Will mobile payments lead to loyalty?

Written by on April 15, 2015 in Opinion with 0 Comments

shoppingWhilst operators and the communications industry pick and choose partners for the Game of Confusion that has already started, lessons and insight pour in from ‘the other side.’ And some come from Digital Service Providers you would not normally consider for that title, and they are discovering that mobile payments mechanisms can lead to loyalty.

Fast food chains like McDonalds and Papa Johns are now realising the full potential of the digital customer. According to Bob Kraut, CMO with Papa Johns, “we like any digital customer, whether it’s desktop or mobile or tablet, because they tend to be better customers, [are] more loyal and spend more than people that come in through traditional means.”

This reflects a wider trend towards a ‘click and collect’ culture. It is more efficient for the outlet, whether it is serving pizza or selling sofas. It also removes the need to wait, increases choice, and, it seems, increases the amount that customers spend with the outlet.

The result is more valuable customers and more loyal ones. Restaurants are going digital at an ever increasing speed.

Is this an opportunity for operators? Recently we asked ‘what would you buy with your phone?’ It was slightly ‘tongue in cheek’ and we used Martin Morgan’s, (VP of Marketing with Openet ) favourite example from years gone by – the pink fluffy sofa. For now, we think that this is probably a step too far. The culture change needed to pay for a sofa via your phone bill is too tight a turn.

Guest writer Dean Bubley (@disruptivedean) responded to the article, by saying that “there is a big difference between paying on your phone and paying with your phone.” He would “pay by credit card on a mobile web-page of an airline,” for example, but would not pay via an app store for the flight or taxi. Nor would he pay by NFC using his phone bill.

Dean is probably spot on for most people at the moment, but we think that it will change over time – and that pizza is an interesting ‘use case.’ In a recent study, ‘research by eMarketers shows that 71 percent of respondents in a study on digital ordering adopted mobile websites among restaurants worldwide.’ And with digital ordering, comes digital payment. It may be that, for Millenials who need speed and convenience, the one click convenience of in-app operator pizza payments will catch on.

In any event, we should look to restaurants and retailers who have been experimenting with digital for years now. Maybe we should add them to the list of potential partners for operators – who knows what loyalty offers they could dream up together.

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .


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