Mobile applications associated with digital wallets drive consumer loyalty

With today’s economic environment driving consumers into cash-saving mode, e-commerce retailers need to double down on targeted communications to ensure their mobile content is as personalized as possible without underestimating the power of one inappropriate or wrong message.

Mobile engagement platform Vibes and Industry Dive surveyed a broad range of 1,001 mobile-centric consumers in November and December 2022 to better understand their relationship with mobile retail.

The goal was to find out how mobile shopping consumers interact with brands on their phones and how often. The results published in the 2023 Mobile Consumer Trends Reports revealed some surprising and unexpected insights. One of the key trends was the increased use of digital wallets associated with mobile store applications.

In-store events or exclusive store offers may prompt some consumers to enable push notifications on a brand’s mobile app and sign up to receive text messages. Nearly half (42%) of consumers said they would be more encouraged to visit a physical business location to avoid shipping costs.

According to Jay Hinman, vice president of marketing at Vibes, the researchers were most impressed by the consistent and unequivocal consumer enthusiasm for the personalization and immediacy that comes from SMS. The survey showed that 70% of consumers use it to communicate with their favorite brands.

“We see mobile wallet as a growing and very important channel that brands can use for an ongoing two-way dialogue with their customers,” he told The E-commerce Times.

Purchase of new payment methods

For example, Vibes Wallet Manager helps brands drive customer downloads of permanent wallet coupons, such as loyalty, gift and membership cards, that extend each brand’s reach, Hinman explained. It really complements their applications.

The Mobile Consumer Report focuses on the mobile wallets Vibes is most familiar with, such as Apple and Google. This is where the company sees all this action happening on consumer devices.

The report dismisses the use of online banking methods other than large digital wallets. According to Hinman, that was more a function of unasked questions than a statement about online banking.

“Obviously, it’s a trend that’s only growing. I’m still amazed that all my check deposits are now done by photographing my checks instead of going to an ATM. It will take me a few more years to adjust to that big leap,” he quipped about the adoption of digital and mobile payment methods.

Submitting offers for e-commerce sellers

One key insight from the survey is that 40% of smartphone users say they’d be happy to give brands their zip code, name, mobile number and other zero-party data in exchange for better personalization. These data suggest that these exchanges will only be mutually beneficial over time, Hinman predicted.

Part of this continued growth in the convenience of mobile devices for shopping is a result of the current global economy. He sees the situation as less macroeconomic conditions such as interest rates or banking issues that drive mobile wallet adoption.

Consumers want all kinds of messages from brands.

Infogrpahic.  Consumers want all kinds of messages from brands.

Source: Vibes and Industry Dive’s studioID 2023 Mobile Consumer Trends Report

Instead, more brands have found that they need to fill the engagement gap by combining high-reach, low-engagement channels like email with low-reach, high-engagement channels like a brand’s mobile app.

“They see low open rates for the former and low download rates for the latter. They see a clear path to present their customers with a way to engage and retain products like digital offers and loyalty cards,” Hinman said.

According to this survey, he noted that more than 70% of smartphone users are likely to save and redeem mobile wallet offers or coupons that personalize their names and match their shopping preferences. This propensity for personalization sets the stage for driving engagement and driving users into stores.

Age factors in cellular adoption

Another big surprise is the role that consumers’ age plays in their perspective on shopping and paying with a mobile phone.

loyalty card infographic

Source: Vibes and Industry Dive’s studioID 2023 Mobile Consumer Trends Report

While people 55 and older didn’t show much interest, consumers under 55 indicated they were also interested in mobile wallets to store loyalty cards instead of having a physical card.

One in two consumers between the ages of 25 and 54 are interested in a loyalty card that they can store in their phone’s mobile wallet.

There’s a generational gap for everything, and the mobile wallet is one of them in 2023, Hinman agreed. Consumers under 55 were much more enthusiastic about using their devices to pay for products, engage with offers and hold loyalty cards and tickets than those over 55.

The other big surprise that stood out to Hinman is that while consumers over 40 cited receiving too many SMS messages from a brand as the top reason for unsubscribing, 28% of consumers under 40 actually cited frequency as well. : multiple messages as a reason for ceasing to receive communications from the brand.

“I’m sure every brand marketer wants to know who that 28% is right now,” he quipped.

Report highlights

Mobile messaging continues to grow as a widely used marketing channel. Almost 70% of consumers have received text messages and mobile app push notifications from a brand on their phones.

When it comes to shopping, saving money is back on everyone’s mind. Nearly half of responding consumers say avoiding shipping costs would encourage them to visit a business’s physical location.

Nearly one in five smartphone users (19%) who did not use their phones to purchase store-branded offers and coupons in the past year plan to use their phones for these activities in the coming year.

For actions not taken in the past year, one in ten or more smartphone users plans to take those actions in the coming year.

smartphone user activity infographic

Source: Vibes and Industry Dive’s studioID 2023 Mobile Consumer Trends Report

Half of consumers who receive push notifications or SMS messages from brands say their main motivators are incentives or coupons, such as dollar offers, percent-off offers, free gifts with purchases and free shipping. Almost half, or 46%, are due to loyalty benefits such as reward points.

Other reasons to turn on a brand’s mobile app push notifications and sign up to receive text messages mentioned by smartphone users are:

  • Informational or product updates, such as flight alerts, account balances, shipping information: 33%
  • Exclusive content, such as new product or deal leaks, etc. – 31%
  • Keep up with news and events, such as information about new store locations, special events at select stores, and more. – 25%

Final thoughts

The report shows a trend toward using multiple brand loyalty programs so consumers can search for the best deals through comparison shopping rather than focusing on one, according to Hinman.

“Many of us started our loyalty journeys with airlines and hotels, but now that it’s incredibly easy to take your current offers and loyalty programs from Chipotle, Starbucks or Kentucky Fried Chicken with you. It’s easier to take a quick glance at Apple Wallet or Google Wallet to find out where the best place to go for lunch is today, then pay with a device that’s always with you,” he said.

79 percent of US consumers said they are more likely to join a loyalty program that does not require a physical card. Combine this with 75% of loyalty program members who say they would engage in a rewards program if they could easily access it from their phone.

A mobile wallet is the obvious answer for brands looking to seamlessly enroll, engage and retain loyalty members. Hinman concluded that it’s one of the best ways to bridge the engagement gap between traditional email and a brand’s mobile app.

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