Why the Mobile Wallet is an Ineffective Middle Man

Posted by Alex Muller on Jun 11, 2014 10:14:00 AM

Alex MullerWritten by Alex Muller, CEO of GPShoppper

Remember when the initial image of your computer’s disk drive looked like a Filing Cabinet? To this day, when we search for a document on our PC, we dig deep through icons resembling file folders. Ever wonder why?

As the inventors of the Windows model Graphic User Interface understood that they needed to bring comfortable real-world analogs to the digital world, they decided a filing cabinet, folders and files were the best metaphors for organization. But now there’s a whole generation of people who have never actually filed a piece of paper.

Along this same line of thinking, we now have the Mobile Wallet; the idea being that we’ve always kept our loyalty and credit cards in our wallet, so the digital analog is to store virtual credit cards in a virtual wallet on our phone. But just as the filing cabinet is now a relic, the wallet is no longer a sensible method of navigating hundreds of cards. It’s a tedious way of managing brand affiliations and the process in which we pay for our purchases.

Retailers and brands should be focusing on bringing value beyond the “presentation” of information, and letting the mobile device facilitate the real-world experience. But, how?

Starbucks Mobile Payment

Consumers have fallen in love with Starbucks’ mobile payment feature, and not just because it’s easier to whip out a phone than a wallet (chances are the phone is already in their hands). The feature does the one thing a plastic card could never do – it tells the customer the balance of the account. So instead of carrying 3 or 4 Starbucks cards that we received at work, at that conference, as a survey incentive or from a friend, we have a consolidated account balance and we know exactly what it is.

The same can be said for loyalty program rewards. How often have we purchased something at our favorite store, just to realize we had an email offer that would have qualified us for a discount?

The key to providing a great user experience is simplicity. Consumers crave the most convenient way to access the payment and loyalty experience, and a digital representation of a physical card isn’t it. All that’s important is the information behind it.

Retailers, brands, health clubs, event venues, stadiums – any business with a loyalty program, payment process or physical check-in – should forego the digital wallet. Let’s start ensuring the optimal customer experience, such as a native mobile application that displays account credentials. Maximize the benefits that cause customers to engage with the program in the first place, whether those are personalized offers, status, achievements, product offerings, VIP access or special content. In the mobile phone, the app is the card. There is no more wallet.






Topics: In-Store Experience, Mobile Retail Apps, Omnichannel Retail, Mobile Payments

About GPShopper

GPShopper is a mobile commerce platform and app developer for retailers, using technology to transform the total retail experience.  GPShopper is a Synchrony solution. 
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