The evolution of mobile wallets

By James Hamilton, founder and director of ActivelyOutdoors.

Loyalty programmes are nothing new, from the punch cards at your local small business, the discount cards at your favourite supermarket and the vaunted success of Starbucks rewards.

Giving consumers an extra incentive to spend their money with you can not only get you a quick impulse sale, but also has the potential to gain lifelong loyalty with a growing base of consumers interacting with your brand.

As the way consumers pay for goods and services changes, so do the opportunities cycle marketers have to connect with them in a meaningful way. Yes, I’m talking about mobile wallets. Your smartphone is likely in your pocket (or in your hand) right now, but you probably haven’t fully leveraged its potential as either a consumer or a marketer

The last five years have seen mobile payments launch in fits and starts, but digital wallets are finally gaining huge traction among consumers. According to a report by Zion Market Research, the global mobile wallet market value will reach $3.1 billion by 2022 with an annual growth rate of 32%, year over year. Last year, 54% of consumers used mobile wallets embedded in their smartphones through apps such as Apple Wallet, Android and Samsung Pay, and that number will only grow.

But what’s even more interesting is that more than half of those consumers expressed a desire to use their mobile wallets for functions other than payment. Things like digital loyalty cards, coupons, order delivery updates, boarding passes, ID cards, event tickets and even reminders about coupon expiration and loyalty card balances are all native elements of the mobile wallet ecosystem.

This means that in addition to building a lasting bond with your customers through a digital loyalty programme, you can now send them meaningful lock-screen reminders – say, before a discount coupon expires or if they are due a bike service, or even to just stop by the bike shop for a free coffee after a ride – while incentivising them to make a purchase decision. Think of it as mobile content marketing that’s always in the customer’s hand.

Because digital loyalty programmes can be stored within the mobile wallet and don’t require a physical card for consumers to lose or an account number to remember, they overcome the two biggest hurdles of loyalty programme longevity: consumers forgetting their cards or forgetting that they even signed up in the first place. Marketers can now remind consumers that they have a payment system embedded in the one item they never forget. With mobile payment technology, you’re a single push notification away from creating the next digital touchstone directly with consumers.

As mobile payments evolve and accelerate, so do the possibilities for marketing strategies and partnerships. Through location services, for example, retailers and brands/distributors are able to team up so that a purchase at a given shop location might generate a coupon for 10% the next time they pass by said shop.

As our everyday lives have become increasingly digitised and automated, mobile wallets and loyalty programmes have become more relevant for cycle marketers and the consumers you’re trying to reach.

So if you haven’t yet, next time you reach to make a payment, check out the mobile wallet on your phone. Chances are, there’s a whole universe of opportunity waiting for you, and it’s sitting right there in your pocket.

In other news...

Pennine Cycles: Standing the test of time

Rebecca Bland visits one of Yorkshire’s most iconic bike shops  This piece first appeared in …