Xiaofeng Wang, a senior analyst at Forrester, recently penned an article in Forbes that explores what global mobile wallet players can learn from Asia’s digital leaders. According to Wang, the future of mobile wallets is expected to go “far beyond” mobile payments.
In the West, says Wang, this vision is still very much a work in progress. However, the China-based Alipay and WeChat have steadily evolved their mobile wallets into rich customer engagement platforms.
“While mainstream Western mobile wallets primarily focus on payments, pioneer mobile wallets in China have taken aggressive steps and become powerful customer engagement tools with innovative features — such as WeChat’s social gifting and Alipay’s augmented reality coupons and red packets,” he writes. “Their mobile wallet innovations span the customer life cycle.”
As Wang explains, the successful marketing use cases developed on Alipay and WeChat Wallet will ultimately inspire third-party players like Apple and PayPal to morph their mobile wallets into more powerful customer engagement platforms. For example, says Wang, mainstream wallets will add customer engagement features to attract more traffic to offline stores. Indeed, it should be noted that PayPal recently added options like “stores nearby” and “order ahead.”
Moreover, says Wang, the influence of Alipay and WeChat Wallet will create more space for third-party providers.
“The West’s different ecosystem creates added competition for its mobile wallet players and gives third-party providers opportunities to add customer engagement features and offerings to Western mobile wallets and uncover the potential of marketing,” he added.
Last, but certainly not least, Wang pointed out that most customers don’t want to download their brands’ mobile apps.
“So, marketers need to smartly leverage the mobile ecosystem to borrow mobile moments from the popular apps that their customers already use every day. Mobile wallets are such apps,” he concluded.
In related news, Reuters reports that a survey conducted by Ipsos for the ING bank website eZnomics found that more than a third of Europeans and Americans would be happy to go without cash and rely on electronic forms of payment if they could – while at least 20 percent already pretty much do so.
“The study, which was conducted in 13 European countries, the United States and Australia, also found that in many places where cash is most used, people are among the keenest to ditch it,” reports Jeremy Gaunt of Reuters. “Overall, 34 percent of respondents in Europe and 38 percent in the United States said they would be willing to go cash-free. [Meanwhile], twenty-one percent and 34 percent in Europe and the United States, respectively, said they already rarely use cash.”
Nevertheless, Ian Bright, managing director of group research for ING wholesale banking, told Reuters Television that he does not see people quitting cash entirely.
“More and more people will end up with a situation where they can quite comfortably get by for two days, three days, four days, even a week, without ever using cash,” he stated.