ClickZ Live Chicago recap: Scott Shamberg on mobile payments and multichannel retail

If you’re at the ClickZ Live Conference in Chicago or following on social media, you’ve probably heard that this is the “year of mobile” (which we’ve been saying for a while now). But this time… it might just be true, sort of.

In 2015, mobile traffic (finally) eclipsed desktop traffic and many retailers have used the year to adapt to the mobile landscape by creating mobile strategies, understanding longer-tail voice searches, measuring cross-device conversions and more.

However, if we put our efforts in the right place, 2016 might just be the year that advertisers truly understand mobile experiences and how to accurately tie those micro-moments and engagement metrics back to our in-store and digital campaigns.

I believe the more transacting we can track, the more data we can gather and the better we can optimize our advertising campaigns.

So, you can imagine how thrilled I was to sit in on a session with Scott Shamberg, the US President of Performics to learn about how mobile payments are changing the industry.


Multichannel: retail needs to keep up with consumer expectation

First, he covered how today’s consumers are more multichannel than ever. It’s partially due to the “Amazon Effect,” but also to other tech advances that have changed consumers’ expectations.

With decision-engines on site, personalized and intuitive search bars, and pocket assistants like Siri and Cortana who know intimate details of our day, consumers have grown to believe and expect that retailers should truly know them just as well. As a result, consumers are now more accustomed to using multiple channels simultaneously, especially as they shop.

According to research presented by Shamberg, 73% of consumers research products online, then buy in-store, while 53% of shoppers find in-store tech important for their shopping experience.

The trouble is, not all retailers have embraced the change and lack in-store technology that completes a meaningful shopping experience for the consumer.

Mobile payments

Shamberg presented a short history of mobile payments, the latest for in-store tech, and we identified some key players, including Starbucks using mobile payments and thereby creating another way to make themselves more accessible to the multichannel consumer.

On that note, Starbucks gets a gold star from me today because on the way to the conference, I ordered and paid for a coffee right on my iPhone, allowing me to skip a long line and make it in time for the Keynote (also, I was unconcerned by the look, color, typography, texture, weight or shape of my cup).

Mobile Payment History:

  • 1997 – First mobile commerce was created in Europe and Asia when Coca-Cola vending machines accepted payment via SMS
  • 2003 – Steve Jobs sees into the future saying, “Cellphones will become important devices for portable information”
  • 2006 – PayPal enabled mobility. Currently 20+ retailers accept PayPal
  • 2007 – iPhone launched and we had portable access to information at our fingertips
  • 2010 – Square launched, helping more SMBs easily accept credit card payments
  • 2014 – Amazon Local Register launched (discontinued in Oct. 2015) to help merchants process credit and debit payments on their mobile or tablet devices
  • 2014 – Apple Pay launched and took over the game, with 600+ retailers now accepting mobile payments via Apple Pay

Key Players:

  • Starbucks – Launched mobile payments in 2011. Has 13m app users with a portion of them using the mobile checkout option
  • Amazon – Has been opening a few pick-up locations, like one on the campus of Purdue University and gives customers the ability to pay for items on their phone, without ever needing to use the register
  • Walmart – Doesn’t currently accept Apple Pay due to “interchange fees,” but they are developing and testing their own technology to accept mobile payments in the future.
  • Snapchat – Snapchat has partnered with Square to produce Snapcash, which will allow users to exchange money within the Chat feature.

Better in-store experiences

After we learned quite a bit about mobile payments, Scott threw us a curveball. The presentation actually went far beyond just mobile payments and turned into how we can create better in-store experiences for our multichannel customers.

In a study shared by Shamberg, the number one tech-forward ability customers want from retailers is the ability to check inventory quickly. Think about a kiosk or app that allows you to see if the product is sold out or available at another store or online. A few other ideas we talked about included:

  • Ensuring your customers have access to WiFi
  • Creating coupons that integrate with Passbook or mobile wallets
  • Centralized ordering systems – think of tablets at restaurants used for mobile ordering
  • Using beacons to send your shoppers store and sale information when they are in the area

If you are interested in bringing more tech into your retail store to better connect with your customers, Scott has you covered with the How-to Guide below (I totally just snapped a photo).


Time to start planning for the future! While you’re at it though, understand that this isn’t only for your customers, but also for you as a forward-thinking marketer or retailer.

If you are using the right technology and engaging your customers to use it, you’ll have access to more data. By using this data, you’ll be able to continue to learn more about your customers, including their wants, needs, lifestyle, buying habits, device preference, favorite brands, and more.

The more you learn about your customers, the more you can cater to them in the future and the better chance you have at consistently earning their business time and time again.

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