Mobile payments can transform the smartphone or tablet you already own into a roving and affordable point of sale terminal — but they pack plenty of marketing punch, too. Here’s a look at how mobile payments can boost your marketing power.
Improve customer perception
As more retailers offer conveniences like “pay online/pick up in store” (with items often ready and waiting for the customer to retrieve within a matter of minutes), and the ability to pay without having a physical means of payment in tow, customers have high expectations for businesses of all sizes.
Though such high demands can be a burden for resource-constrained small businesses, mobile payments can multi-task beyond their primary purpose to present an inherent marketing benefit that could improve revenue and customer perception. That’s because some consumer behavior studies indicate that there is a direct correlation between the convenience a retailer offers, and the customer’s perception of the value of its goods and service. In tandem, that perception dictates what the customer is willing to pay. With mobile payments, you can equip several members of your team to use their smartphones or tablets to complete customer transactions from anywhere in the store, at the very moment the customer is ready to pay. Thanks to this optimized checkout service, the customer is more likely to have a memorable and positive perception of your brand.
Ensure your message is seen.
Many mobile payment processors allow you to collect customer data — like email and phone numbers — to deploy mobile marketing campaigns based on the customer’s past purchase behavior and geolocation (with the customer’s permission). Unlike other forms of targeted direct marketing — like postcards, emails and even social media ads — mobile marketing efforts reach customers on the one device they rarely part with — at any time, day or night. (75 percent of mobile users admit to using their device during restroom visits.)
Streamline loyalty programs.
More than half of small business respondents to a Manta survey said the bulk of their marketing efforts are dedicated to existing customer retention. Regardless of how much customers like your products or service, they have options. Loyalty programs can be an inexpensive way to remind the customer to return, provided the offers are meaningful enough to drive repeat purchase — and easy to redeem. Many mobile payment providers equip small merchants with the ability to incorporate rewards programs into the mobile checkout experience. With this integration, customers are automatically credited for their rewards when they transact, and given the option to redeem them during the transaction.
Develop promotions based on context.
Mobile marketing efforts tend be less expensive to develop and execute than traditional media — and far more flexible in terms of customer relevance. Because mobile devices travel with the customer, you can leverage location, purchase preferences, mobile search activity, and your own inventory and sales goals to customize contextually appropriate marketing offers to “low-hanging fruit.” (Data indicates that 70 percent of mobile users buy within the hour of conducting a mobile search.) Because the mobile marketing campaigns allow for flexibility, you’re empowered to control exactly who receives your offer, and for how long it’s valid.
Leverage a not-yet cluttered medium.
Though marketing investment companies claim they’ll make more than $200 million in the mobile market, this industry remains a largely untapped medium — especially for small-business owners. Unlike junk mail, banner ads and paid social media posts — which have become so commonplace they’re often ignored by recipients — mobile marketing isn’t yet dominated. There is still plenty of opportunity in this space that small businesses can and should leverage to test and learn the ideal timing, language and strategy for mobile marketing campaigns that will deliver on business goals.
Mobile payments can improve your own operational efficiency at the point of sale — and in your marketing programs. With a combination of targeted offers, customer data, rewards and a convenient customer experience, mobile can prove a cost-efficient channel that equips your business to attract customers, generate revenue and cultivate loyalty.
About the author:
Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, a credit card processing firm. She has more than 20 years experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, marketing and sales management. Follow her on Twitter at @BluePay_CMO.