On-demand online grocery shopping – like many other e-commerce categories – has become intertwined in everyday life. From fashion apparel and entertainment to more unconventional categories such as social enterprise, consumers are shifting from bricks to clicks, lending to growth in local e-commerce market. The acceleration of digital lifestyles and the ‘essentialism’ of e-commerce has caused digital payments to permeate the everyday consciousness of consumers.
According to the World Bank, two-thirds of adults worldwide now make or receive digital payments. And this is no coincidence. Industry studies show that consumers plan to use cashless payments more often due to many reasons including high smartphone penetration rate and increased connectivity to mention a few.
In this highly regulated environment, how can payment providers accelerate usage and build stickiness for their offerings while shaping a more inclusive and sustainable digital payment ecosystem? The key lies in articulating the relevance of e-wallets by turning everyday transactions into opportunities for reimagined consumer experiences.
Here are three recommendations to help payment businesses get started on this journey.
Getting your basics right
The continued displacement of cash is driven by consumers’ pursuit of a seamless payment experience, where technology slip beneath consumers’ consciousness, and convenience and security are non-negotiables. E-wallets are perfect conduits to deliver this promise: they are arguably safer and more secure owing to tokenisation technology; they hold a barrage of information in one interface; and allow consumers to earn cashback, reward points and various other benefits.
The e-wallets experience requires the use of tech that integrates across the value chain and business function. Investing in the right technology backbone and digital capabilities will enable businesses to vie for a more significant share in the e-wallets market. Not only that, but technology innovation also solves common consumer pain points that hinder usage. For example, it is estimated that $4 trillion worth of merchandise will be abandoned in online shopping carts. Struggling with complicated checkout processes and security concerns are often cited as key reasons for abandonment. Removing friction at checkout adds to the overall experience, encourages usage, and boosts end-of-funnel conversions.
Value, value, value – what’s in it for me?
Beyond the payment functionality of mobile wallets, brands can also consider using cash rebates and discounts to encourage usage and drive preference. As opportunistic as this may sound, consumers who feel they have gained a benefit are more likely to use said service and share their positive experiences with others. Considering an e- wallet can hold credit, debit, identity, gift, membership, and rewards on a mobile, it provides a slew of touch points for payment providers to create value and simultaneously ignite brand loyalty.
These quick “fixes” can encourage usage but may not build brand loyalty. Establishing relevance in the everyday lives of target audiences can be nurtured as a differentiator. We are already seeing this happen globally with the coining of “super-app”, an umbrella app that offers an entire ecosystem of services shaped around users’ everyday lifestyle needs, using one integrated platform interface. The super-app market is expected to grow to US$23 billion by 2025, driven by ridesharing, food delivery, fintech, digital banking and e-commerce.
Push the purpose lever
Coronavirus, social distancing and contact tracing were not the only words we learned in the last two years. We discovered joylessness, aimlessness and general blah-ness has a name: languishing. Emotional acceleration has characterised much of the early pandemic days – lockdowns, unemployment and virus variants grabbed headlines. Trend forecaster WGSN defined this state of being as an emotional plurality – where an individual occupies multiple emotional states simultaneously in an ever-changing and complex world.
According to Accenture Song, 55% of consumers came out of the pandemic focused on their purpose and re- evaluated what is important to them in life – fundamentally changing who they are as individuals and as consumers. For brands, this means a paradigm shift from creating brand differentiation in an age of abundance to staying relevant in an age of heightened duty of care.
With digital payment so ingrained in everyday living, brands can explore ways to inject a sense of purpose into daily spending through e-wallets i.e. turn what can be mindless purchasing behaviours into collective purposeful activities. In fact, 40% of consumers strongly consider values-driven attributes in their purchase decisions.
The message for digital payment providers? View the ever-changing e-wallet marketplace as an opportunity for growth. Expand the definition of consumer value to encompass always-on benefits and interactions that breed deeper relationships, all while creating a seamless payment experience. They can lean into co-innovate solutions and co-invest for the future, addressing critical and emerging consumer needs.
By building positive shopping behaviours with e-wallets, digital payment providers can empower users to do more, strengthening brand love, trust and loyalty while spearheading a category-breaking movement in the saturated digital wallet space. We live in a reimagined world where a defined purpose paves the way for sustainable business growth. The next time you use your e-wallet, think of it as a gateway to greater usage of digital payment and brand loyalty.
Mushambi Mutuma is associate director and commerce lead for Accenture Song in Africa. He is an author, speaker and tech leader with over 14 years of experience building brands and business across Africa and the United States.