MAG Insights

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A Mobile Wallet Day in the Life

By Chris Gardner, co-founder, Paydiant

Imagine this: On a sunny spring day, Jen, a 36 year-old wife and mother, puts her kids on the bus for school and leaves her suburban home for yet another busy day.  Her first stop is the gas station to fill-up her SUV.  She used to go wherever was convenient during her day, but now she makes a point to fill-up at stations in one specific chain because their new smartphone app gives her $.10 off per gallon when she uses the app to operate the pump and pay using her stored checking account information.  It’s a less expensive proposition for both the fuel station operator and Jen as the company pays less to process Jen’s payment and Jen gets to share in the savings through discounted gas prices.  

As she fills-up, Jen scrolls the offers in the app and finds one for a complementary cup of coffee in the store as a reward for being such a loyal mobile customer.  She regularly stops at her usual coffee spot, but she’s running late, so she decides to give it a try.  While inside, she’s pleasantly surprised to see that they sell fresh fruit and muffins and buys one of each by using the app to scan a QR code presented on the POS system’s display.  (The chain can use the purchase data to send more targeted offers to Jen in the app.)  As she leaves, she notices that they also sell milk, bread and even grocery items like pasta.  She makes a mental note to stop there the next time she needs those convenience items to save her a trip to the grocery store.  Jen has just become a much more valuable customer to the fuel station/convenience store operator.     

At the office, Jen’s workday is busy as usual and she doesn’t have time to wait in line for lunch.  She opens her app from her favorite quick service restaurant and pre-orders her usual Cobb Salad and decides to add chicken and one of their new Premium Super Fruit Power Smoothies when the app offers.  (A quick and easy upsell.)  As part of the checkout process, she also applies a $5.00 reward that she’s earned and pays for the balance with her reloadable gift card.  (That’s a bigger ticket size and a lower payment processing cost.)  Blown away by how convenient and easy to use the whole process is, Jen invites her colleague, Ryan, to download the app, order, and go with her to pick-up their lunches.  And with that, a new customer is born.  

As she sits in her afternoon meeting, Jen received a pop-up notification on her smartphone from her favorite store offering her a summer sandal “buy one, get one” deal that afternoon because it’s such a nice day.  The deal is too good to pass up so she makes a completely unexpected trip after work.  As she walks into the store, she opens the store’s app and activates the offer.  After trying on the shoes, she appreciates how the shoe associate quickly and easily checks her out with a tablet POS right there where she tried-on the shoes.  Using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), the tablet recognizes Jen because she’s signed into her store app with her smartphone.  The associate selects the items Jen is purchasing and Jen approves the purchase.  The transaction is processed in the cloud using Jen’s store private label credit card that stored in the app.  The store likes it because they can provide more personal service and because these cloud-based transactions are more secure than a traditional card swipe transaction.  As Jen walks out of the store, she uses the app to “like” the store on Facebook and invite her friends to sign up.  

Now, imagine that it’s not your business but your competitors that are offering these types of capabilities.  As retail becomes increasing mobile, more and more merchants are making mobile interactions core to their customer relationship. It’s already become a fundamental marketing channel, but more importantly, it is becoming deeply ingrained in the transaction itself – the successful culmination of marketing to your customers in the first place! If you ignore this transformation, you’ve missed the opportunity to evolve your relationship with valuable consumers like Jen and reach those people Jen influences in her daily life.  

The good news is that the only completely wrong mobile strategy is to do nothing at all. The winners will be those that get started now, learn what works for their particular business, and develop a mobile strategy tailored specifically for their business.  Apps like the ones described above are a reality today and there is no one-size fits all solution. That said, it is critical that retailers begin developing their offerings now, but there is no need to “boil the ocean” to start.  With modest investment and utilizing your existing systems, you can capitalize on mobile and cloud technology to literally insert your brand into the hands of current and new customers to enhance the everyday interactions you have with them.  

Chris Gardner is a co-founder of Paydiant, a MAG sponsor and a provider of white-label mobile payments, offers and loyalty to retailers. Paydiant’s customers include Subway, MCX, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt and other MAG member companies.