Mobile wallets: the missing part of the jigsaw?
30 July 2012
Mobile Wallets are hot news. Everyone from Google, to banks and mobile networks are looking to get in on the act. There are even rumours that Apple is considering a wallet service. And it’s no surprise that all the big players are clambering to get in on the act.
Gartner estimates that this year alone the total transaction value of mobile payments will exceed a cool $171.5bn. From a consumer perspective the advantages of a digital wallet are clear. The ability to seamlessly support payment cards, loyalty cards, vouchers and tickets means you may never have to print a boarding pass or receive concert tickets in the post again. But what does this piece of screen real estate mean for marketers?
As well as providing a new channel via which to interact with and engage consumers, perhaps more importantly it provides a mechanism to close the loop between on and offline sales. Certainly that is why the majority of the industry believes Google has gone after this market so aggressively, as it will be able to track activity via its Google Wallet service and use that data to attribute and report on marketing activity across their vast platform.
Being able to link loyalty schemes to debit cards and streamline how discount vouchers are assigned automatically via the backend to the individual consumer, not only makes the customer’s life easier but also provides an infrastructure to record end-to-end the effectiveness of all marketing channels. For brands that are already digitally savvy, this might not be such a giant leap, but mobile wallets give retailers who conventionally transact in-store the opportunity to get in on the act.
Traditionally brands such as hair and beauty salons, restaurants and café chains, will only dedicate limited amounts of marketing spend to online. But for the first time, mobile wallets – with their ability to synch online promotions and vouchers - provide them with a channel to tap into online generation via an integrated campaign channel that they can track the success of in-store.
We’re already seeing this happen in the US. For example, loyal customers of Robert De Niro’s restaurant empire, who access online loyalty schemes and collect enough points, are being given the chance to meet the man himself and dine with him. Whilst other chains might not have the lure of one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, it is a great example of how mobile wallets finally make sense of the digital world for those brands that have previously struggled make it relevant for their business model.
Paul Brown, senior strategy manager, Affilinet