Mobile wallets are continually gaining attention across the world.
While the focus is primarily on payments, Forrester has predicted that the future of mobile wallets will go far beyond mobile payments by enabling smarter and more efficient commerce experiences through the delivery of value-added services — before, during, and after the payment moment.
Launched this year, the report on mobile wallets’ real power in generating powerful customer engagement opportunities talks about Asian mobile wallets like Alipay and WeChat creating sophisticated customer engagement features within their customer lifecycle. Here we will take a look at how marketers in Europe and America can look to create robust opportunities from this.
Chinese digital companies such as Alipay and WeChat have started to create rich customer engagement platforms, morphed from their mobile wallets. These platforms offer reach and opportunities for marketers to borrow mobile moments to better serve their customers. Alipay and WeChat have aggressively added sophisticated engagement features to their mobile wallets. The two feature-rich wallets support the entire customer lifecycle and have evolved into lifestyle platforms for Chinese consumers. WeChat’s social nature and Alipay’s commerce functions have created different wallet innovations that apply to different stages of the customer lifecycle. Chinese B2C marketing professionals are using the following functions to enable their marketing strategies. These include:
Innovative coupon and offer formats, such as AR coupons, in the discover stage. In addition to regular coupons and display ads, both wallets successfully invented new formats, like Alipay’s AR red packets. Alipay launched the Pokémon-Go-like augmented reality mobile game Catch the small Cat. More than 30,000 retail stores participated, including KFC, Shanghai Disneyland, and Starbucks; Starbucks alone gave away 270,000 AR coupons.
Enhanced location-based and cross-border services in the explore stage. In addition to location-based services in local markets, Chinese mobile wallets provided features for cross-border travel and shopping. Alipay’s home page pushes banners advertising tourist spots to consumers when they travel to another country.
Value-added features to ease offline purchases and payments in the buy stage. Chinese mobile wallets add valuable features to offline services such as food and ride ordering.
Convenient digital services, such as tax rebates, in the use stage. In the past few years, Alipay has partnered with 100,000 retailers in 70 countries and regions and with tax-rebate companies in 24 countries and at 10 airports worldwide to provide cross-border shopping and tax rebate services to Chinese travellers.
Value-added features to improve the post-purchase experience in the ask stage. Aside from checking digital receipts, customers rarely use mobile wallets to engage in the post-purchase stage. While it is uncommon for mobile wallets to integrate messaging features for customer service like WeChat does, Alipay’s package delivery status functionality was a great example of creating value-added features for the post-purchase stage.
Deep customer engagement features like social gifting in the engage stage. Most mobile wallets let customers save brands’ loyalty cards; marketers leverage this to engage consumers. WeChat went a step further, adding a social gifting feature to its mobile wallet. Starbucks was the first brand to leverage this feature; the partnership puts a Starbucks-branded button in WeChat Wallet, enabling users to instantly and conveniently give a Starbucks beverage or digital gift card to their WeChat friends.
These successful marketing use cases developed on Alipay and WeChat wallet show how wallets can be utilised. B2C marketing professionals should be prepared to uncover the power of mobile wallets and build a localised strategy to adopt mobile wallets.
Mainstream mobile wallets provide offerings like coupons and loyalty cards. But marketers need to take the initiative and work with wallet players and mobile specialists like Veoo to create new ways to engage customers. This will enable marketers to test news technologies and innovations. In particular they should look to use mobile wallets to increase cross-border travel and shopping experiences. Retailers, airports, hotels, restaurants, duty-free stores, and resorts already in partnerships should use mobile wallet features like location-based offerings, and real-time tax rebates to deepen their engagement. These tactics and agile strategies will enable UK and US players such as Apple and PayPal to morph their mobile wallets into more powerful customer engagement platforms.
Matthew Winters, CEO, Veoo