Maintaining contact with existing customers has become a priority of many retail businesses. The advantage single merchant wallets held over universal payment mobile wallets was the integration of loyalty program with the payment scheme. Of late, that distinction has become increasingly porous.
“We want to make in-store payments simpler for everyone, so we’ve worked with Walgreens to implement Balance Rewards with Android Pay in their stores nationwide – giving customers instant, frictionless access to their loyalty card when they pay,” said Pali Bhat, Google senior director, product management. “Now, Walgreens customers can speed through the entire checkout process in as few as two taps with their Android phones.”
Android Pay is one of the many convenient payment options at the nearly 8,200 Walgreens stores nationwide. Customers can pay for purchases with most standard credit and debit cards, EMV chip credit cards and other mobile wallets. Balance Rewards integration with Apple Pay is also offered.
As the field of major pharmacy chains is winnowed, the remaining players are employing technological innovations throughout the customer experience, with special attention being paid to transactional points of contact. Walgreen’s announcement of integrating Balance Rewards comes soon after CVS’ release of its own single merchant wallet application. It remains to be seen how Walgreen’s acquisition of Rite Aid will play out, and the integration of their corresponding loyalty programs not to mention what will happen with Rite Aid’s membership in the multi-merchant rewards program Plenti.
Overview by Joseph Walent, Senior Analysts, Emerging Technologies Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group
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