Due to changes in technology and consumers’ reliance on their mobile devices, the number of opportunities for media to interact with their readers and consumers has increased dramatically.

Now, our interactions with consumers can take place anytime, anyplace, anywhere. They expect us to understand and address their needs almost instantly.

Starbucks fosters customer loyalty by making it simple to manage all consumer transactions in a single location.
Starbucks fosters customer loyalty by making it simple to manage all consumer transactions in a single location.

Forward-thinking media companies are now looking to capitalise on mobile experiences to create connections with consumers on every level, and in real time! This could be for subscriptions, offers, events, ticketing, and more.

According to Google, just 9% of users will stay with a mobile site/app if it doesn’t “satisfy their need,” with 66% taking actions that have some kind of “minus impact” on the brand in question (for example, going to another company’s mobile site or app). This makes all mobile consumer interactions really important to brands.

Payment for “stuff” is one such interaction method that can’t be removed or circumnavigated by the consumer during the buying process.

It seems to me there are three ways smart media brands can leverage mobile payments to generate engagement, create loyalty, and influence interactions based on better experiences. I use my own experiences, garnered in the retail environment, to illustrate my point.

1. Better engagement: Consumers move effortlessly across channels to make purchasing decisions, while also quickly shifting devices in the process. Media companies can connect the payment mechanism with their media brand to improve the user experience.

Many are starting to use “omni-channel” connectivity to create lasting, valued experiences that create connections and engagement with their consumers.

Personally, over the last few years now, I have used the fitness tracker, Jawbone. (I use this as just one of many examples of how media can learn from its experience.) Jawbone is leveraging its position as a trusted consumer brand to give payment-enabled products, all to deepen its engagement with customers.

I wear a tiny waistband device on my trouser belt to track my daily health metrics (for example, how much exercise I do and how much sleep I get). Now I can simply tap it to make contactless payments on the go. This is simple, value-added, and a great user experience. The brand has made it easy to purchase relevant stuff — it’s a bit like Amazon with one click.

Do you make it easy for your readers to buy things with you?

2. Creating loyalty: Loyalty programmes and mobile payments are constantly converging. Many brands now enable shoppers to use loyalty points to make purchases or incentivise extra spending through gift cards, price-match guarantees, or one-off promotions.

Some programmes enable consumers to convert loyalty points into an e-gift and make a purchase on multiple devices, including mobile. Could this be great for news subscriptions?

The main mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Android, and Samsung Pay also enable consumers to store multiple loyalty and reward cards, and keep track of their loyalty balances all in one place.

Starbucks, for instance, also provides its loyal customers with convenient ways to order ahead and pay in-store with no hassle, while cementing loyalty with its customers. It’s all about the customer experience.

The key to leveraging value and mobile payments is going far beyond just offering a branded payment solution, but to creating one that actually makes life easier or adds real value for your customers. When done properly, branded value can create a strong bond between the consumer and his favourite brands, resulting in engagement, loyalty, and ultimately more money spent.

3. Changing consumer spending via better user experiences: Mobile payments are now influencing consumer choices on where to shop, when to buy, and what to buy.

According to a study by comScore, 44% of consumers reported using their smartphone to make a purchase in 2016 (that’s a big 47% increase over 2015).

Retailers, for example, are capitalising on consumer desire for convenience by using innovations in mobile payment technology to connect with consumers when and how they require it.

For instance, I use Open Table, which enables me to find and reserve a table at a local restaurant. It syncs my order to my phone and pays for my meal using the Open Table mobile wallet, all while tracking my loyalty points at each restaurant I frequent. Are there lessons for all of us here?

There’s no doubt in my mind both media companies and consumers can become winners when payment processing is all channeled through a mobile wallet.