Mobile wallets are not just about mobile payments. Consumers want a better shopping experience. To provide that, brands need to give consumers the ability to see what’s on stored-value cards, access their loyalty points, and automatically receive digital copies of receipts.

As technology shifts the way people shop and new forms of technology gain traction among savvy consumers, the overall retail experience is rapidly changing and looks very different from the one that existed just a few years ago. With so much pressure to compete, should retailers devote time and resources into building out their mobile wallet platforms?

In a word: yes.

That’s because mobile wallets are not just about mobile payments. Though they enable faster and more secure payments, they also offer real—and for many brands, untapped— value, including by giving shoppers the ability to see what’s on their stored-value cards, tap into their loyalty points, and receive and house digital receipts.

Still skeptical? More than half, 57 percent, of U.S. adult smartphone users are interested in having access to loyalty program points and rewards within a mobile wallet.1 What’s more, 44 percent of consumers said a mobile wallet onto which they could store information would enhance their shopping experience.2 According to Forrester, U.S. mobile payments are expected to grow from $52 billion last year to $142 billion by 2019.3

They’re also easier—for customers and merchants alike.

As shopping has evolved into an omnichannel environment and smartphones are reaching critical mass among consumers, the mobile device has become a bridge between the physical and digital worlds, according to Amy Parsons, Vice President of Strategic Merchant Relations and Global Emerging Products at Discover.

“By enabling mobile wallets, merchants can tap into several key benefits, such as faster checkout times, reduced fraud losses, and a more seamless customer experience,” said Parsons. “Mobile wallets and proprietary merchant apps also offer the ability to connect directly with customers through special offerings and deals, making them a critical component of driving increased customer loyalty. For instance, Discover works with merchants to provide specific offers to Discover cardmembers that can be delivered on-the-go, allowing those merchants to attract customers in new ways.”

Brands looking to grow their mobile wallet platforms may look to the Starbucks mobile app for inspiration. Customers can pay for their orders by waving their smartphones at the checkout counter. The app is connected to My Starbucks Rewards, the brand’s loyalty program, so customers can track purchases to earn free drinks and other deals. The coffee giant is also looking at expanding its “order-ahead” capability, which allows app users in select cities to place an order remotely and pick it up moments later in the store.

But it’s not just loyalty programs mobile wallets tie into. They can store customer receipts, which helps shoppers manage their sales history and makes returns and exchanges a breeze.

A consumer might also use a mobile wallet to buy and house tickets in order to enter sporting events, movies, and concerts.

On the brand side, retailers can activate a mobile wallet to distribute deals, coupons, and promotions. Taking this one step further, mobile wallets can be enabled to offer contextual, targeted messaging based on a shopper’s location.

Plus, various mobile wallets offer securityfeatures that are not found when using a payment card alone, including biometrics (such as fingerprints), a Secure Element or the cloud to store information, and tokenization, to bring additional layers of security to payments.

“It’s important for merchants to look internally and develop the right way to differentiate their business that creates more value for the customer in a frictionless commerce environment,” Parsons said. “One way to do that is to partner with Discover Network to put together the right program that leverages our infrastructure and assets, and commitment to security, to foster innovation within their business.”

See More From Discover

 
1http://blogs.forrester.com/thomas_husson/15-02-09-the_future_of_mobile_wallets_lies_beyond_payments
2http://client.vibes.com/references/MobileWallet_ConsumerReport.pdf
3http://blogs.forrester.com/denee_carrington/14-11-17-us_mobile_payments_will_reach_142b_by_2019

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