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The 3 levels to building a smart mobile wallet

The ability to make payment through mobile does not automatically create a mobile wallet experience, says Yoyo’s co-founder and CPO, Michael Rolph. Placing added value at its core, he reveals the three key levels to creating a ‘smart’ mobile wallet experience for consumers.

The payments industry is incredibly loud, with noise coming from every corner saying that making payment on mobile equals a mobile wallet. It’s little wonder that there’s a lot of misperception about the mobile wallet space, especially in the retail sector.

Let’s start by nailing this one. If mobile replaces a plastic card transaction, whether chip & pin or contactless, then what you have is a mobile payment.

Apple Pay came along in 2014 and made taking mobile payment a no brainer as nothing had to change for the retailer, which in itself was a fantastic innovation.

But, the fundamental reality is that this has added little to no value to either the retailer or the consumer. What little value there has been relates to either perception of transaction speed or how cool one feels when using a mobile to pay for items.

Bottom line –  it is still just payment.

On this basis, it is not hard to see why retailers have been apprehensive about supporting and embracing further mobile innovation. Customers have another way to pay for their goods and the retailer still gets paid.

So, what is more than “just payment”?

The real opportunity for retailers lies in providing the customer with a positive experience beyond payment – and that’s where a mobile wallet comes in.

What is a real mobile wallet and, better still, how can it become a ‘smart wallet’?

There are 3 levels to be precise:

Level 1: Elevating the experience 


A  mobile wallet irons out the wrinkles of the annoying aspects of the buying experience. We have all been there  –  that moment when a cashier puts the receipt in your hand and your change on top! It’s a recipe for a dropping disaster  - now you’re holding up the queue. Or, remembering after the event that you forgot to claim your stamps or points! But, why should you have to remember anyway?

Everything that is part of a payment interaction is automated through a mobile wallet, from the collection of retailer specific loyalty stamps/points, to the delivery of any associated rewards, to receiving a fully itemised digital receipt – all of this is done in an instant at the point of payment.

Making everything seamless elevates the retail experience for both retailer and their customer.

Level 2: Turning data into insight 


Retailers are not short of data – they have tons of it. The problem is that it often stays as just that, data. Interesting to capture, but not insightful. A mobile wallet is an engine that can process this data so that retailers gain insight on their customers based on profile (who they are), preference (what they buy) and behaviour (when and how often).

On the back of this, comes the ability to segment customers into groups based on their displayed tastes and habits. At this point you move from being a mobile wallet to a ‘smart wallet’.

Just think, a rewards programme based on the things you like and buy, retailers inspiring loyalty with targeted offers and rewards that are sent to you when they are most relevant.

Level 3: Personal marketplace


If you connect a seller to a buyer via a digital channel you have a marketplace and, for the retailer, a ‘smart wallet’ becomes the sales channel. A ‘smart wallet’ allows retailers to surface targeted and personalised offers straight to a customer’s mobile device.

Overtime, a ‘smart wallet’ becomes a personal shopping assistant that searches the market based on the customer’s preferences.

After all, life is meant to be rewarding.


About Michael:

Michael is an experienced entrepreneur and business developer. He is co-founder and CPO of Yoyo, which launched in 2013 and has become the fastest growing and largest multi-retailer mobile wallet in Europe.

He was previously an advisor at Azimo, a mobile and internet money transfer company, and a mentor at Seedcamp, where he helped jumpstart the entrepreneurial community in Europe.

Prior to that, Michael was non-executive director at The MoBank Group, which specialises in creating and operating transactional systems for mobile commerce, banking and payments. He was also director and EiR at Anthemis Group, a specialist advisory firm for growth-stage companies in financial services, markets and technology.

Michael also has experience working at PayPal, First Data Corporation and Barclaycard Business. 

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