Cellum Insights

Payments don’t need to be “sexy” – they need to be invisible

Guest post by Cellum marketing manager Miklós Kucsera

Google has recently been pushing a concept called “micro-moments.” As they describe it, mobile has “fractured the consumer journey into hundreds of real-time, intent-driven micro-moments,” each of which offers brands a special opportunity to connect with consumers.

While there are lots of interesting insights in the related research that they have made public, “micro-moments” is basically just a sexy way of saying “people do lots of things in a day on their phones really quickly and you need to adjust accordingly if you want to make an impression on them.”

Cellum marketing manager Miklós Kucsera: Consumers unlikely to spend their "micro-moments" pondering payment brands.

Kucsera: Consumers unlikely to spend their “micro-moments” pondering payment brands.

For many in the mobile payments industry, “sexy” is also the answer to the question of how to adjust to consumers’ changing behavior. In fact, I was recently having a discussion with the head of a national mobile trade group in Europe and he used the word “sexy” to describe what payments needed to be. I disagreed.

I can see why payment firms, like any brands competing for consumers’ attention, would want to seem as alluring and seductive as possible. And there’s no question that when it comes to user interface design, a bit of sexiness never hurts. However, when it comes to overall user experience, I think less is definitely more, and we have to realize that the solutions we offer need to be not about us, but about the user. So every once in a while, it helps to take a step back and ask ourselves: what do people want from us?

Quite simply, there is no evidence that consumers of any type care all that much about how they pay for things, beyond having the ability to make a quick and secure payment. Because remember, whatever micro-moment a mobile payment may be part of, the person making the payment probably wants to get done with it as fast as possible so they can move on to the next thing in their life, mobile or not.

Again, brands exist to be build and burnished, and until mobile payments reach some next level of ubiquity there will need to be an ongoing process of consumer education. But the end game should be for firms in the mobile payment space to take a cue from the global card schemes, who long ago learned that to the extent their customers give them any thought, it’s something like “I hope this goes through, and quickly, because I’ve got somewhere to go.

I’d say more but I think you get the point, and we both have other things we need to get to.