Urban Airship, a mobile SaaS company, recently surveyed 2,000 consumers on how their attitudes and usage of mobile wallet technology, like Apple Wallet and Google Wallet have changed. The findings point to a rapid shift in mobile consumer behavior, including:
- More than half of those surveyed (54 percent) had already used a mobile wallet pass in one form or another.
- 69 percent said they are more likely to use customer loyalty cards if they are stored on their phone.
- Mobile Wallets is in the top four ways consumers want to be kept up to date about sales.
Judy Chan, product manager at Urban Airship, shares more insights coming from the survey, including the positive impact on customer loyalty the use of mobile wallet technology can have.
Below is an edited transcript of the conversation. To hear the full conversation click the embedded player below.
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Small Business Trends: Give me a little bit of your personal background.
Judy Chan: I am a product manager here at urban airship. So my primary role entrepreneurship is really to talk about mobile wallets. So what I like to tell everyone is you know in many ways I have a really fun job. I get to basically market to marketers about mobile marketing. And you know in this you know in this role and looking at mobile wallets it’s a great opportunity.
Small Business Trends: And just so people know a little bit more about what Urban Airship does, maybe you can fill us in.
Judy Chan: Urban Airship is a mobile SaaS company. We primarily have three lines of products. One of our focus area is around mobile app notifications and how we can best reach customers on an app. The second thing that we work on is mobile wallets, and then the third thing is around the data products.
Small Business Trends: Talking about mobile wallets – you had around 2000 people take this study. And after looking at some of the results of your survey it looks like the adoption level is really growing fast.
Judy Chan: 54 percent of respondents said that they’ve actually used mobile wallet. 30 percent of respondents said they actually use it in the past week. And so what’s going on right now is there has been a lot of investments made on the mobile team side that is helping to drive a greater awareness for it. But I think from looking at the broad stroke like exposure that people have had to mobile wallets is pretty amazing.
If you look at mobile wallets on the non-human side, you have items such as loyalty cards, coupons, boarding passes and some more very innovative use cases that we’ve come across like sweepstakes and breaking news releases. What we’re seeing is because the platform is there you know the mobile payment apps are already natively on the phone. People are beginning to use it more. So I had it in my head I kind of think of it as like you are you’ve got the central hub of information that people are now being able to access and brands are all participating in the central hub.
Small Business Trends: Over the last year or so mobile payments seem to be the focus of using the phone to do things from a business perspective. But it looks like mobile wallet adoption is being driven by more than just mobile payments.
Judy Chan: If you think about swiping a credit card it isn’t really that difficult to do. So the question then becomes what else is there. So if you want people to use mobile payments how does that happen; the ability to add value to the entire mobile payment ecosystem. And I think that’s where mobile wallets come in. Right. One day you’re basically going to have your phone and you tap your phone on a POS system and at that same moment it updates your loyalty card. It’s going to update and give you a new coupon. And it’s also going to help you make that payment rate complete that transaction so you make things like that and more seamless. And I think that’s where we’re headed directionally. I think that’s how mobile wallets are going to help the mobile team inside grow.
Small Business Trends: You mentioned something a little earlier around loyalty programs and just looking at one of the things in your study 72 percent of the folks that took the survey are belong to at least 1 to 5 loyalty programs. And 19 percent belong to six and upwards of 15 programs. So what impact is mobile wallet technology having on customer loyalty?
Judy Chan: The impact is actually pretty big. People who have loyalty programs, what they’re telling us in our survey is if there’s a digital version of that loyalty card they are 69 percent more likely to actually use that loyalty card . What this means then is you’ve got a really great way of interacting with the customer on their phone. And we found that eighty-two percent of millennials are more likely to use a loyalty card on on their mobile device. So I think that coupled with what loyalty cards can lead to on the payment side really gives this entire ecosystem a lot of momentum.
Small Business Trends: And it’s not just the millennials. Seventy-three percent of Gen Xers are doing that as well.
Judy Chan: And there’s very strong evidence that mobile wallets are driving higher loyalty sign ups. In our survey we found that 73 percent of them will join a loyalty program. If those loyalty points are automatically updated, and it is all through the mobile wallet. So if you’re really trying to cross that threshold in terms of loyalty acquisition I think mobile wallet is a great way to do that. So what are the things that you think are potentially keeping businesses in particular as a base.
Small Business Trends: Do you think companies are adopting mobile wallets at the right levels? What are the things that may be holding them back from adopting?
Judy Chan: Looking at adoption and SMBs in the marketing world people tend to think that mobile is apps, and therefore there is no place for SMBs. Or maybe if you are lucky enough to have an SMS list of phone numbers you can go and reach. But those are very expansive programs. So I think the message that we collectively need to take to everyone is other than apps or SMS you’ve got this great platform – mobile wallets – that’s really going to be able to cover and reach 100 percent of your audience on mobile. And once you’ve acquired those customers on mobile, solutions like Urban Airship will help you make a lot of updates to that very same card. You can do dynamic pass updates on these on these loyalty cards.
Small Business Trends: And it sounds like it provides the opportunity to stay connected stay engaged and customers are actually looking for that kind of engagement.
Judy Chan: Speaking of that we found three-quarters of folks are looking for updates on mobile wallets. They want it. So you know if you’ve got all taken out you plan as an example right if you’ve got a coupon. And it’s been used once. They want a system where it’ll actually automatically update to the next coupon. So again going back to the concept of how the mobile wallet get it on to your consumers phone and then from there then you can really talk about the engagement rate and then in the lifetime engagement of that pass. Because for the most part the pass will stay on the phone unless they choose to delete it. But up to 80 to 90 percent of passes are never deleted.
Image: Urban Airship
This is part of the One-on-One Interview series with thought leaders. The transcript has been edited for publication. If it's an audio or video interview, click on the embedded player above, or subscribe via iTunes or via Stitcher.