According to a new report on consumer use of mobile wallets, marketers ought to be taking advantage of clear consumer demand by stepping up their offerings on the non-payment side of the mobile wallet.

M-Marketing: Opportunities for Retailers in Non-Payment Mobile Wallet Services

With its Passbook, an application which combines loyalty cards, coupons and travel cards in one, Apple has shown the path to success in the field of mobile payments. In an article published last year by L’Atelier, the specialists interviewed then were already suggesting that the success of mobile payments would depend to a large extent on the provision of related services. Now Vibes Media, a supplier of mobile marketing solutions, confirms this trend in a report entitled Mobile Wallet Consumer Report – Non-payment opportunities for marketers, which indicates that retailers should be capitalising on the strong consumer demand to create loyalty through digital services designed to highlight promotions and organise content such as coupons and loyalty cards.

Consumers’ limited grasp of mobile wallet use

Commissioned by Vibes to field a survey, independent panel research firm Equation Research asked 1,000 US smartphone owners aged 18 or older from its online opinion panel to describe what a standard mobile wallet was all about. Only 27% of those polled had grasped the concept in its entirety, i.e. that it is an electronic tool designed not only to store and organise money but also additional related information such as loyalty card numbers, boarding cards, etc. Nevertheless, the majority of the respondents stated that their perception of a retailer would change for the better if the retailer started to deliver a full range of mobile wallet content. Moreover, 44% of those who are currently non-users of mobile wallets agreed that a non-payment mobile wallet tool would enhance their in-store shopping experience.

Retailers need to educate their customers

Jack Philbin, co-founder and CEO of Vibes Media, underlines that Apple’s Passbook and Google Wallet offer consumers a means of “organising their smartphones in a way that works for them”, which is creating a huge opportunity for retailers not only to vary their commercial offerings but also to educate their customers on how to reap the full benefits of the tool. Contrary to general perception, a mobile app is not absolutely indispensable for distributing commercial offers. Among consumers’ preferred channels for receiving mobile wallet content, apps actually came in third in the survey, favoured by just 19% of respondents, far behind email (preferred by 46%) and even trailing text messages (20%).

By Ruolin Yang