Jul 11, 2017 | Evaluating Customer Loyalty Programs | Why Thanx | building loyalty

Apple Pay + Thanx: Seamless Customer Experience

by  Margaret Link — Marketing at Thanx

 

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Thanx has always worked with Apple Pay automatically— no additional integrations required. Here's why we believe that customers should be given options for how to pay when it comes to loyalty programs — and why successful loyalty programs MUST work flawlessly with Apple Pay. 

Apple Pay Trends 

The trend of mobile payment has caught on and experienced incredible growth in the past few years, catalyzed in part by the ubiquity of Apple Pay. According to Apple's Q4 reports last year, Apple Pay transactions were up 500% year over year — and they're only growing. Apple recently revealed that some 35% of US retailers now support Apple Pay, totalling some 4M locations. The question isn't whether or not Apple Pay will surpass cash and credit, but rather when. For this reason, brands must stay aware of the changing payment landscape and make sure they're ready to take cashless/cardless payment from customers' mobile phones. 

When it comes to payment, ease of use is critical.

Apple is known for making things more user-friendly and simpler — Apple Pay is just another initiative to reduce friction in the life of the consumer. 

However, it's not just about making customers happier... it's also about making them spend more. There's a concept called "pain of payment" that addresses the various levels of resistance you feel when paying using different methods. For example, paying with cash is especially painful: watching the cash leave your hands has the tendency to make people spend less. On the contrary, swiping a credit card is less "painful" — you don't have to count out the cash, just hand over a piece of plastic. 

The next step in the process is Apple Pay. Unlike other forms of mobile payment, consumers don't even have to open an app to pay with their phones; simply unlock your phone using your thumbprint when prompted at the register and Boom! Payment completed.

The removal of friction in the process makes it easy for customers to engage in this new technology, and easy for businesses to justify the expense of implementing the new hardware in pursuit of greater check sizes and easier checkout for customers. 

Apple Pay + Loyalty Programs

As Apple Pay continues to increase its footprint, brands are trying to adjust their other technology offerings to ensure that they're compatible with mobile payments. Businesses want to realize the benefits of decreased "friction" at payment, but often their other technology doesn't support this move towards effortlessness – at the center of this, the culprit is typically their loyalty program. Old school loyalty programs require customers to scan cards, enter phone numbers, or open an app and scan a QR code. When mobile payment via Apple Pay becomes the norm, these programs will effectively undo all of the benefits of paying effortlessly with your phone.

The bottom line is: when consumers start ditching their wallets and paying via Apple/Samsung/Android pay, plastic loyalty cards and punch cards will be left behind. In fact, all loyalty programs that rely heavily on consumers taking some additional action at checkout (entering a phone number, scanning a QR code, etc) will falter — as the process of transacting becomes quicker and more seamless, anything that causes additional friction will not survive. 

Thanx + Apple Pay

Payment and loyalty should always be perfectly integrated. Why?

1. Loyalty programs that integrate with payment don't require additional steps for customers, meaning every transaction is captured and your customers are earning rewards for their purchases.

2. When every transaction is captured, brands can collect COMPLETE data on their customers. When customers have to scan a loyalty card or type in personal information to earn loyalty points, some of the transactions are missed, leading to incomplete customer data. When your data doesn't fully encompass the behavior of your customers, it's hard to take action based off of that information. 

Thanx is a card-linked loyalty program, meaning consumers don't have to take any action at checkout to earn progress towards rewards. Because of this, Thanx and Apple Pay work together seamlessly (and always have). Customers simply pay with Apple Pay with their linked Thanx card and progress is accrued — no additional steps, scans, or hardware required!

As technology evolves, it's important that your customer experience is meeting the evolving expectations of consumers, as well as providing you the actionable data that enables you to stay competitive in an increasingly data-driven world. 

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