Opinion

Mobile wallets: The business opportunities are only just beginning

6 min read

18 March 2015

Juan Ageitos, senior marketing manager at mobile engagement provider mGage, observes the emergence of the mobile wallet and how small businesses can use the channel to boost revenues.

We are heading rapidly towards a situation where mobile is synonymous with ‘wallet.’ With a flurry of innovations in the sector such as the launch of Samsung’s m-payment service, the unveiling of the Apple Watch, the ability to pay via Snapchat, the introduction of payments on social media, and an increase in consumers paying for things on their mobile, it is no surprise that mobile wallets are poised to become a massive marketing channel.

Results from a recent survey carried out by mGage, looking into consumers attitudes towards charging things to their mobile bill, suggest that this is a natural progression and something that consumers are ready to welcome. The research found that almost one third of consumers have donated to charity via their mobile phones, with a similar number being happy to pay for everyday items by charging them to their mobile phone bill. Of these, 80 per cent of consumers said they would be happy to charge up to £15 on everyday items to their mobile.

No sign of the appetite slowing

Moreover, there doesn’t seem to be any sign of this hunger for mobile easing. The research highlighted that almost two thirds of respondents think they will shop on their mobile more in a year than they do now, demonstrating their expectant attitude.

According to research by Forrester, consumers’ appear to already be thinking well beyond mobile’s function as a wallet, and have a great desire to use it as more than this. Consumers want a “retailing experience” – an all-in-one receipt-storing, reservation-making, product information-giving mobile device; they don’t want to be limited to simply paying on it. 

That consumers want a rounded experience from their mobile should not come as a surprise, with shopping behaviours such as “webrooming” and “boomerooming” now common practice. Mobile phones have become key research devices in the retail arena, as well as a means of accessing promotions and offers, thanks to the rise of proximity marketing which targets consumers based on their proximity to the store.

Continue onto page two for how mobile has become an enabler at a high profile event like the London Fashion Week and why SMEs should embrace the mobile wallet.

Mobile as an enabler

Mobiles are a fundamental part of brand experiences beyond the retail industry; London Fashion Week being one of the most notable and recent examples. At this event Burberry led the way by engaging consumers on mobile. Wherever consumers were in the world, they could connect with the fashion show by tweeting #Tweetcam with the @Burberry Twitter handle; a camera on the catwalk would then take a picture for them. This allowed everyone who was unable to attend, but wished to participate, to still get involved. Mobile is therefore an enabler, enhancing our lives in a way that was never before possible. 

Mobile first strategy

So the appetite, behaviours and awareness are all there. It is an opportunity waiting to be seized. A huge responsibility rests on marketers’ shoulders to grab this with both hands and enhance their customers’ experiences with mobile. 

For small businesses with extensive lists of considerations, mobile may not be at the top of the list – perhaps viewed as a ‘nice to have’ rather than a necessity; but, with developments in this area travelling at a speed of knots, it needs to sit at the top of the list.  

For any SME that needs convincing of this fact, there are solid arguments in favour of a mobile first strategy. It provides the reach that bricks and mortar stores simply cannot. In line with this it is, of course, great for the balance sheet as it will reduce the need for significant overheads. It will allow your proposition to become part of the daily lives of consumers as they will be able to browse and purchase your products or services on the move, without having to carve time out of their day to do so, thus increasing the likelihood of engagement.

Our research found that almost 50 per cent of respondents would be more likely to purchase products/services on their mobile if they could do so with just two clicks, rather than having to input card/ address details – particularly true of the 18-21 year old respondents. So help yourself by making this as easy as possible for them. Allow them to do so with just two clicks, rather than having to fill out lots of details.

No sign of disruption easing

With the launch of the Apple Watch, and no doubt many rival technologies to follow, as well as the much anticipated Apple Pay later in the year, there is no sign of the disruption in the payments industry easing. Marketers must jump on the band wagon, or risk the very real possibility of being left behind.

Juan Ageitos is the senior marketing manager at mobile engagement specialist mGage.