Mobile wallets are quickly replacing traditional forms of payments. Most, if not all, mobile devices have built-in, native wallet applications that people can use—for example, the most commonly used apps are Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. While they offer a lot of value to brands in their current state, mobile wallet marketing provides an opportunity to capitalize on this new marketing channel, which has immense potential.
Mobile wallets are gaining more and more traction among people by the day. In fact, a survey conducted by Airship found that more than half of the respondents (54%) have made use of mobile wallets in some capacity. Moreover, 55% of the respondents were more likely to use mobile wallets to make payments at the registers than standard methods, with the number rising to 73% when a coupon or a discount is applied automatically.
While the primary purpose of mobile wallets is to make payments digitally from a consumer’s end, for businesses there are multiple ways mobile wallets can be used to deliver value to customers. In other words, treating mobile wallets as a marketing channel can lead to many unexplored opportunities that are beneficial both for businesses and customers.
Before we can start to understand the marketing potential of mobile wallets, let’s break down what it is and how it works. Mobile wallets are apps on your mobile devices that store debit and credit card information as well as coupons, rewards or discount information. These apps most of the time are built into your mobile device as a native app, so you do not need to download any third-party apps.
Mobile wallets introduce a new factor of convenience as they replace the need to carry physical plastic cards, therefore purchases—whether online, at the store or in-app—can be done through the convenience of your smartphone, tablet or even a smartwatch. One of the better advantages of mobile wallets is the ability to carry financial information from multiple sources, meaning you can attach as many credit cards as you want in addition to being able to store coupon/discount information from multiple stores and retail chains.
Customer engagement and loyalty are the core objectives of every well-functioning business. Mobile wallet marketing offers a modern approach to current loyalty programs by providing more customer engagement opportunities with relevant, personalized and timely content (the likes of which include coupons, promo offers and such).
Here are some of the main benefits of mobile wallets that contribute to increasing a business’ brand value:
The question whether how mobile wallet marketing is the future of mobile marketing still remains. It is easy to be skeptical of mobile wallets being a potential marketing channel. However, there is plenty of evidence to back up that claim.
Mobile wallets present many opportunities for businesses. Because we constantly have our mobile devices right by our side and within reach, mobile wallets’ ability to pass information through notifications (i.e. reminders, loyalty updates, coupon expiration, and whatnot) cannot be understated. In fact, it can potentially lead to a change in consumer behavior.
Customers have already found value in using mobile wallets. If businesses can combine this interest from customers with even better benefits, than mobile wallet’s growth will be driven—however counter-intuitive it may sound—by its non-payment usage.
Having said that, let’s go through some of the key opportunities:
A survey by Forrester discovered that 30% of respondents have used their mobile phone in a bricks-and-mortar store to compare prices while shopping, whereas 25% of respondents have used their mobile wallets to redeem coupons. With the number estimated to rise considerably in the near future, the survey proves that the need for mobile wallets exists, and consumer experience has to be improved.
Moreover, Business Insider estimates that mobile payments in the United States will steadily grow 40% annually, hitting the $128 billion mark in 2021.
To answer the question, mobile wallets are indeed an integral part of the future of mobile marketing. And in many ways, can become its top marketing channel.
Similar to any other form of marketing, a good strategy is key in producing good results. Mobile wallet marketing is not as easy as allowing your customers to make payments through them. The idea is to maintain consistent customer engagement through a mobile wallet app. This is a rather implicit form of marketing but one that is better suited for loyalty programs.
The aim of your strategy should be enhancing consumers’ experience through engaging content. This can be done in a multitude of ways but we will try to list only the important ones.
Mobile wallets allow users to save event/concert tickets as well as offers and coupons directly on their mobile devices.
Offer your customers digital cards as part of your loyalty program using which they can get timely offers, discounts, coupons, and tickets. This will increase both the redemption rate and customer loyalty.
Customers often receive a coupon and forget all about it. They miss out on an opportunity to get a good deal by not redeeming the coupon, your business misses out on potential revenue. Mobile wallets can solve this problem by sending reminders on expiring coupons.
Additionally, you can use mobile wallets to send location-based trigger notifications to inform them of an upcoming offer.
There are plenty of mobile wallet marketing platforms out there. You will be hard-pressed to find any that offers its services completely for free, however, most offer free trial periods to test out their platforms. Here is a list of few platforms you can check out.
Starbucks has been the pioneer in the mobile wallet marketing movement as they were one of the first ones to launch a mobile wallet app. Their app integrates a lot of interesting features like loyalty, product information, gift card and branded content in addition to payment capabilities.
While it is not a traditional mobile wallet in the sense that you cannot use it to make transactions in other stores, it makes for a good example of how mobile wallets can be used for marketing purposes.
A lot of brands like Gap, McDonald’s and Bloomingdale’s as well as retail chains like the Sears have followed suit and launched mobile wallet marketing campaigns of their own. Airline companies are also making significant use of it for their loyalty programs.
A good mobile wallet marketing idea was put in use by Google when Android Pay tapped into Google’s most creative asset—the Google Doodle. Google Doodle is the company’s search engine and one of its most powerful marketing tools. The idea was to play seasonal cartoons every time a user made a payment using the Android Pay.
In 2017, Google tried to expand on the same idea by partnering up with DC, Warner Brothers, to introduce the iconic superhero characters in its mobile wallet. Users were encouraged to make payments to unlock characters like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. This resulted in increases to in-store traffic and a spike in revenues by engaging with hardcore fans of DC comics.
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