Creating loyalty, engagement and influence through mobile payments
By Talbott Roche, CEO and president, Blackhawk Network
Thanks to continued changes in technology and consumers' dependence on mobile, the number of opportunities for brands to interact with their shoppers has increased significantly.
Now, brand interactions with consumers can take place anytime, anywhere. In a time where consumers expect brands to address their needs instantly in real-time, forward-thinking companies are looking to capitalize on mobile consumer touchpoints in order to create connections with consumers on every level.
According to a mobile survey from Google, only 9 percent of users surveyed will stay on a mobile site or app if it doesn't satisfy their needs, and 66 percent of consumers will take actions that have some negative impact on the brand, including going to another company’s mobile site or app for what they need (29 percent) making all mobile consumer touchpoints important to brands. Payment, for example, is one such touchpoint that can't be removed or circumvented by the consumer during the shopping process.
Here are some ways smart brands are leveraging mobile payments systems through branded value to influence consumers' choices, generate engagement and create loyalty:
Influencing consumers' choices
No longer just a functional step in making a purchase, mobile payments are now influencing consumers' choices on where to shop, what to buy and when.
According to a study by comScore, 44 percent of consumers surveyed reported using their smartphone to make a purchase, a nearly 47 percent increase over 2015. Retailers are capitalizing on consumers' desire for convenience by using innovations in mobile payments technology to connect with consumers when they need it. For example, Open Table enables consumers to find and reserve an available table at a local restaurant, sync their placed order to their phone and pay for their meal using the Open Table mobile wallet, all while tracking their loyalty points at each restaurant they frequent. Everyone wins when payment processing is expedited through the Open Table mobile wallet.
Consumers quickly shift from channel to channel to make purchasing decisions, while also fluidly shifting devices when they shop. Smart companies are connecting the payment mechanism with their brand to improve the shopper experience.
According to a 2015 Pulse of the Online Shopper survey by UPS, 40 percent of those surveyed who use retail apps rate having access to their shopping cart across all devices as an important feature. Branded value and payments technologies—in mobile wallets, via egifts, on shoppers' wrists or in the cloud—can create a unique path towards better customer engagement. Retailers are using omnichannel connectivity to create a cohesive, essentially interchangeable shopping experience that creates connections and engagement with their consumers.
One brand currently striding ahead with this approach is Jawbone, creator of a line of fitness tracker wristbands. The brand is leveraging its position as a trusted consumer brand to offer payment-enabled products to deepen engagement with its customers. Now consumers who wear the wristbands daily to track their health metrics—amount of exercise, sleep, etc.—can simply tap them to make contactless payments on the go. Easy and value added.
Loyalty programs and mobile payments are converging; with many brands now enabling shoppers to use loyalty points to make purchases or incentivize additional spending through gift cards, store price-match guarantees, or special promotions. Select programs enable consumers to convert loyalty points into an egift and make a purchase on multiple devices, including mobile. Popular mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay also enable consumers to store multiple loyalty and reward cards and keep track of their loyalty balances all in one place. Single-store mobile wallets, like Starbucks, also provide their loyal customers with convenient ways to order ahead and pay in-store with little hassle—all the while cementing the loyalty of their customers.
The key to leveraging branded value and mobile payments systems is going beyond just offering a branded payment solution, to creating one that actually makes life easier or adds real value for customers. When done right, branded value can create a bond between the consumer and their favorite brands resulting in loyalty, engagement and ultimately more spending.
Talbott Roche is the CEO and president of Blackhawk Network, a publicly held, multinational corporation based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Blackhawk integrates branded value, commercial platforms and business solutions to help organizations engage and enable individuals through mutually beneficial commercial relationships.