Matthew Winters
Matthew Winters 15 December 2016

Will Christmas Deals Be Ignored This Year Because of Loyalty Card Fatigue?

Today many of us still have bulky wallets or purses. On average we hold four credit cards, a driver's licence, a handful of plastic loyalty cards, and a few membership cards.

So while the dream of doing away with bulky wallets completely may not yet be upon us, mobile wallets do offer a solution that moves us a step closer to by consolidating many of the plastic cards we use daily onto our phones.

The key question however is whether we are ready for mobile wallets and value added solutions? In the run up to Christmas with retailers looking to offer more and more deals and more consumers moving online to shop, will we still take advantage of physical loyalty solutions or will we dismiss the deals because we simply can’t fit any more physical cards into our wallets? Perhaps the time is right for retailers to take advantage of the Christmas rush and offer electronic loyalty alternatives via mobile wallet solutions?

We recently commissioned a survey in the UK and US to find out what the future holds for mobile wallet adoption.  As we have our own mobile wallet solution we were keen to find out how the general public views loyalty cards and whether a mobile wallet solution would indeed provide added value.

Here are five top takeaways from that research:

  1. The survey showed that the value proposition for mobile wallets is definitely understood and while the UK market is still maturing it could accelerate as there is still a big appetite for loyalty cards and reward programs.   One in four UK loyalty card holders are already using mobile wallet solution and 95% of UK and US loyalty card holders have anywhere between 1 to 10 physical loyalty cards.
  2. We are still using physical coupons. 70% of UK and 69% of US respondents still keep track of coupons and offers by keeping the physical coupons in their wallet/purse.   52% of US respondents are now saving offers/coupons to their mobile wallet solution whereas only 28% of respondents are doing this in the UK. 
  3. Convenience is the top reason for using a mobile wallet solution.  For those that use a mobile wallet, over 80% of both UK and US respondents view mobile wallet solutions as a much more convenient option.
  4. Retailers need to look critically their loyalty programs and think about how much value they are really delivering. 28% of the total respondents surveyed do not believe that they are getting as much value out of offers and loyalty cards as they could. 73% sign up to new loyalty programs just so that they can get the rewards.
  5. Retailers be aware, more than two in five of those surveyed (43%) agreed they would stop signing up for new loyalty cards if they could not fit them into their physical wallet.

In my opinion, the research really speaks to the need for a mobile wallet solution as the results show that consumers will stop signing up for new programs if they cannot fit these cards into their wallets. In terms of getting consumers to sign up for a new loyalty program there needs to be an easy registration process and the programs need to be easy to use.   A mobile wallet solution can significantly enhance usage. Let’s face it, these numbers are great under a bad physical system. How much better could it be under a more efficient electronic system?  Mobile provides convenience and immediacy, which makes mobile the go to device for consumers in the UK.  With Christmas just around the corner, brands and retailers must capitalise on that shift.

The other benefit of mobile a wallet solution is that it can cope with the dynamic element of loyalty programs.  Retailers change aspects of their loyalty programs to stimulate purchases all the time. They also make changes to the rules. To overhaul or even do a slight tweak with the physical loyalty and reward programs is expensive as new paperwork and new loyalty cards are needed.  By relying on traditional distribution channels for coupons and offers retailers are missing out on opportunities to bolster their connection with consumers.  The ability to access coupons and offers on the go makes for a better, more convenient shopping experience.

What’s good for the consumer is good for the retailer. Mobile wallet solutions are lightweight and dynamic. Retailers and brands can change and update the program as their business develops and in the long run can save a huge amount of money. This year may be the year that retailers make the move to mobile wallet – a perfect stocking filler to fight loyalty card fatigue and banish those bulky wallets once and for all.

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