Mobile payments are not something new, yet many companies fall short on capitalizing on their use to better meet customer needs.
While Google Wallet debuted in 2011, purchases through mobile were introduced more than a decade prior. In 1999, Ericsson and Telnor Mobile provided the opportunity to purchase movie tickets using your cell phone, which at the time had a physical keypad and ringtones from your favorite ‘90s artists – writes Andrew Wind, Principal Product Manager, Digital Wallet, Vantiv.
That was well before the iPhone came out, and just the beginning of what mobile devices can achieve today. Despite the rapid adoption of the smartphone and the numerous functions of the device, mobile payments use has grown at a slower rate than anticipated.
However, as comScore reports, online purchases from mobile contributed $22.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016, a 45% increase over the previous year. Similar year-over-year growth is expected at the end of 2017. As technology advances and consumers look for more convenient ways to shop, mobile payments are at a critical threshold.
To better understand consumers’ needs, Vantiv conducted research which found that overall experience with mobile payments has been quite positive with 80% of users rating their experience as excellent and very good. And to no surprise, Millennials (46%) and GenXers (41%) are the heaviest, most frequent users of mobile payments. While growth may be slow, consumers are content, and the younger generations are adapting, paving the way for mobile payments to take off and expand the user base.
At this point, retailers are familiar, if not proficient, with mobile payments and accepting them in their stores. To keep up with technological changes and adoption rates, stores need to create a seamless mobile payment experience for their customers.
Experiences are not one-size fits all. Therefore, you should consider a methodical approach to your mobile payments strategy and consider use cases specific to your ecosystem which could be enhanced via digital wallets. Here are four ways to get started:
- Offer mobile payments: This may seem obvious, but one in five survey respondents indicated the retailers they shop at don’t offer a mobile payments option. On top of that, 75 percent of mobile payment users wish they could use it at more locations. So, the first step is offering mobile payments. If your store already does, discuss with your provider if you have the most current operating system or if there are updates you could incorporate for a better end-user experience.
- Integrate coupons into POS: Mobile devices are already part of the consumer payment experience, as 49 percent use them for coupons and 45 percent use them to compare prices while in the store. Retailers can capitalize on this existing habit by providing a seamless experience for consumers to use coupons in-store. For additional shopper touch points, deploy coupons via email marketing campaigns to bring consumers in-store.
- Start a loyalty program: Whether you are serving ice cream or outfitting rock climbers, a loyalty program can positively impact your business. In fact, 43 percent of consumers report they would shop more frequently with retailers or restaurants who are part of a coalition loyalty program. By deploying a loyalty program, you are providing your consumers with a reason to keep coming back. Make it even easier for consumers by making the loyalty program accessible via their mobile devices.
- Educate your employees: For your mobile payments to run smoothly, your employees need to be both experts and advocates. Survey respondents indicated that they feel annoyed and embarrassed when mobile payments don’t work, and frustrated when employees are uninformed on the technology. If your employees are proficient in the technology, mobile payment users will feel comfortable using it and know that your store has a successful system.
Now is the time to adopt mobile wallet technology as a payment option not only for the convenience of consumers, but because mobile wallets may contribute to reduced operating costs and boosted revenues.
Updated technology and seamless integration will not only delight customers but can lead to increased loyalty by removing a barrier to payments. Having an effective and robust mobile strategy will enable both mobile and internet-based purchases as well as in-store purchases, thereby showing your customers that they are your priority and you want them to have a better, more efficient shopping experience.