A better connection: why connected payments are 2018’s must-have marketing tool

mobile payments

Over the past 12 months we have seen a dramatic increase of awareness and interest in ‘connected payments’ – payment systems that can be seamlessly incorporated into everyday items such as clothing and jewellery. It’s a hugely exciting time because, as consumer interest grows, so too does the opportunity for businesses from every sector to surprise and delight customers by embedding quick, easy and secure payment methods into their brand and customer experiences.

For marketers looking for new and innovative ways to strengthen the relationship between brand and consumer, connected payments offer a chance to reinvent the nature of promotional materials by marrying cutting-edge technology with tried-and-tested marketing techniques.

The technology

From watches, to car keys, to jewellery; there’s no limit to the range of devices that these new mobile payment technologies, such as Barclaycard’s ‘next generation’ flexible payment chip, can be incorporated into. This is a game-changer, because it takes a product that a prospective customer wants anyway, and layers an improved payments experience on top. It’s a win-win for both businesses and consumers.

As a result, there is currently a huge opportunity for forward-thinking brands to incorporate this technology into their marketing strategy. Aside from the immediate customer benefit, the data from these systems can help businesses to better understand their customers, leading to further enhancements in customer experiences and products. Simply put, connected payments make the user’s life easier, while at the same time improving the long-term relationship between customer and brand.

Putting this into practice

One interesting use case for connected payments in marketing is their ability to enhance promotional materials at events by providing better experiences, personalised offers, and an opportunity to follow up with attendees afterwards to deepen the relationship.

What might this look like in practice? Well, if you are hosting an event, such as an in-store meet-and-greet or product launch party, you can embed a flexible payment chip into your promotional give-away. Attendees could then use it to gain access to the venue (or exclusive ‘VIP’ areas), or to unlock specific promotional or timed offers. Importantly, the added functionality means that the device can also be taken away and used afterwards, continuing the conversation with customers and motivating them to return to your product or service again and again. It is also more likely that the attendees will show off this unique give-away to their peers. So, not only will your attendees be taking more from the original event than they otherwise would, they could also help to spread the word about your brand for you!

What’s more, the real-time, cloud-based data collected by these new devices also provides an unprecedented insight into consumer behaviour – allowing marketers to refine their models and target individual products or promotions to very specific audiences.

The future

This is only the beginning for connected payments as an important tool in a business’ marketing strategy, and recent technological innovations to make systems cheaper and smaller mean that they’re now more attractive than ever. With data from Barclaycard’s Contactless Spending Index 2017 showing that ‘touch and go’ spending rose 166% year-on-year, it’s clear that contactless and connected spending is now a part of our day-to-day lives.

Thinking even bigger and better, the next horizon for connected payments is to merge with the rapid expansion of the Internet of Things. This will take businesses and marketers one step further from mobile payments, tapping into the universe of internet-connected devices and offering the opportunity to facilitate payments beyond mobile phones, cards, and point-of-sale terminals. For marketers, IoT technology creates entirely new channels with which to engage and source insights from consumers, in a way that, far from being intrusive, is embedded with the user’s everyday life.

As more and more consumers recognise how connected payments can make their lives easier, demand will continue to grow, and the technology will continue to develop. Marketers who can get in on the ground floor and incorporate this innovation into their strategies will see first-hand how connected payments can strengthen the connection between brand and consumer.

Adam Herson, business development director at Barclays Mobile Payments

This month’s issue of The Drum magazine focuses on the mobile sector with insights on the democratisation of photography and interview with US recording artist Ryan Leslie. Buy your copy of this issue and other copies through The Drum website.

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