Mobile Wallet: The New Hub of Unified Commerce

Increasingly favored by consumers, the mobile wallet is at the heart of our interactions with the physical world, such as in stores, transportation, and leisure activities.

These mobile apps offer new and highly useful services that simplify our daily lives. They are shaping the commerce of tomorrow. The commercial environment is becoming more connected, more transparent, more secure, and even more unified! In-store experiences will be in harmony with their clientele.

For brands and retailers, e-wallets offer a new privileged channel of engagement. Indeed, these applications complement an existing mobile strategy. Moreover, they open new perspectives for brands eager to forge stronger connections with their customers without having to develop a mobile app.

Origins of the Mobile Wallet

Major American firms Google and Apple entered the mobile wallet market in the early 2010s:

  • In 2011, Google launched Google Wallet.
  • In 2012, Apple introduced Passbook.

These mobile solutions allow users to consolidate their tickets, movie passes, reservations, and loyalty cards within a single application. From the outset, the promise was significant. However, the ecosystem was not yet fully prepared…

What is a Mobile Wallet App?

Mobile wallet apps, also known as e-wallets, aim to digitize our old-fashioned wallets. Based on this principle, your e-wallet includes:

  • Your credit and payment cards;
  • Your loyalty cards;
  • Gift cards, etc.

But there’s more to it. Indeed, numerous derived solutions exist. Thus, your mobile wallet may contain a plethora of other solutions:

  • Reservations (airline/train tickets, concert tickets, vehicle rentals, etc.);
  • Access badges (hotel rooms, companies, etc.);
  • Keys (apartment, car, or house rentals, etc.).

Adoption of Mobile Wallet: Mobile Payments

Introduced in 2014, Apple Pay now boasts over 441 million users worldwide. In the United States, it is estimated that the number of new mobile wallet users will increase by about 6.5 million each year between 2021 and 2025.

In 2018, Google Pay was born from the merger between Android Pay and Google Wallet. Google Pay currently has about 100 million users, with growth accelerating rapidly.

Apple Wallet: New Uses in Our Daily Lives

In states such as Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, and Iowa, residents can integrate their ID cards and driver’s licenses into Apple’s mobile wallet. This announcement was made by Apple in early September 2021. Arizona and Georgia will be the first states to offer this solution. Other states will follow very quickly.

Thanks to the rollout of iOS 15, Apple’s Wallet now allows unlocking access to some equipped buildings. Silverstein Properties announced that their employees’ access badges would be integrated into their Apple Wallets, via their iPhones or Apple Watches. More offices in New York, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles will be equipped in the coming months.

The hotel chain Hyatt has recently communicated about deploying this new technology to replace room keys in 6 of its American hotels.

The German firm BMW has developed BMW Digital Key. Up to 5 additional people can be associated with a vehicle equipped with the Digital Key solution.

All these new uses will undoubtedly strengthen the supremacy of major players and foster adoption by users in all areas, especially shopping.

The Global E-Wallet Market

The market leaders: Apple Wallet and Google Pay

In Europe, the Wallet solutions from Apple and Google Pay are the most used because they are the most well-known.

Recently renamed “CARTES” in France, Apple’s wallet application is available natively on iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches. Meanwhile, Google Pay is not pre-installed on all Android devices. Thus, Google offers to download Google Pay.

Other Players in the Mobile Wallet

Many players offer functionalities similar to the e-wallet.

Worldwide, certain web and mobile applications integrate the functionalities of a wallet valid only within a brand network (Uniqlo, H&M, Nike, etc.).

In China, WeChat is expanding by offering loyalty “mini-programs.”

Mobile Wallet: The Players of Commerce & Loyalty

  1. Generic Mobile Wallets Like Apple’s Wallet or Google Pay, these generic mobile wallet solutions allow the dematerialization and storage of several types of passes:
    • Credit cards;
    • Loyalty cards;
    • Membership cards;
    • Vehicle keys;
    • etc.
  2. Proprietary Wallet Applications These applications developed by brands integrate wallet functionalities. However, they can be used only within the brand’s network, like Uniqlo, H&M, or Nike.
  3. Loyalty Card Marketplace Apps These applications allow users to digitize and store their existing loyalty cards in a single app, like Stocard or Fidme.These loyalty card marketplaces fully control the customer relationship. In comparison, applications like Apple Wallet or Google Pay allow this management in a white-label fashion.

Passes at the Heart of the Mobile Wallet

What is a pass in the mobile wallet? The various dematerialized supports we can download and save in our mobile wallet apps are often called “passes.”

These passes can be downloaded by users in various ways:

  • Via email;
  • Via SMS;
  • From a website or an app;
  • By scanning a QR code;
  • Thanks to an NFC tag located in a physical place.

Thanks to the mobile wallet, the physical world more easily interconnects with the digital universe, a realm we now all use daily. The primary advantage of these mobile wallet applications is to simplify the user experience.

With these technologies, users no longer need to search for their various cards. They are now accessible in real time and can update automatically.

Updating the Passes of the Mobile Wallet

It’s convenient! The information on the passes updates dynamically. It’s instantaneous and very useful for knowing in real-time the balance of a gift card, the number of points on a loyalty card, or the status of an order to be picked up in-store.

Push Notifications

To simplify the user journey, push notifications can be emitted on iOS device screens. The benefits of these notifications are multiple:

  • Alerting to a new points balance;
  • Warning the user that their voucher is about to expire;
  • Reminding the user to use their loyalty card when they approach a checkout in a physical store.

As of this writing, Android has limited the sending of push notifications.

Passes and NFC

These passes can be easily identified by fixed and mobile payment systems, either by scanning a 1D or 2D code on the card or by using NFC technology.

NFC technology is increasingly deployed for its ease of use and its democratization through contactless payment.

Mobile Wallet: Opportunities in Commerce?

  • Brands do not need to develop or maintain a native app.
  • Replace physical supports in stores (loyalty cards, gift cards, vouchers, etc.).
  • Simplify the omnichannel purchase journey for customers by offering them a pass linked to their click-and-collect order.
  • Boost traffic in stores.
  • Improve customer identification and knowledge.
  • Enhance customer satisfaction.

The mobile wallet solution developed by Neostore allows for easy handling of this engagement channel.

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