The world of commerce and payments saw a lot of movement in 2014 and we expect even further change in the coming year, as mobile technology matures and the use of social media as a transaction venue increases.
Here are some of my predictions for the year ahead.
Mobile commerce will finally take off. Apple Pay is a big deal for apps that previously had to collect payment details manually. The friction involved in pecking in all of your information on a small screen has been a considerable barrier for many consumers, especially in apps that wanted to charge a dollar or two for small services. Now that thats as simple as one touch, we expect a whole new category of apps to appear.
Beyond that, Apple Pay brings the market scale and security assurances needed to make mobile payments far more mainstream. With tens of millions of Apple Pay-enabled devices already in the market, we expect many more people to experiment with buying things from their phones.
Online commerce will become more federated. In the offline world, Banana Republic doesn't make you visit their corporate headquarters to buy a sweater. That sounds ridiculous, but it's how online commerce works today. We see commerce moving to a more federated model, where retailers go to where the consumers already are: increasingly that's in apps.
Local commerce trends will become global phenomena. For the first time in 2014, we saw countries like China and the UK piggyback on U.S. retail events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. One of the reasons this is happening now is that retailers are finally able to allow consumers to buy from them from almost anywhere in the world. This will give consumers more services and better choice, especially as horizons broaden outside the U.S. And that works both ways: In 2014 Stripe integrated Alipay into its platform, meaning that Western merchants can sell to millions of Chinese consumers. Integrations like these signal a tipping point. If each of Alipays 800 million users spent just $2 online, it would surpass total online sales for Black Friday in 2014 ($1.5 billion).
Social companies are becomming commerce companies. Weve seen social media companies like Facebook and Twitter evolve from freemium models, to advertising companies, and now to commerce with buy buttons that allow people to discover and buy products directly from within their platforms. As consumers spend more and more of their time in apps like these, I think you'll find that "selling online" means the web less and less.
John Collison is co-founder and president of Stripe.