3 Ways Mobile Wallets Can Help You Engage Customers

Today, there are thousands of branded apps, but only your most loyal customers will download them, and it’s getting harder to get people to simply try them out. In fact, brands are having a hard time gaining access on smartphones. A Forrester study commissioned by Retail Me Not noted that a majority of those who use smartphones to shop online had fewer than two branded apps on their phone. There is no argument: Smartphone real estate is not only precious but clearly very competitive. As such, brands need to look for different ways to enable interaction on mobile with their customers. Today, we see brands build multichannel strategies across apps, SMS, social, and more. One of them, mobile wallets, provide brands the ability to leverage an existing ecosystem, enabling brands to reach 100 percent of their mobile customers, without having them download an app.

Mobile wallets are preinstalled on all new devices and make everything in a physical wallet—membership cards, loyalty cards, event passes, credit cards, coupons—available to customers within Android Pay and Apple Pay. They combine convenience and value for consumers and give brands an easy way to create dynamic, personal, and relevant content without having to invest resources and time developing an app.

It’s time for brands to invest in the nonpayment side of mobile wallets and connect payments to the rest of what’s in mobile wallets to capture customers’ attention and hearts. Forrester forecasts that in-store mobile payments will grow to nearly $34 billion in 2019 from about $4 billion in 2014. For brands looking to take advantage of this massive industry opportunity, here are three ways mobile wallets can be used to enhance the customer relationship:

1. Mobile wallets enable you to digitize your loyalty program. Turning paper coupons and plastic loyalty cards into easy-to-use mobile experiences is a proven way to boost customer loyalty among existing customers—and drive loyalty program adoption with new customers. Storing and redeeming loyalty rewards is already the No. 1 most adopted use of mobile wallets, and it also tops the list of things consumers want to use in mobile wallets. In addition, according to The State of Mobile Wallet Marketing Report, 69 percent of consumers are more likely to use a mobile loyalty card when it is on their phone. Additionally, 73 percent of people are more likely to use mobile payments like Apple Pay if loyalty rewards and discounts are automatically applied.

In the vending machine market, USAT reported a considerable increase in basket size, yielding a 36.5 percent increase in overall sales, with Apple Pay. That bodes well for mobile wallet technologies, delivering both increased revenues and greater customer utility. Mobile wallets enable brands to communicate on mobile where they otherwise might not. Mobile wallet loyalty passes can be dynamically updated in real time, allowing brands to showcase special events or promotions and notify customers when they have a new loyalty rewards available.

2. They represent a new acquisition channel for your CRM. Apple Pay enables brands to offer customers auto enrollment in loyalty programs with a few taps on the customer’s iPhone. When transacting via Apple Pay at a store (or in-app or on the web), customers can be instantly prompted to join a brand’s loyalty program. With no forms to fill out (the customer’s information is pulled directly from their iPhone), customers can have a personalized mobile loyalty card added to Apple Wallet in seconds. This means the latest (and, arguably, the most accurate) data is within reach for any marketer. Additionally, 82 percent of consumers are more likely to join a loyalty program if they can automatically join at the point of purchase with no forms to complete, turning what was once just a transaction into a long term mobile engagement channel.

3. They can help you shed the singular campaign mind-set in favor of ongoing relationships. Whether it’s a loyalty card, a coupon, or an event ticket, once you’ve managed to get customers to install your mobile wallet pass, that’s just the beginning of your opportunity. Unlike their paper and plastic-brethren, mobile wallet items can be updated with new graphics and links as well as send notifications to smartphone lockscreens. More than three quarters of consumers want mobile wallet coupons to update to new offers upon expiration, according to The State of Mobile Wallet Marketing Report. In addition, while the vast majority of consumers feel positively about brands that offer mobile wallet loyalty cards, nearly half of consumers feel that these benefits (such as birthday messages or double/triple point days) are expected.

Mobile wallets can be leveraged for news and timely campaigns as well. For example, Politico Europe used mobile wallet functionality during the 2016 EU referendum to keep people up to date on Brexit news and provide real-time polling and voting results. Politico acquired more than 10,000 passholders in just one week, without an app, and three quarters of them were new to the organization’s database.

Clearly, mobile wallets are versatile; they can range from serving as loyalty cards to delivering coupon offers to functioning as update trackers. It’s up to the brand to think beyond a simple campaign and turn wallets into an ongoing engagement channel. The tool is already available, and every brand should be looking at how to use it to both deliver utility and meet business needs. There are billions of dollars at stake with this rapidly growing opportunity. Brands that connect the nonpayment experiences of mobile wallets will capitalize on the wealth of untapped wallet potential. With mobile wallets, businesses can create timely, personal relationships with customers on a screen that they never leave home without.

Judy Chan is the director of product marketing for Reach, Urban Airship’s mobile wallet platform, working with brands on new ways to deliver innovative mobile marketing solutions for loyalty cards, coupon offers and more. Previously, Chan led e-commerce and online marketing at Livescribe, maker of award-winning IoT smartpens. Prior to that, she led product marketing for HP’s laptop business, where she helped hp.com achieve Top 20 on the Internet Retailer 500 list. In addition, Chan launched product partnerships with Dolby, Beats By Dr. Dre, and MTV. She has been recognized as a 40 Under 40 West—Most Innovative Brand Marketer by Brand Innovators, a consortium of 11,000 marketing professionals. 


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