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GUEST OPINION Mobile wallets — a reciprocal relationship

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More and more consumers are embracing mobile wallets – Apple and Google have both staked their payments tools on them – but what do they actually deliver for consumers and what do retailers need to know to get the most out of it, asks Gillian Hughes, VP Corporate Sales at Veoo

Mobile is fast-becoming the dominant marketing channel for companies across the vast majority of industries. This is largely because mobile adoption can offer businesses, and particularly marketers, who are keen to reach out to potential new customers, with simplicity, speed, and scale.

However, these companies should consider the fact that while nearly everyone has a mobile phone these days, this doesn’t mean that everyone uses their mobiles in the same way.

One mobile feature that is becoming an increasingly hot topic is the mobile wallet. More and more consumers are embracing mobile wallets, and why not? Convenience and personalisation are at the core of everything nowadays, especially where technology is concerned, so who wouldn’t want to ditch the traditional wallets that have for so long been crammed into our back pockets or handbags and instead just reach for our mobile phones? Mobile wallets allow us to consolidate the things that we all use on a daily basis – our cash, cards, receipts and vouchers – into the one device that most of us already wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without. Perhaps mobile wallets are therefore a mobile solution that can benefit everyone?

So far, the payment capabilities of mobile wallets has received a lot of attention, but I would argue that the real innovation actually takes place once you move past payments and explore the other possibilities that mobile wallets open up. Only then will you see their potential to deliver true utility to consumers, reduces costs for businesses and ultimately drive more mobile payments.

To illustrate this theory, there have been various recent studies into mobile users’ attitudes, expectations and adoption of mobile wallets, many of which have found that, regardless of age, gender, and location, consumers want to use mobile wallets to communicate with brands about sales, offers, coupons, loyalty programs and more. It’s therefore clear that consumers are on board with the idea of mobile wallets, but it is up to retailers to ensure that their customers have the opportunity to engage in a practical sense.

The shift in how consumers want to interact with retailers and brands means that, now more than ever, content needs to be relevant, personal and useful, but must also remain simple and efficient, in order to avoid the risk of disengagement. Consumers have shown that they are ready, so the ball is now in the retailers’ court to promote the use of mobile wallets and take advantage of this desire for greater engagement. This is well within brands’ interest if they are seeking to drive greater in-store traffic, redemptions and ROI. Furthermore, a common theme in most recent studies into the uptake of mobile wallets is that the vast majority of consumers believe their opinion of a brand would improve if they were given opportunities to save offers and loyalty cards to a mobile wallet.

There is definitely some discrepancy between what consumers want from their mobile wallets and what they actually have in them, but this only suggests to me that the market for a wider range of mobile wallet solutions, which are custom-built achieve the functions that consumers are searching for, is particularly strong.

The top two reasons for lapses in mobile wallet usage are because consumers either forget to use them or are unsure of which merchants accept them, both of which are issues that can be easily resolved if retailers take measures to move mobile wallets to the front of consumers’ minds. If this is something that brands are willing to invest time into, they will ultimately boost their sales, via schemes such as targeted vouchers, rewards and loyalty programs, however the process needs to be made easier and reciprocal benefits are essential.

The bottom line is that retailers will see game-changing results if they take full advantage of the capabilities of mobile wallets, a belief that we hold very strongly at Veoo and hence why we are so passionate about our own Mobile Wallet platform, which is designed to help retailers tap into the many advantages on offer. Retail is a cut-throat landscape, with fierce competition on all sides, and marketers need a new way of gaining a foothold in consumers’ back pockets. With the ability to deliver branded content like offers, coupons and digital loyalty cards, as well as time and location-sensitive offers, the brands that meet their customers’ demand for mobile wallet solutions will be the ones who take the lead.

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