The author of the article calls attention to an area that single-merchant mobile wallets have been able to address, but is exponentially more complex when moved to a universal mobile wallet. There are issues around privacy and sharing that would likely need to be discerned on a merchant by merchant basis.
Customer intimacy is a fine line but an important one not to cross. It is possible to engage customers with real-time offers that consider their geographical location without seeming like a creeper. Another example of mobile loyalty comes from one of my favorite topics–coffee! Let’s say the customer buys ten coffees and the phone sends a message alerting the customer that the eleventh coffee is given to the customer for free. While variations of this exist today, most companies aren’t doing this type of mobile customer engagement. There are tons of opportunities to do innovative engagement programs through the phone. Mobile pay is a big opportunity to know the customer, engage with the customer and win them over through intimate and real-time offerings.
Conversely, there are many of us that reflexively balk at the idea of maintaining a separate app for each of the various business we engage with on a regular or semi-regular cadence. In most cases, the consumer will need to realize an actual or perceived benefit in exchange for providing access to their habits. It is not without trepidation that device suppliers, payment networks, financial institutions and merchant associations are exploring the closer association of universal payment history with merchant specific loyalty programs. Mercator Advisory Group believes that providing consumers with an ability to “opt-in” to programs rather than being required to “opt-out” would likely be a good place to start to gain early acceptance.
Overview by Joseph Walent, Senior Analyst, Emerging Technology Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group
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