Mobile tech has changed the way we interact with the world, bringing with it the Mobile Wallet. Nearly no industry, market or activity has been untouched. Few technologies have seen so much evolution and growth since the 1990’s as electronic payments. It’s been a long road. All digital transactions, online and mobile, have become easier, more available and more secure. What the mobile wallet is making possible is starting to turn a lot of heads.

But first,

What is a Mobile Wallet?

Simply speaking, a mobile wallet folds all of the plastic in your back pocket neatly and securely into your mobile screen. That goes for credit and debit cards, brand-specific loyalty cards, account and identification credentials. Customers can make purchases online, order meals at their favorite restaurants, buy concert tickets, and much more in an easy, fun and convenient way.

According to Pew Research Center, over 68% of Americans had smartphones in 2015. And like the American Express Card, most never leave home without it. In Europe, there are even more smartphone users. Mobile wallets are great for customers, but they are a huge win for businesses, too.

Here’s why.

1. Improved sales through better customer loyalty programs

Better online sales and more satisfied customers are the ultimate goals of every business out there. According to Forrester, 66% of financial executives indicate acquiring new customers is the primary strategic goal of their customer loyalty program. Most brands have a customer loyalty card.

Some of you may remember Subway’s cards which got punched every time you ordered a sandwich. After all the tabs were finished, you got a free foot-long sandwich. Today, you are more likely to have a Starbucks card or the Starbucks app. Starbucks reported 8 million Mobile Order & Pay transactions in April of 2016.

Everyone loves discounts.

With mobile wallets, all of your loyalty and incentive programs are available to your customers anytime and anywhere. You get your business right into your customer’s pocket, how cool is that? Naturally, the design and development of such a tool is a task you want to trust to top-notch professionals with vast expertise. While smaller systems may need less specificity, larger and more scalable solutions are a quite challenging task.

Mobile wallets carry the details to allow their owners to make purchases and get the most use of loyalty cards. They enable you to carefully cater new offers, special discounts and deals right to your customer’s fingertips. When done right, loyalty programs increase sales, maximize return and boost conversion rate.

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Integration of discount cards and coupons, creation of algorithms and logic of the referral systems, logic of accumulation and a clear visualization of it all in the client app enables businesses to seamlessly integrate existing market systems. Make sure it pays to be loyal to you.

2. Mobile Wallets, Analytics and Inventory

The better you know what your customers love – the more they will love you. Mobile wallets make it easy and convenient for customers to buy from you. Mobile wallet analytics makes it easier for you to manage your business more profitably. This is information you can use to make smarter business decisions, easier.

Mobile wallet analytics provide you precious insights like, “I sell a lot of jackets on Thursdays and Saturdays.” This information helps you keep sufficient levels of the right inventory on hand for your sales cycle. You could also use this data to create daily displays rotating products based on trends. Tied into an inventory control system, you can automate a large portion of your purchase orders for replenishment.

Much the same applies to restaurants. You may see customers order certain drinks and meals together or see some meals more popular on certain days. This feeds into the bundling of combo and value meals or “dishes of the day.” These, in turn, can be promoted further via displays and menu inserts. Tied into an inventory control system can dramatically enhance management of perishable goods, reducing waste and markdowns.

Mobile wallets, analytics and inventory control have their own functions and can work together as follows:

Engage customers with customized offers. Wallet
Improve sales. Wallet & Analytics
Optimize product turnover. Analytics
Fast turnover reduces mark downs, damages and write-offs, Analytics & Inventory Control
Balance working capital and optimal inventory levels. Analytics & Inventory Control
Automated real-time flagging for re-order. Wallet & Inventory Control

Most businesses already have their own inventory control systems, suffice that integration of the mobile wallet and analytics is fairly routine. Each component fulfills a function, but as we will see shortly, a fully integrated system becomes more than the sum of its parts.

3. How fast is your customer checkout?

Can you make it faster?

Scientific fact: customers like quick service.

“By using mobile payments, we can move customers through the hot dog shop quicker. During a busy lunch, we can serve 250 customers if we keep people moving!” Says Philadelphia-based restaurant Hot Diggity owner, Keith Garabedian.

Obviously, paying with credit card is less hassle, than dealing with cash. But for that, you have to make sure the tech behind payment is done well. Mobile wallet applications allow accommodating more customers in the same period of time. That’s especially handy during rush hours, holidays and peak seasons when the load is harder to manage.

There’s one company taking the whole idea of faster checkouts to the extreme. No Checkouts. Can you guess who?

Spoiler Alert!

So, yeah… if you guessed Amazon, you’re right. If you haven’t heard and don’t want to watch the video, Amazon Go lets people walk in, take what they want from the shelves and walk out. Everything else is handled by computer vision, deep learning, sensor fusion and the customer’s mobile wallet.

While each component is critical, none of that could happen without their mobile wallet. Right now, it’s just one store in Seattle.  Now, what do you think?  Will Amazon roll this technology out to all of its Wholefood Stores?

Aik Arutunian

Head of Marketing at Reinvently

Avid contributor to a number of business and tech blogs, Aik excels in marketing, business development and growth hacking.

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