A guest post by Duncan Spencer.
Mobile wallets are increasing in popularity across the globe. Essentially, they allow you to pay for goods and services solely using your mobile phone. That is possible through different ways.
Many companies releasing apps to their customers. The O2 Wallet and Barclays Pingit are two apps that are big in the UK, with the PayPal app and Google Wallet being recognized worldwide.
Each app allows you to pay in a different way. For example, Google Wallet uses Near Field Communication (NFC), while the PayPal app allows you to pay using a unique generated bar code. The battle for the method that will dominate the mobile payment landscape is a story within itself, but suffice to say that, whichever method becomes the most preferred, the ability to pay for things via your smartphone or iPhone is becoming a reality.
What Mobile Wallets Mean for Business
When someone pays for goods and services in-store, they will be passing over data to their mobile payment service provider as well as the business vendor themselves. Such data can answer those all important questions that businesses often ask themselves about their customers, such as "What are they buying?," How much are they spending?," "How often are they purchasing?," "What time do they typically purchase?" and so on. As you can see, such data can paint a pretty clear picture of a customer’s consumer habits---perfect for direct marketing to their phones.
Whether at the point of sale or after a customer has paid for goods and services, a business can then target direct marketing communications to their customer. Using relevant offers, discounts, loyalty incentives, whatever your mobile marketing strategy, you can create highly effective and engaging marketing to the people that matter.
What They Mean for Consumers
The mobile wallet has created a deeper attachment between the customer and their phone. SMS and email-based marketing has been successful in the past, but with this new technology, the consumer can receive highly targeted and actionable offers and discounts, especially if they have been loyal to the same business for a number of transactions. That helps builds a deeper relationship between the customer and their chosen brand.
However, there has been criticism in some quarters over the use of such consumer data. It is unclear at present how personal the data is, but in most cases, this is usually depersonalized and only used with customer’s consent. While the protection of data is a hot topic at present, there is a trade-off for consumers as to whether they want to receive highly targeted and relevant marketing material, such as a voucher or discount codes for their favourite coffee shop. In any case, the ability to protect oneself from the dangers of the mobile wallet is there, and anyone can easily get their iPhone or Smartphone covered with mobile wallet protection.
What They Mean for Marketers
Mobile wallet technology has provided marketers with a fantastic opportunity. As mentioned, the data generated through mobile wallet purchases can paint a more sophisticated picture of the customer and their consumer habits. That data can be used to direct more targeted marketing communications to the consumer.
With the mobile phone still being a very personal piece of technology, for brands, having the ability to target users with personalized, effective and actionable marketing can be very effective, and very lucrative; it can also enhance brand loyalty. Mobile wallet marketing opens up communicative interaction between the brand and the customer at the point of sale. Whether it’s a voucher, a discount, or an offer, this level of interaction can be used to devastating effect, if carried out properly.
Duncan Spencer works at Insurance2go, one of the first mobile phone insurers to provide mobile wallet protection.
(Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Giving Money)