Mobile Wallets: More Than Just A Credit Card Alternative
In an increasingly digital world, smartphones are a convenience of everyday life, easily influencing consumer behaviors. As a result, brands have had to adapt to the mobile-centric consumer market and the movement towards mobile wallets.
To better understand the rise in mobile wallets, I connected with Elias Guerra, Founder and CEO of Popwallet, a Mobile Wallet CX platform that delivers contactless customer experiences to people through mobile wallets like Apple Wallet and Google Pay. The Popwallet platform enables easy mobile wallet card creation, direct customer engagement through card updates, messages, and notifications, and campaign automation. Together, we looked at data from Prosper Insights & Analytics studies on mobile payment trends.
Gary Drenik: It’s no secret that people are starting to stray away from traditional payment methods, and flock towards mobile payments using channels like Apple Wallet and Google Pay. 2020 catapulted digital payments 3 years ahead of its time. In an increasingly digital world, what impact has Covid-19 had on the push towards Mobile Wallets?
Elias Guerra: Covid-19 greatly accelerated the use of mobile wallets, largely due to the consumer behavior shift towards contactless transactions that mobile wallets enable. Pre-pandemic, mobile wallets’ value proposition was convenience focused as it was easier to pay for something using phones than it was to find and use cards or cash. Our phones are with us constantly so it’s a natural, convenient, place to store cards we may otherwise lose or forget at home. During Covid-19, mobile wallet use became more safety-focused with the need for contactless transactions in-store. Handing cards or cash to a stranger was no longer an option for many, so mobile wallets boomed as a result. This is evidenced by a recent Prosper Insights & Analytics survey showing that nearly 68% of people are now using a mobile payment app, including mobile wallets like Apple Wallet and Google Pay.
Drenik: What incentive is there for consumers to utilize Mobile Wallets as opposed to traditional forms of payment like credit or cash?
Guerra: Beyond safety and convenience, security is a huge incentive for consumers using mobile wallets over traditional methods. When a credit/bank card is added to a mobile wallet, the card number isn’t actually stored on the device; transactions are “tokenized” using unique codes that verify payments without sharing card numbers. On a more pragmatic basis, consider the possession difference between a physical card and mobile wallet card. If someone gets ahold of my physical credit card, they can use it to rack up fraudulent charges until I cancel the card, which could take time if I don’t realize it has been lost/stolen. If someone has my smartphone, good luck getting into the device to use anything on it, including the mobile wallet, which requires additional authentication for payments.
Drenik: Considering all other forms of marketing, how does utilizing mobile wallet platforms compare in being able to create substantial mobile engagement with consumers? Even without the brand having an app.
Guerra: Mobile wallets can be a terrific way for brands to market to their customers because they provide the ideal balance between low-friction acquisition and high-value ongoing engagement. Mobile wallet marketing focuses on delivering value to consumers through access to something they want—coupons, loyalty rewards, gift cards, and tickets—which has traditionally been with paper or plastic. By offering these experiences to be saved as digital mobile wallet cards, brands bypass the high friction, expense of traditional paper and plastic, and need for an app. The real magic comes after cards are saved to mobile wallets, because brands can send consumers direct messages and push dynamic card updates. Consumers also benefit from the contextual relevance of mobile wallet cards; they may receive offers, which appear on smartphone lock screens, when their mobile wallets detect they’re near a store, right when the consumer needs it.
Drenik: Can you share any examples of brands that have been able to bridge the gap from communication to conversion? How have they optimized their marketing through Mobile Wallet platforms?
Guerra: Kay Jewelers is a great example of a brand that’s used mobile wallet marketing to bridge that gap. A brand like Kay Jewelers uses advertising to communicate a message to a target audience, and in their case, they used Snapchat to promote an in-store Valentine’s Day offer. Their audience could see the offer promoted on Snapchat, swipe up to save the offer to their mobile wallet, and later use the offer in-store. Between the time the offer was saved and used in-store, Kay Jewelers could communicate with consumers through the offer, sending reminders to use the offer before Valentine’s Day. When consumers went to a Kay Jewelers store, the mobile wallet offer detected their location and appeared on the consumer’s smartphone lock screen, providing another reminder, and easy access to swipe to use it. Once the offer was used, Kay Jewelers could attribute that purchase to the Snapchat advertisement, closing the loop between communication and conversion, optimizing their return on ad spend. The best part for Kay Jewelers came next; the offer stayed in consumers’ mobile wallets and could be updated with the next offer they wanted to deliver, which was Mother’s Day. This ongoing engagement allows brands to develop loyal relationships with their consumers and increase the lifetime value of that advertising investment.
Drenik: Do you find that brands are now starting to design their loyalty programs with mobile wallets, and the data obtained through these payment options, in mind?
Guerra: Many brands are starting to see the benefits of loyalty programs centered around mobile wallets, as they provide a unique opportunity for data collection and consumer insights. By offering mobile wallet loyalty programs, brands obtain valuable information: names, email addresses, phone numbers, purchase habits, and frequently visited/shopped-at retail locations. Using mobile wallets also allows brands to adhere to growing demands for sustainability, letting brands ditch physical loyalty cards and their negative environmental impacts by keeping everything digital, from program signup to distribution. Mobile wallet loyalty programs allow brands to offer consumers an appealing, frictionless experience, while eliminating the need to design an app for customers to use, instead utilizing pre-existing mobile wallet apps.
Drenik: What do you think is the next movement for the future of mobile wallets, for consumers and brands?
Guerra: I think the most interesting thing about mobile wallets goes well-beyond payments and financial transactions. Think of mobile wallets as “keys” that safely and securely provide access to almost anything online or in the real world. The mobile wallet key can unlock checkout pages and store points, but it can also provide access to venues as a ticket, to a plane as a boarding pass, to certain rewards as a loyalty card, or even as a literal key to unlock student dorm rooms or start cars. The ability to use phones to interact with the world around us, unlocking and accessing various experiences, will open up endless opportunities for consumers and brands.
Drenik: Thank you, Elias, for taking the time to share your insights on the possibilities for mobile wallets. It’s evident how adoption of the mobile-centric consumer market is vital for brands in building engaging consumer relationships and bridging the gap between communication and conversion.