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Why mobile wallets are the next generation of digital marketing

Technology & Data

Why mobile wallets are the next generation of digital marketing


Loyalty marketing is a tried and true strategy. Alejandro Catalan writes about how digital wallets allow marketers to reimagine loyalty programs in a convenient digital format, native to people’s phones.

Given that reports say consumers are 85 percent more likely to shop with a brand that recognises long-term loyalty, rewards programs are a must-have part of your marketing mix. However, the way that your customers earn points and claim rewards can play a significant role in your program’s success. It needs to be simple and available or you may as well not bother. Mobile wallets are an increasingly effective tool in making sure your program delivers.

From your local café to your favourite retail outlet, you’re sure to have acquired plenty of physical loyalty cards and vouchers over the years. But how often do you actually use them?

Often these flimsy cards find themselves at the bottom of your bags or lost in your drawers. By the time you remember about your voucher and find it in your email inbox, it’s probably no longer valid.

Even if the card makes it into your wallet, how often do you actually take your wallet with you for purchases these days? The pandemic and reluctance to use cash drove the take-up of digital wallets, with ANZ bank transactions showing a 73 percent growth between March and December last year, with the number of mobile wallets growing by a third.

Many retail stores have given up asking for cards and instead key in a customer’s data such as mobile number or email address. Not only does this slow down the purchase process, but it’s also probably not a great idea to be asking your customers to recite personal details in a busy store.

With a predicted 4.3 billion smartphone users globally by 2023, it’s a no-brainer to reach customers on the device that’s glued to their hands all day long. As a result, more marketers are turning their attention to digital options.

They allow marketers to reimagine outdated loyalty cards into digital files stored safely on their phones, giving them complete autonomy over their accounts, while providing marketers with more opportunities to connect with them.

Customers are saying no to apps

However, not all ways of digitising loyalty cards are created equal. Some brands require you to download their app, but with mobile phones becoming as crowded with apps as our wallets used to be with plastic loyalty cards, they’re facing a backlash. According to Forrester, few apps are compelling or convenient enough to make it worth discovering, downloading, installing and customising them.

Developing your own branded app can be a costly exercise and there’s no point in wasting money on a platform that people don’t want to download.

Of course, there are plenty of apps that are specifically designed to digitise loyalty and rewards cards, but these still have barriers to entry. Customers not only need to discover and download these apps, but scan all their cards to upload them.

Today’s consumers want an experience that’s convenient for them, so it should come as no surprise that Forrester research suggests customers are shying away from downloading branded apps.

Think about the last time you went out. Without even giving it a second thought, you probably pulled out your phone to scan a QR code using the camera that’s already installed on it when entering a venue for COVID-19 contact tracing.

This is why mobile wallets create the perfect opportunity for marketers. Apple Wallet and Google Pay are both default apps with a user base of billions. Customers don’t have to download anything or jump through hoops to use their mobile wallet. It’s convenient and already on their trusty smartphone.

By 2024, it’s believed that $9 trillion will be spent on mobile wallet transactions. When you consider both the ease of mobile wallets, along with their massive reach, the potential for brands is huge and their popularity will only rise.

The sky is not the limit

We’re deep in the era of ‘everywhere commerce’, a time where customers can interact with brands and complete purchases from anywhere. Just last month, 1,500 drones took to the skies to create a scannable QR code flying over Shanghai.

With marketers under more pressure to reach their audience in new and exciting ways, mobile wallets create an endless stream of opportunities for your brand to connect with customers.

Use mobile wallets to store event tickets or customer receipts. Pair with geo-fencing to create custom messaging that’s triggered when someone is close to one of your stores or venues. Or if you have a large enough space, you can geo-target within your store to notify shoppers of new discounts and special offers only available in-store.

Best of all, mobile wallets can be downloaded from any touchpoint via a QR code or link, making it easy to acquire new customers without disrupting the sales process.

Mobile wallets allow brands to cut through the noise and get right to the heart of your audience. By creating a digital loyalty program centred around mobile wallet technology, long-term customers will appreciate rewards they don’t have to work for as you keep your brand top of mind.


Alejandro Catalan is the regional manager, Australia, of Technology at Ovato.

Photo by Jenny Ueberberg on Unsplash.


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