Added Value Edits: Money 3.0

18 Jul 2014|jhall

2014 could very well be the year of the mobile wallet…finally. With smartphones reaching critical mass and stores adopting the infrastructure to handle mobile payments, we are starting to see some very real opportunities to transform the retail experience. Imagine never visiting a sales clerk before walking out of a store with a new pair of jeans. Or not opening a tab at a bar but still being able to buy rounds of drinks for your colleagues (bad news if you’re a Yorkshireman…). Or never having to wait in line at the grocery store again.

These scenarios are possible today, albeit slightly daunting for major retailers to implement, as it goes against such an engrained way of doing business. But like it or not, the world of money is changing and ignoring this important trend could make your brand feel out of touch to your customers.

Mobile is the biggest game changer for brands
The mobile revolution is changing the landscape in Africa – but perhaps not in the ways you’d expect. Kenya is home to what is arguably the most developed mobile payment system in the world, Mpesa. Over $10 billion is transacted on Mpesa each year, about 25% of Kenya’s GNP. Discover how the service works and other ways to win with mobile in Africa, in this article written by Lynne Gordon, MD Added Value South Africa.

Top 5 ways for brands to win in mobile
With mobile being the last thing we interact with at night and the first thing we wake up to in the morning, we bring you five essential thoughts for building mobile-ready brands. Click here to read more.

The Future of Money
Bitcoin, Square, KickStarter, Lending Club and Venmo are just a few of the names sparking the revolution in money. Look around and you’ll see people are experimenting with new forms of payment, causing us to re-think something we’ve always taken for granted: the concept of money. In her Ted Talk futurist Heather Schlegel envisions preferred currencies for different parties: a restaurant server could request to be paid in frequent flyer miles, the babysitter in Bitcoin….

Tech Titans disrupting
A few years ago, very few would have considered Apple a competitor to Visa and MasterCard; today, the Tech Titans are a legitimate threat to the established financial firms. So far it’s fair game as to who exactly is leading the charge. While in the short term it may be tough to call which technology and ecosystem will win out, one thing is certain: when the Tech Titans get involved, get ready for massive change. But all is not lost for the traditional financial brands: our sister company, Landor, describes how credit card brands need to rethink branding in a world of no cards.

Amazon vs. Paypal
These two have been going at it in the e-commerce space for some time. And now it looks like they will be running into one another in the mobile payment space – PayPal with its beacon and Amazon with its newly launched Fire smartphone. Most likely these two technologies can co-exist, but it does highlight the need to take a step back and determine the best mobile transaction experience for your customers without taking sides.

The Wallet of Things
Near-Field Communication (NFC) chips enable phones and essentially any object to send payments, and with that will transform the payment experience. Today we are focusing on the mobile wallet, but we need to understand that anything can become a wallet. Your car will transact with the electric charging station, your fridge will transact with the online food delivery system, and your phone? Well, it may go back to being just a phone….

Beyond payments
Another benefit to NFC is the ability to digitally interact with consumers as they shop. Regent Street retailers in London have installed beacons that trigger personalized offers and communications for shoppers. Starbucks, already a leader in mobile payments, is taking mobile a step further by allowing patrons in South Korea to place orders with their phone. Are we finally merging the best of the online experience with the best of bricks and mortar?

But don’t consumers still prefer cash and cards?
Yes, for now. Probably the biggest reason consumers aren’t embracing mobile wallets is that cash and credit are far more reliable and easy to understand. We are still seeking the perfect combination that will win over consumers. Maybe it’s Coin or maybe it’s all the peer-to-peer payment services. Or maybe it will take greater adoption by leading-edge users, like the young, rich and PayPal enthusiasts, to finally hit the tipping point.

Restaurants will lead
It’s increasingly looking like the restaurant industry will lead the adoption and integration of mobile payments. With Starbucks already proving their success, restaurants are now more eager to replicate. Restaurants have much to gain, as few of them benefit from learning about their customers via online transactions. Soon big chains will be able to act like smaller restaurants and ask, “would you like the usual, Monsieur?”

Look to emerging markets
Countries with a high percentage of unbanked individuals such as Kenya are flocking to mobile payment services like Safaricom’s M-Pesa. As a result Kenya is building a robust cashless society. One author even experimented with visiting Kenya with no cash. Gone will be those tedious days that you need to exchange currency or carry traveler’s cheques…

Get in touch if you’d like to hear how Added Value can help you think about strategic marketing that works.

Jonathan Hall, President North America Consulting, Added Value

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