Mobile payment centers in on your customer needs

By Bijan Shahrokhi in Mobile Loyalty, Mobile Payment

Mobile payment is the inevitable future of commerce. Apple is continuing to extend the features of Passbook and iBeacon. A digital only gift card, iTunes Pass, has arrived in the US.

A digital wallet now comes pre-installed on almost all smart phones. Unlike an app, this wallet lives as part of your phone. It stores your payment information and allows you to purchase items directly from your phone.

We know that when mobile payment is paired with mobile loyalty consumers are more than glad to adapt to the use of a digital wallet. This is how Starbucks gained an army of caffeine addicts by giving them a pay-and-go mobile loyalty app linked to their smart phones. The Starbucks app was ahead of the curve in 2011 and that army has swelled to more than 10 million users.

Mobile payment is a benefit

Melinda Krueger concisely summed up the relationship between mobile loyalty and mobile payment. She points out that the nagging question on the part of businesses is this; who owns the customer?

Is it the retailer which sells the product, the bank that allows the transfer of funds, or the company that runs the digital wallet that facilitates payment?

Kreuger’s answer is also simple, no one owns the customer. The customer is more likely to base a purchase on the advice of their friends or relatives. None of the entities mentioned in the previous question enter into the picture until a purchase is made. This means the most important moment of a transaction is when a customer reaches for their smart phone to consult on a purchase. Being able to reach them at that moment is crucial for a business that does not want to lose customers due to finding a better offer online.

This is why mobile loyalty and mobile payment work together. At Virtual Next, we knew they are, inevitably, inextricably linked. Our solutions enable customer loyalty campaigns to tie-in nicely to digital wallet, enabling offers to be delivered to users’ smart phone when they arrive at your business. These alerts are custom to their tastes and preferences. That is because mobile payment has a benefit for the retailer too in the customer data collected from its use.

Mobile payment is the future that tech companies are betting on

Mobile payment isn’t about purchase power:

“It’s about identity. And it’s about the experience that a merchant can create, which is what actually builds loyalty. We believe that it’s important that the technology, the mechanics of payments, actually fade away to the background. They disappear completely.’’  – EBay’s Strategy for Taking On Amazon by Jeff Himmelman, New York Times.

He is not far from the truth. Traditionally our wallets hold pictures of our family, our business cards, and the monetary means to purchase the things we desire. They have always been the keeper of our lives. The digital wallet is born from this very same idea. Smart phones are now the carrier of our memories, our identities.

Mobile Payment is Strongly Linked with People’s Lives

Mobile payment and mobile loyalty work so well because they impact us where we spend most of our time, our phone. Most people are familiar with the overly stuffed purse/wallet that contains everything we might ever need. This is so common that it became an episode on Seinfeld. Well, the mobile wallet is also the keeper of things, but unlike a physical object, it has infinite space.

This puts it in a class above and beyond an app. Most users will ditch an app after only one use. A digital wallet resides as part of the phone itself. A user cannot ditch their mobile in the same way. You can be assured that a user that is using a digital payment will still be doing so tomorrow.

When a digital wallet offers a tangible benefit for its use, like customer loyalty in the form of personalized rewards, consumers are pleased with the timeliness and personalization that it affords them.

Mobile Payments are an inevitability. The increasing velocity in adoption of mobile and the increasing reliance on access for the always-on consumer means that the combination of payments capability and loyalty present the biggest opportunity for the brand to capture and maintain customer top of mind.

Contact us today to learn more about setting up your own customer mobile payment and loyalty program.

Photo Credit: garryknight via Compfight cc

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