Making Mobile Wallets About More Than Payments

By Chanel Smith EMEA Editor (@PYMNTS_EMEA)

If you open your wallet right now, chances are you’ll find more than bankcards and cash notes.

If consumers are using traditional wallets to hoard receipts, loyalty cards and coupons, then shouldn’t mobile wallets offer the same capabilities? 

According to Vibes, a mobile marketing technology company, 33 percent of consumers believe mobile wallets can only be used to make payments, while 19 percent still have no clue what mWallets are. The research reveals that consumers want a seamless shopping experience and Vibes confirmed that there is high consumer demand for non-payment features to be integrated with mWallets. Retailers have the opportunity to improve customer attitudes and reach a broader mobile wallet audience if they take advantage of the emerging mobile technology. 

Mark Tack, VP of marketing at Vibes, explained that the problem begins with consumers lacking knowledge about the non-payments side of mobile wallets.

“When it comes to the non-payment side of the mobile wallet, there is a substantial gap between what consumers are seeking and what retailers are delivering. We call this the mobile wallet disconnect,” Tack told PYMNTS.com. “One-in-three shoppers are using the non-payment side of the mobile wallet, and 85 percent of consumers would receive some benefit from the non-payment side of the mobile wallet. Yet, only 19 percent of smartphone users have noticed any retailers offering mobile wallet-specific coupons and/or loyalty cards.”

Vibe’s research reports that the solution can be found in offering further education for consumers. People need to be informed about all the possibilities of the mobile wallet, and understand how the service can fully benefit them.

Only 19 percent of participants said they know of retailers that offer non-payment promotions on the mobile wallet, but claimed this is largely due to the launch of Apple’s Passbook. Most consumers lack awareness of non-payment programs because they don’t currently receive them, or they don’t get exposed to such services. But because more than half of consumers lack awareness, this means merchants have a huge opportunity to take action.

Tack explained to PYMNTS.com, ” The remedy for the mobile wallet disconnect is for retailers to get on board and start offering mobile wallet content. Consumers have spoken about how and why they would use mobile wallets, offering retailers the guidance and direction they need to get started to meet the needs of the mobile consumer.” 

The report stated that 59 percent of respondents said they would have an improved attitude about a retailer if it offered digitized mobile wallet content such as loyalty cards, coupons and promotions. Moreover, the consumer demand for non-payment services are high, since 85 percent said they would like to receive benefits from storing and organizing offers and loyalty programs on their mobile phones. Consumer demand has been made clear, but because the service is relatively unprecedented, this means retailers must step up to the plate and deliver the right offers to the right customers.

“The best way to motivate consumers to use the non-payment side of the mobile wallet is provide them with special and exclusive offers and promotions only offered through the mobile wallet,” said Tack. “Consumers will see how easy it is to use their mobile wallets – in just a few clicks they can store mobile wallet content that provides them with special offers and saves them money. This pays off for the retailer by driving in-store traffic and average order value for the retailer.”

Many consumers are increasingly relying on their smartphones to help them organize their lives, which could help mobile wallet technology ignite if it includes sufficient non-payment tools. Vibe’s research indicates that a multi-solution mobile wallet can offer shoppers an enhanced shopping experience. New content can be added to the phone, and retailers will have the chance to interact with their target customer more.

“It’s all about consumer convenience and ease of use. Consumers are constantly on the go and always have their phones with them,” Tack said.  “The non-payment side of the mobile wallet allows consumers to move away from physical coupons and loyalty cards by saving them to their mobile device instead.”

To read the full report from Vibes, click here.

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