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Mobile Apps and Gift Cards of the Future


Mobile Payment Apps and Gift Cards
Far from mobile apps are the days when your coffee shop took a hole-punch from behind the counter to punch a hole in your tattered cardboard ‘loyalty card’. If you were lucky enough to bring it with you, keep it handy and not have it in your pants pockets when it went through the washing machine, you may have garnered enough holes to receive a free coffee or other incentive.

These days, loyalty programs are accessed through mobile apps for your phone. Traditionally, buying decisions are usually made based on two things:

1. Price
2. Brand

With the current economic uncertainty and consumers generally wanting to keep more money in their pockets and bank accounts, buying decisions are swinging in the direction of price. Offering discounted deals and perks, like the ones you would get through a mobile app, is one way to get people into the stores.

Why Are Mobile Apps the Way of the Future?

As consumers continue to grow and use mobile applications, innovations in payment methods have to follow. Mobile platforms and mobile apps are based on the foundation of a well developed loyalty card program. The next progression to develop a satisfied customer is the development of a mobile app to complement consumer’s appetite for mobility.

Retailers have to understand that consumers want faster and easier methods to pay for products. The ability of consumers to instantly pay with a mobile device speeds up the transaction. It is:

1. Good for consumers because they get their product in record time
2. Beneficial for retailers as they get increased footfalls through their door.

In the past, consumers have had security concerns when using mobile apps. With the increase security to personal and financial information, consumers are more readily signing up for mobile apps.

In addition to calming security fears, consumers are moving to mobile apps to get the benefits of loyalty rewards, discounts and coupons that are offered as a part of mobile app use. A recent survey completed by Strategy One, identified that users were more likely to choose a mobile app payment if there were discounts and incentives associated with the app use.

How It Works

Take Starbucks for example. Faced with wide sweeping financial woes, Starbucks is motivating customers to purchase a specialty coffee at exorbitant prices rather than switching to low priced local shops. They do it through their easy to use mobile app.

On their website, Starbucks has their Starbucks for iPhone app. It includes features such as:

  • “Option to reload your Starbucks Card”
  • “Track your ‘Stars’ in the My Starbucks Rewards program”
  • “Scan your barcode on your iPhone at the register”.

Consumers can register with Starbucks to get an online app. After registering for a Starbucks account credit card information is securely stored for use with the app.

When the mobile app is used, consumers simply have their 2-D bar code displayed on their phone and scan it at one of the coffee chains readers. No money changes hands at the counter and patrons easily get their product and obtain valuable incentives to return to the store to purchase more.

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