How the cashless generation will boost loyalty

Paypal have launched new research that predicts digital money shopping will be mainstream in the UK by 2016. This means gone are the days you’ll need to carry real hard cash or even plastic – your mobile phone will suffice to make purchases real-time!

Here’s what PayPal had to say on the matter:

“The lines between the online world and high street will soon disappear altogether. Children born today will become the UK’s first ‘cashless generation’. It will be completely natural for them to pay by mobile.”

What interests me about this prediction is the opportunity to increase advocacy. With mobile purchasing options increasing, there surely lies the chance to tie in online loyalty schemes so that customers are being rewarded for their custom whenever they make mobile purchases.

And if 2016 sounds like a bit of a stretch (only 5 years away!), mobile purchasing has already started in the UK…here’s a couple of case studies:

Case Study #1: Starbucks mobile pay app

Following huge success in the U,S, Starbucks launched a mobile app in the UK last month that allows their customers to purchase via iPod Touch or iPhone. The coffee giant have claimed that this new app will reduce transaction times for customers by up to 10 seconds. The idea of avoiding lengthy queues to grab a coffee (or chai latte in my case) certainly appeals and this is just one of many innovative ideas that the Starbucks brand have implemented to garner loyalty (My Starbucks idea was genius in terms of creating advocacy).

The app has seen success in the U.S. with more than 20 million mobile purchases across 6,800 stores this year alone.

Understanding the value of advocacy, Starbucks have integrated their existing loyalty program into the app and customers who own a Starbucks Card can link the balance of their card to the app with a unique barcode.

Case Study 2: Pizza Express iPhone app

UK restaurant chain Pizza Express recently launched an iPhone app enabling customers to find their nearest restaurant, book a table, look at the menu and even pay your bill without leaving the table.

Now, there’s nothing astounding about the first few features, but being able to pay your bill digitally using your mobile phone is a huge benefit. How does it work? You simply input a code that appears on your bill and the app takes you to a PayPal webpage where you can pay immediately. It takes less than a minute (assuming your internet connection is good enough).

This innovation has clear benefits for customers; no need for cash or credit cards and even better – no need to wait to catch the waiters eye to pay the bill.

At time of writing this Pizza Express had not yet linked any kind of loyalty plan into the mobile payment system, which is a shame.

For those brands that have recognized the importance of advocacy, I expect we’ll see more and more tying in their loyalty programs with mobile forms of payment. There’s also the opportunity to get customers sharing their purchase to really amplify WoM. It will be interesting to see which brands remember to factor advocacy in and which don’t…..

Zoe Boalch

About Zoe Boalch

Zoë Boalch is co-founder of Contagious Agency. Zoë likes: hot chili, yoga, learning new stuff, positive people, taking risks Zoë dislikes: naysayers, grumpy people, rather large egos
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