By Doug Brown, senior VP and general manager of FIS Mobile
With the use of smartphones and other mobile devices continuing to grow, more and more merchants are looking for a way to capitalize on a communication device that many people never put down. And, as the leaders in this area are finding, mobile loyalty and payment incentive programs possess many benefits for chain stores.
Tie mobile and incentives together
Many of the reasons for instituting an incentive program for a mobile wallet application match the reasons for creating a mobile app altogether – it gives you greater access to your customers, it increases the amounts they spend and it allows you to better target customers by reaching them where and when they’re likely to be interested.
When you consider the benefits of a mobile payment program, you may find yourself wondering why you’ve waited so long to start:
- Higher sales: Mobile wallet users tend to spend more money than those who pay with cash or credit. In fact, studies tracking users of FIS Mobile Wallet have found that consumers tend to buy more items and spend more money when paying with their mobile device than they otherwise would.
- Attractive customer base: Mobile users tend to be younger, active, with more disposable income – among the customers most coveted by many retailers.
- Brand loyalty: Mobile interaction boosts your relationship with a customer, making him or her more loyal to you and raising you to top-of-mind over your competitors.
- Real-time, strategic marketing: Mobile incentive programs can be tailored in real-time, giving you the opportunity to target shoppers based on what they’re purchasing as well as when or where they may shop. For instance, a fast food chain that does not use drive-throughs at its stores continually saw sales drop when it rained. Tying its mobile app to weather reports, it now sends mobile users incentives during rainstorms and tied to time periods forecasted for rain – immediately boosting sales on otherwise down days.
Maximizing return on investment (ROI)
Upgrading to a fully mobile payment system can seem daunting from a financial perspective, particularly for mid-size and regional chains, which may possess a large number of stores, with vast numbers of checkout lanes per store. Replacing all that hardware can be a massive challenge for all but the largest retailer chains.
Fortunately, there are alternatives. By using Quick Response – better known as QR – codes, a store can immediately offer mobile payments using its current hardware. A software upgrade allows current machines to print a QR code onto a receipt that a customer can then scan with his or her phone, or for your scanners to read a QR code displayed on a customer’s phone.
With QR codes, a customer can shop on his or her phone, order items for pick up at your store, and then scan a QR code and choose their payment instrument to complete the transaction. The customer could also scan a code on a digital POS device or from a printed receipt.
For smaller chains and stores, placing a payment-specific tablet at checkouts may be the answer. Cleared of other software, the tablet can function as a mobile register, displaying QR codes for smartphone customers to scan at checkout. Customers benefit from paying by mobile because they can receive and redeem relevant, real-time offers and discounts and track loyalty rewards points with one simple scan.
Put your customers first
If your store is considering a mobile payment incentive program, there are three important points to remember that can help you be successful.
Consider your customer base: If your sales are strong among younger customers, mobile may be a good way to build brand loyalty by enticing your mobile-savvy shoppers to further interact with you. If sales are lower among this group, mobile may be an avenue to boost those sales.
Make it relevant: Keeping your messages to customers relevant to their interests will make them more likely to use your incentives, strengthen your relationship with them and build your brand. If your incentives are not relevant, it can turn off your customer altogether.
Make it easily redeemable: By providing incentives in the form of mobile offers, customers can redeem their discount by tapping the offer when it’s presented in the app at the point of sale.
Going forward, it’s also important to use your incentive program to gain insight into your target audiences. By tracking the offers that work best, you can collect new information about your customers that can help you further tailor incentives and sales to attract and retain customers long-term. A mobile payment program can be added to your existing app, keeping your brand in the hands of your consumers and at the top of their minds.
Take the first step
To develop a mobile payment incentive program, it’s important to work with a reliable, proven technology partner. A close relationship with them will help you establish a strong mobile program from the beginning, and will give them the insight to recommend the best approach for your business.
They can help you make the best choices when building and maintaining a program, and share best practices and ideas that have helped other retailers succeed.
Doug Brown is senior VP and general manager of FIS Mobile.