Retailers are following Starbucks Corp.’s lead by developing their own apps for customer engagement and payments, but questions remain over how many apps customers will actually use.
For one thing, merchant apps are so new that no one knows yet how many of them consumers are willing to load, but the betting is that the number could be quite limited. Many consumer phones are already cluttered with the variety of Pays from tech giants and a crop now emerging from banks.
Of course, customers can download as many apps as they like, and a sponsoring merchant is unlikely to care just so long as its own app is being used. While the term mobile wallet continues to be used to connote one app on a phone that handles all payments, it is possible that shoppers will see the device itself as the wallet and reach into it for whatever app they think they need at the moment.
Overview by Ben Jackson, Director, Prepaid Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group
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