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Meet the woman who deserves a thumbs up for Apple Pay’s growth

How Jennifer Bailey routinely does things that don’t scale in her efforts to popularize Apple Pay.

Meet the woman who deserves a thumbs up for Apple Pay’s growth
[Photo: Nicholas Albrecht]

Apple veteran Jennifer Bailey took over Apple Pay in 2014 with the goal of making it possible for iPhone users to leave their wallets at home. She has quickly turned the service into a core piece of the Apple operating system and grown in-store acceptance at U.S. retail locations from about 3% at launch to more than 50% today while also integrating Apple Pay into 85 of the top 100 e-commerce apps. In the process, she’s humanized a financial product in surprising ways–witness the happy face that appears when an iPhone X user authenticates at checkout. “Not only did we want to bring more security to payments,” she says, “we wanted to make the whole experience enjoyable.”

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Related: See The 100 Most Creative People In Business 2018


Fast Company: How do you persuade customers to use Apple Pay for the first time?

Jennifer Bailey: We go to the local merchants and the city councils–in Austin, San Diego, L.A., San Francisco–and [with their blessing,] we essentially put on an Apple Pay street fair. Local merchants who accept Apple Pay present an offer–maybe a dollar off your ice cream. We bring in food trucks and [feature] fun activities. We’ve also done event-type marketing at music festivals. Last year at BottleRock [a music and wine festival in Napa Valley], we worked with the event organizers to create Apple Pay–only lines. When you go to a concert, the last thing you want is to stand in line to pay for your beer.

FC: Where have you had to modify your approach?

JB: We had started with the assumption that it would be clear to customers which stores accept Apple Pay, but you can’t always tell. Now we have a team of people who work [with companies like Square and Vantiv that provide checkout terminals]. We give their sales staff stickers; we work with them [to add] digital marks on screen. When a retailer shows an Apple Pay mark, the number of [Apple Pay] transactions goes up around five times.

FC: A big part of Apple Pay’s growth story is international. How have you adapted the product for other countries?

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JB: We launched in Japan [in October 2016]. One of the really important categories of payments there is for its rail system, so we [linked with the country’s] JR East and Suica transit cards. Add those to Apple Wallet and tap to go through the gate. Just last week, we were busily working on launching transit in Beijing and Shanghai. When we talk about replacing the wallet and not just payment cards, this is what we’re working on.


Jennifer Bailey is No. 65 on the 2018 Most Creative People in Business list. Check out all 100 people here.

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About the author

Staff writer Ainsley (O'Connell) Harris covers the business of technology with a focus on financial services and education. Follow her on Twitter at @ainsleyoc.

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