USA Technologies, which serves cashless and mobile transactions in self-serve retail, announced this morning that it has integrated its rewards program with Apple Pay. Going forward, when consumers use Apple Pay at a self-serve vending machine connected with USAT’s platform, they will be able to instantly enroll in USAT’s MORE loyalty program and be eligible to receive customized rewards, promotions and discounts.
The company collaborated with Urban Airship’s Reach platform on the integration. Given the predominantly cash-based nature of the unattended retail market, the addition of loyalty programs for USAT-connected machines gives the machines’ owners an advantage in their ability to customize offers. According to an Urban Airship study, 69% of consumers are more likely to use a loyalty card on their phone.
Maeve Duska, SVP of Marketing and Sales at USAT, says the shift to mobile payments has been slower than expected, both because of consumers forgetting about the option at point of sale and confusion about whether or not a location accepts it: “If you can convince consumers at the point of sale — remind them, not even convince them — that they can use their mobile wallet for payment there, they’ll do it.” This bodes well for market penetration of mobile payments overall, as consumers take confidence gained from everyday purchases in the unattended retail market and adopt mobile payment at other locations.
Seen as the next step in mobile engagement in transactions, loyalty programs are gaining traction in the mobile wallet industry. In the unattended retail market, they have the particular advantage of boosting cross-marketing potential, as well as having a bevy of stakeholders who extract value from faster sales, customization capabilities and uptake of mobile payment options, Duska said.
While penetration of digital commerce has begun to plateau, the mobile payments industry seems poised to continue its impressive growth. USAT’s loyalty program seeks to build on the convenience of services like Apple Pay by integrating rewards programs with similar ease and efficiency. According to Apple Pay’s chief Jennifer Bailey, about 35% of all stores in the US now accept Apple Pay, with 66% adoption expected for 2017. “What Apple has done and what we’re able to leverage is the ability to really have a smart transaction happen,” said Duska.
Duska also notes that unattended transactions at vending machines pose unique challenges when it comes loyalty registration. She believes the newly revealed capability of bidirectional communication, where consumers are prompted to register for the MORE program at the point of purchase will have a significant impact.
“Just adding this feature which prompts people who aren’t enrolled to enroll, right on their phones, is going to have a profound impact on our ability to get to the consumer base that our machines interact with multiple times a day,” said Duska. While it’s unclear how significant the increase in enrollments in the loyalty program will be, she estimated that the participation rate could “double, triple, or quadruple.”
Lainie Rowland is an assistant editor at Street Fight.