Mobile Dynamics: Zalando vs. Apple Pay

At this year’s capital markets day Zalando showed us what the company understood to be its future positioning in a smartphone world. I commented on this slide regarding the company’s limits:


The second and the last one here are hard problems. (…)

To be clear, I am not questioning the ability to execute, but rather how much the context allows here. As in: You can only do with Instagram what Instagram itself allows. And you can only do within iOS what Apple allows. And so on. I went over a lot of this back in October of last year in “How Zalando Tries To Make Instagram Images Shoppable (And Mainly Fails)

A rumor, reported by Re/code, that Apple Pay is coming to mobile websites hints at another example of this dynamic:

Apple has been telling potential partners that its payment service, which lets shoppers complete a purchase on mobile apps with their fingerprint rather than by entering credit card details, is expanding to websites later this year, multiple sources told Re/code.

The service will be available to shoppers using the Safari browser on models of iPhones and iPads that possess Apple’s TouchID fingerprint technology, these people said.

Making Apple Pay not only available for payments within apps (and NFC enabled POSs) but also for mobile websites makes this mobile payment solution a no-brainer for all small to medium-size online merchants in the western world. Payments baked in at OS level could finally unlock a huge chunk of mobile commerce potential.

If I were a Paypal shareholder, this would concern me deeply.

But it also hints, as I said, at Zalando’s mobile future.

Where, exactly, can Zalando provide its partners “secure one-tap payment”?

Zalando is, same as Facebook and Amazon for example, not an OS provider like Apple and Google. The latter both have obviously more room to move.

That is why Facebook is feverishly building Messenger into a platform. That is also why Amazon is building new platforms elsewhere (Fire TV, Dash, Echo).

If you are not content with the possibilities and limits of being an app, you either try to move the platform play up the stack (Facebook) or you build your own platforms somewhere else (Amazon).

What is Zalando’s plan?

It is not clear yet.

Everything hints at the Facebook route. But Zalando’s messages are still too fluffy to make out a definite blueprint.

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