Another player to the mobile payment phenomenon has joined the match.
Google rolled out further measures to their already-existing Google Wallet-Gmail integration, by giving recipients the ability to “receive or request money right from the email itself — without having to install another payment app. They can even arrange for money they receive to go directly into their bank account.”
While “Google Wallet has been integrated into Gmail on the web since 2013, [in the new update] Google is rolling out a new integration on mobile. Gmail app users on Android will be able to send or request money with anyone, including those who don’t have a Gmail address, with just a tap.”
Users aren’t required to have a Gmail address, but must have the Gmail app on an Android device opened to participate. At the moment, only Android users can join in the festivities. “You can send money using their [the recipient’s] email address or phone number and there is no need that the recipient needs to have the Wallet app.”
Here’s a demonstration of how it works:
Looks simple enough, right? It’s basically a response to the functionality expansion of communication apps to include money exchanges. “Snapchat offers the ability for friends to pay others via Snapcash, Facebook has a similar feature through Messenger, and, outside the U.S., messaging app WeChat is becoming a mobile payment giant.”
Plain and simple, “the goal, seemingly, is to take on quick payment apps like PayPal, Venmo or Square Cash, by offering a feature to move money right within Gmail’s app.”
Convenience is the driving factor in all of these developments and expansions. By turning your platform into an all-encompassing, versatile entity, you’re obviously going to appeal to more users. Google especially gets a one-up with the fact that you don’t even need a Gmail account, nor do you have to download a 3rd party app.
It’s all done right within the one app, and that money can automatically be directed to a bank account.
What this also means, besides having yet another platform for mobile payment transfers, is the propping up of email addresses as an important marketing tool:
“Email is not just a channel, but also a personal form of identification superior to the industry-standard cookie, whose value is deteriorating thanks to the boom in blocking and browser privacy.”
Google looks at email addresses as an ubiquitous touchpoint that distinguishes online users from each other. Think of it like a fingerprint or a social security number; no two are going to be alike. The worldwide search engine even cites how “a user’s email address is the key to digital identification across all channels.”
Think about it: what’s the first thing Android or iOS/Apple asks after you buy their device and choose your language? Your email address! You use it to log into your devices, apps, websites, and accounts, and it’s the first thing asked whenever you try to make a purchase on your mobile device. Once you do, you’re automatically in Google or Apple’s database.
Plus, it’s such an essential part of life that it only makes sense to utilize email addresses as something more than a messaging system:
- “Consumers have an average of 3.2 personal and business email addresses per person.”
- “73% prefer email over SMS, direct mail and app notifications for communicating with businesses.”
- “78% of 14-24 year olds say they have email addresses because email is part of everyday life.”
Value is being discovered in the email address, which will likely lead to a surge of email marketing and development into other, profitable practices. After all, if this integration allows peer-to-peer transaction and the recipient doesn’t even need a Gmail account, where does it end?
These peer-to-peer transactions only requiring an email address and the Gmail app sets an intriguing precedent. Knowing that there will be an inevitable adoption by iOS/Apple will only expand the market. This competition, initially spurred by the likes of Venmo and PayPal, will lead to a greater expansion of mobile payment capabilities.
If you’re into predictions, then this should lead the way for a further transaction expansion overall, not just between friends going out to dinner and splitting a bill, but in the B2B and B2C market, as well. The next updates, once proven reliable and secure, could be businesses initiating sales through their email marketing efforts.
That sort of development would change the way we look at email marketing. It would actually encourage more users to open their emails. Consolidating the transaction process to an email would eliminate a significant portion of the buyer’s journey altogether. Sure you might lose website clicks, but this is a non-issue when the ultimate goal for all retailers should be conversion:
“A new perspective on digital marketing in which brands view their email databases not as millions of data records, but as a collection of individuals to whom they must shape their messaging to reflect their personal needs, interests and goals.”
Digital marketing strategies could be turned upside down. There’s already importance in reaching out through that channel, but there’s the possibility it could be turned into an entire marketplace complete with transaction capabilities in the future.
However, there are going to be objections to the fact that you can now make payment transfers with something as simple, and seemingly vulnerable, as an email address:
Google defends itself:
“Gmail isn’t vulnerable the way so many other email systems are; Google ensures that. Gmail as an email client is the best use case for email. It’s user-friendly. It hasn’t been backed.”
This is where issues are going to emerge. As much as we use our email addresses online to connect with Apple or Google, there’s still going to be a tinge of doubt once you start transparently trusting them to safeguard all of your financial information.
Again, this is even though you already trust them with your email address. There’s just something about mobile payments and making transactions with something as simple as an email address that can draw reluctance.
Regardless, this is just another step closer to fully optimized convenience, where almost two or three steps of the buyer’s journey is replaced with one. If you can make things easier for your audience through a new and innovative piece of technology, especially compared with someone else in the same industry, you will undoubtedly have the advantage.