Mobile Wallet Marketing: Offers, Coupons and Loyalty at the Center

US consumers probably won’t be replacing their leather wallets or designer purses with mobile phones or smart watches any time soon, but that doesn’t mean brands—especially retail brands—can afford to ignore the burgeoning marketing opportunity mobile wallets offer. As people grow accustomed to using devices to pay at the point of sale, the mobile wallet will become an important hub that will enable marketers to provide customers with more context as well as greater convenience, according to a new eMarketer report, “The Mobile Wallet: Six Things Marketers Should Know.”

Offers, coupons and loyalty programs are nothing new to marketers and advertisers seeking to engage with customers and drive demand. But by connecting these tactics to mobile wallets, they’re starting to provide more convenience and context to consumers while they shop, as well as providing real-time insights that marketers can harness immediately to improve performance or meet specific objectives.

“I think the first use case [for marketing on mobile wallets] is more relevant offer that is specifically targeted to a consumer in a mindset to make a purchase,” said Alistair Goodman, CEO of Placecast. He elaborated that past purchase history could be triangulated with real-time location information to deliver compelling contextual messages and offers to individuals at the perfect moment to provoke a desired action.

Julie Bernard, CMO of Verve Mobile, agreed that sale messaging, coupons and promotional offers currently dominate the conversations related to marketing on mobile wallets. “While it may
 not be terribly exciting from an advertising industry perspective, it remains enormously relevant from a consumer point of view,” she explained. When consumers take advantage of a coupon, deal or promotion, it makes them feel like a savvy shopper, Bernard said. “Delivering those coupons and offers to the consumer in a manner that makes life easy for them is a hugely advantageous opportunity for advertisers and marketers,” she noted.

More often than not, brand-specific mobile wallets are tied in with loyalty programs to incentivize and hopefully habituate usage with offers and rewards.

Context will be key to keeping consumers engaged, and better analytics from mobile wallets will be one element to help inform how to provide that context. Marketers “actually have that information available to know what [customers] bought last and how frequently they’ve been in,” said David Luther, chief business officer at Mozido. “You can create that segment, then give them a pretty valuable discount to get them to come back,” Luther noted.

Michael Puffer, director of mobile solutions and strategy for HelloWorld, explained that a main advantage of mobile wallets is the deeper level of customer data and instant feedback loop they can provide campaigns and programs. “We’re really excited about this as a way to kind of quantify [what] really wasn’t as readily available and much more difficult to implement previously,” he said.