Mobile Wallet Offers New Chapter in Customer Engagement

opinionThe following is a guest contributed post from Mary Clark, Chief Marketing Officer at Syniverse.

With 2016 coming to a close, many marketers are busy completing their plans for the new year. But today’s mobile marketing landscape has become more competitive and multifaceted than ever, causing many marketing plans to become moving targets.

To break through the noise, engage customers and reduce friction in their path to purchase, marketers are having to compete against a dizzying assortment of mobile channels vying for attention. Fortunately, a new channel has emerged to help.

A Highly Versatile Space

Mobile wallet is a channel that offers a fresh and underappreciated approach to engaging customers. This versatile tool offers a one-of-a-kind capability to seamlessly deliver coupons, rewards, tickets and payment options straight to a customer’s phone, at a place on the phone where they can easily be used. In fact, the name “mobile wallet” is somewhat of a misnomer since this tool is actually a highly versatile space that provides an open-ended publishing stream into a customer’s phone through a native application.

Mobile wallet can be leveraged for mobile marketing in a number of ways, and this flexibility and ease of use offer new levels of engagement between brands and customers. In return for customers adding a brand’s offering to their mobile wallet, brands can gain an invaluable connection for strengthening their marketing investment and leveraging this investment for deeper customer engagement and maximized ROI on overall marketing.

As the mobile marketing landscape continues to grow more cluttered and competitive, mobile wallet will offer an increasingly valuable tool that brands must take advantage of to more dynamically engage their customers.

Breaking Down the Benefits

Building the case for the use of mobile wallet is an impressive array of benefits. Let’s look at each.

  • Attribution and hypertargeting – Mobile wallet offers a new level of results measurement by enabling deep visibility into customers’ preferences and patterns. Mobile wallet campaigns can be targeted to certain customer segments, set to only be operative in specific locations, programmed so they can be instantly updated, and tracked through barcodes, allowing marketers to better measure the effectiveness of campaigns. As an example, to increase in-store traffic to Chipotle restaurants, mobile marketing specialist Vibes helped the company push out a special quiz to millions of customers that offered them several personalized mobile wallet offers in return for participating in the quiz. In the end, Chipotle achieved a 20 percent mobile-wallet-offer redemption rate over the campaign’s five-week run time.
  • Ease of access – As its name implies, mobile wallet integrates all coupons, passes and payment services in one “wallet” that is already pre-installed as a native app on nearly every Android and Apple smart device. Users can quickly and uniformly retrieve these items here, rather than have to go to separate apps requiring different passwords and forms of access. And, of course, mobile wallet’s payment function allows users to greatly quicken their purchasing by simply tapping their phone and swiping it across a screen, instead of having to insert and remove a plastic card in a reader.
  • Real-time automatic updating – Adding to the convenience of mobile wallet’s ease of access is its automatic updating capability. Brands can seamlessly update individual users’ mobile wallet items without requiring any steps on users’ end. Even better, those updates can be automatically pushed to the device’s lock screen for immediate viewing and easy access.
  • Versatile delivery and activation – When a brand’s offering is added to a customer’s mobile wallet, brands can gain an invaluable connection for strengthening their marketing investment and leveraging this investment for deeper customer engagement and maximized ROI on overall marketing. A critical component of this is the versatile number of ways that mobile wallet items can be delivered to and used or “activated” by customers. For example, a special coupon for a free beverage at a coffee bar can be delivered to a mobile wallet via text message, email, ad, app, website, social media, in-store promotion and even direct mail. In this way, brands can take advantage of a multitude of channels to drive awareness for a campaign, and customers can easily activate the offer from whichever channel they discover and prefer.
  • Complement to apps – And in addition to all those channels being able to activate mobile wallet, there is another critical advantage in play. As a native application prebuilt on a phone rather than a downloaded app, mobile wallet complements apps by enabling a quick-touch experience compared with the more in-depth experience of apps. In this way, the user is able to take advantage of the best of mobile wallet’s functionality and the best of an app’s services. Moreover, mobile wallet and mobile apps can play off one another, where the mobile app can be used to deliver offers to be saved to wallet, and where the mobile wallet can be used to promote app adoption through direct links to the app store.
  • Loyalty rewards – A particular area of marketing for which mobile wallet offers a tremendous opportunity is in spurring the use of mobile loyalty programs. Using mobile wallet, brands can take advantage of a new channel to engage with their most loyal customers and customers can benefit from a new channel that allows them to seamlessly earn loyalty points, check their loyalty status, and redeem rewards without having to deal with extra cards.

In many ways, these benefits are only the beginning, as mobile wallet becomes more fully utilized and gains in popularity with consumers. To maintain competitive advantage, brands must develop a strategy for integrating mobile wallet in their marketing programs and more powerfully engaging their customers.