If anyone could unseat Saudi’s Aramco from its spot as the highest IPO debut, it would be Jack Ma’s Ant.
Even though it’s only selling about 11% of its shares, experts value the online payments business at a dizzying $313 billion.
What we’re only now beginning to use worldwide, China has been weaving into its very social fabric for nearly a decade now. Ant runs Alipay, which is the main online payment system in China.
So seamless is the payment platform — and so integral to the way the Chinese run their everyday lives — that Alipay estimates that the total value of payments for the year end in June 2020 was $17.6 trillion.
That’s math solely reserved for the Einsteins and supercomputers of the world.
For the rest of us, the Chinese financial system — and Ant’s Alipay by extension — is clearly paving the way for our own evolution into digital wallets and a reality where cash, cheques, and credit cards are eclipsed by e-payment devices and apps.
David Marcus of PayPal puts it best:
“Is tapping a phone on a terminal any easier than swiping a credit card? I don’t think so…it’s not solving a real consumer problem. Instead, the technology needs to…let you focus on the things you most want — loyalty points or rewards.”
In other words, going “cashless” is not a matter of convenience — or, at least, not primarily. Rather, mobile wallets — and the bid to adopt them — are about the perks you can gain.
At least, on the consumer-facing side.
And, let’s be honest, it’s all about the consumer — their behaviour, desires, expectations, and loyalty.
In fact, tech is the bridge between the future of payments and Loyalty Programs for one reason only:
The smartphone. Currently, 9 out of 10 Australians own a smartphone, and they’re using it for everything from powering autonomous vehicles to controlling drones and relying on mobile payments.
The smartphone in your hand right now is the key to connecting with consumers in a meaningful, engaging, and memorable way. They’re the main interface, as far as hardware adoption goes, that is positioning businesses to take advantage of loyalty-based rewards for consumers.
Other related hardware includes point-of-sale terminals like Square and PayPal, which are both affordable and readily compatible with most modern smart devices.
Once users adopt the hardware, the software comes next. And this, in turn, paves the way for businesses to subtly and powerfully influence customer behaviour — as well as learn from customer expectations.
Data from Australia’s Commonwealth Bank has found:
So if we heed David’s original insight — that using digital wallets is less a matter of convenience than it is about gaining perks — how can businesses use the rise in mobile payments in Australia to amplify reach and revenue?
Just like digital wallets, which have at least been around for the last five to seven years, there’s nothing really new about Loyalty Programs.
They’re very familiar to consumers, who take advantage of promotions like discount cards at local grocery stores, free items with event tickets, and earning rewards points on purchases over a certain dollar value.
What is novel, however, is the way in which the new loyalty economy is occurring through digital (“e”) wallets. The technology is ready and available to support customised, location-based offers for new customer experiences.
The loyalty economy exists in an ecosystem that’s already alive and thriving through digital wallets. It includes:
And all these functionalities already live on a consumer’s smartphone. Digital wallets can help exacerbate the reach of businesses interacting with customers using digital loyalty incentives like:
The loyalty economy kicks in from the moment your customer accesses offers to the moment they pay using digital payment options. EonX’s eWallet is designed for a seamless, end-to-end user experience. Its used alongside with Rewards, this inspires your customers to see your business as their go-to solution.
One of the most recognisable examples of a loyalty rewards program tied to digital payments is Starbucks. It works seamlessly within the app, connecting to a payments system and a rewards system that is account-based.
The incentives for using it are pretty simple: Load money on your digital Starbucks card (which you can do at a POS terminal, Apple Pay, your credit card, or even PayPal) buy Starbucks items through the app, and earn rewards points that give you access to free items and merchandise.
So what’s in it for businesses? Well, Starbucks has the opportunity to learn more about its customers’ buying habits and purchase decisions. It also gathers metrics about the most popular products and offerings that are capturing customers’ attention.
Over time, consumers rely on the app to be their only access to Starbucks — and they end up choosing Starbucks over other brands because of these incentives.
We’re sitting on the edge of a net between a cashless society and eWallet technology remaining a novelty. Slowly, but surely, the former is gaining ground. With the rise in Loyalty Programs, there are more options than ever before for businesses to harness digital wallets to build brand loyalty through every digital payment.
Here are three signs you may be ready to evolve into eWallets as well.
Already, Loyalty Programs are connecting diverse vendors together. Consumers will often see incentives for purchasing from two brands or using the rewards points collected for purchase of another brand’s items.
EonX’s eWallet platform offers its business users the ability to:
This is a great way for your business to connect with other related brands. While the offers remain local, the partnerships you’ll create can be global.
Right now, the market is shifting towards millennials and Gen Z’s as cohorts with the largest buying power. That’s good news for your business because these users are already digital natives.
You won’t have to worry about teaching them the basics, and millennials and Gen Z’s are not as suspicious about technology and security as previous age groups.
Instead, you can use strategies like gamification to encourage and incentivise the use of rewards platforms. There are fewer barriers to adoption with the next wave of customers.
One thing that consumers of all generations experience is concern over the security of their transactions. Security and privacy concerns may be the most significant barrier to adoption of eWallets — which EonX is sensitive to.
This ensures users don’t feel that security is a barrier to adoption. The eWallet platform harnesses a PCI-DSS Level 1 Certified Payment Gateway, for example, providing bank-grade authentication and verification.
Building trust and credibility is what the loyalty economy through digital payments is all about. It’s not just a platform’s security features that enable this. It’s also the interactions, offers, and rewards that create a sense of trust in your brand and business. As marketing strategies and partnerships multiply, digital wallets like EonX’s eWallet platform will become the best way to amplify loyalty at every moment of a buyer’s journey.