Though we say this often, this is an interesting time in the world of mobile. We’re seeing a consumer shift from relying on apps to using mobile wallet more frequently and for more types of transactions.
Not only is mobile wallet a convenient and frictionless purchasing solution, but it’s also proving to be a one-stop resource for brand and marketing interactions with consumers.
While consumers have become accustomed to using mobile wallets without realizing it (Starbucks and Southwest are two apps that have built-in wallets), we expect adoption of universal wallets to skyrocket this year as brands increase their use to additional functions beyond payment.
Investment in Mobile Indicates Clear Growth
In an unexpected move, Apple recently announced a partnership with Goldman Sachs to launch the new Apple Card credit card, a digital card available through Apple Pay. Clearly, Apple is betting on the future obsolescence of physical cards in lieu of mobile wallet, and this is a signal that other brands should pay attention to. As a leader in the mobile wallet space, Apple’s step in this direction should inspire others to consider investing in mobile wallet as a marketing channel.
Mobile Wallet as an Interactive Marketing Tool
At Vibes, we’ve worked with clients to leverage the power of marketing through mobile wallet to engage their audiences in meaningful ways. When a gas station brand wanted to increase its mobile subscribers, we helped develop a reveal game offer that gave SMS subscribers the chance to swipe to save per gallon. They could then save the offer to their mobile wallet and redeem at the pump. The result? 2.75 million gallons of gas purchased from the coupon offers.
Other brands we’ve worked with have seen over a 50% mobile wallet offer redemption rate. Some use them in conjunction with other mobile marketing strategies like SMS, MMS, or push notifications, while others combine email marketing to really drive home the value for subscribers.
Google and Apple Are Seeing Competition
While Apple and Google have been the biggest players in the mobile wallet space, they’re not owning the market. Brands like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have their own apps with built-in mobile wallets, and retailers like Walmart are also taking away market share from the Big Two. In fact, Walmart Pay is set to beat the number of users for Apple and Google wallets.
And Amazon, never one to be left behind, has pledged to open 3,000 locations of its Amazon Go stores, which use the Amazon app and mobile wallet to let people buy items without going through a checkout process.
We expect that more brands will incorporate mobile wallets in their apps—or use them instead of developing apps at all—to provide value and function to customers.
Is Universal Wallet the Future?
While some brands are playing with their own mobile wallet, others are simply riding on the success of existing wallet tools. Banks like Chase are making it easy for customers to pay for transactions or even tap their phones at ATMs to get cash through mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, and even Fitbit Pay.
Because mobile wallets provide so many other functions like storing event or airline tickets, housing car insurance, or even unlocking a hotel room, it’s interesting to see how brands are doing this through established mobile wallet channels.
For brands, working with an existing channel has a few benefits. For one, customers already have the mobile wallet installed on their phones, so you aren’t requiring them to download something new. They’re already using the tool, so it’s easy to add a special offer or ticket to the wallet since they already understand how to use it. And it’s more cost-effective to use what already exists than to recreate the wheel.
If you aren’t on board with mobile wallet yet, now’s the time. It’s already proven its value and will continue to do so as brands find innovative ways to use it.