+ users haven’t even given it a try.
I have a couple theories as to why:
Reason #1. The honeymoon for Apple Pay was over before it began. On September 19, 2014, I tuned in to the live streamed iPhone 6 launch event and waited with anticipation. The excitement level was at a fever pitch as techno geeks around the world watched and listened. Even the bandwidth problems and annoying Chinese interpreter were forgiven as Tim Cook went through the features.
He introduced Apple Pay, and how safe, secure and easy it would be to use. But, and here’s the nail in the coffin, it wouldn’t be available until October 20 – a whole month later – long after the new gadget honeymoon and lovefest would be over. If it would have been available on September 19 along with the phone, people would have been playing with all the features like kids on Christmas morning. But just like the newness of anything wears off (how long did you really play with that Cabbage Patch doll?), this would be the case for Apple Pay before it even got started. While something is new and exciting, people are willing to work at learning and discovery, but perhaps a month was too long to wait.
Reason #2. Lack of instructions. Being the payments person I am, I was ready on October 20 to begin using Apple Pay. But, how does it fire up and where is it located on my phone? Do you simply wave it at the merchant terminal? Nope. I checked the Apple website for instructions. Nothing. I googled it and after some serious digging, found that you have to update your iPhone 6 or 6+ to iOS 8.1. Here’s a good video on how to get started. I finished the download and linked my credit cards to the phone. Ready to shop!
Reason #3. Lack of merchant communications and training. I headed to Macy’s because I had heard they are one of the merchants accepting Apple Pay. At the cash register I looked around for ANY sign of Apple Pay acceptance. Nothing. I asked the salesman if I could pay with it and he said, “sure, although I’m not sure how to do it.” After some finagling, he figured it out and it took a couple tries of waving the phone in front of the POS terminal (credit card swiper) at the right point in the transaction. Done. I got a notification on my phone of the purchase.
Since that day, I’ve looked and asked around at most stores I shop in and found no signage or communications regarding Apple Pay.
I stumbled upon this chart explaining why people aren’t using it. The number one reason is that people don’t know if the store accepts it – again – lack of communications.
It will be interesting to see what Apple comes up with to change these issues. They lost a huge opportunity in not taking advantage of the new iPhone lovefest within that first month after release. Maybe the launch of the Apple Watch will be another chance. Have you tried Apple Pay? Let me know about your experience.