Payment and loyalty have become so inexorably entwined on mobile devices that any news on the mobile payment front is likely to impact loyalty marketers as well. Last week, Google announced new APIs for Android Pay that create new tools for marketers looking to reward and recognize through mobile devices. While the options for technical platforms through which to enable mobile loyalty programs continue to increase, the goal remains the same: To leverage mobile payments and loyalty to build strong relationships with your best customers.
By Rick Ferguson
By Rick Ferguson
Pymnts.com has the story, which details three new initiatives of import to mobile loyalty marketers:
Google Payment API: This Apit will allow shoppers with credit or debit cards stored in the Google accounts to make payments in apps or online simply by entering a security code via their Android device - no more pulling the credit card out of your wallet to enter payment information.
Google Assistant Pay: In a potential Venmo-killing move, Google will soon enable person-to-person money transfers via its voice-activated Google Assistant. This move follows rumors of Apple's own rumored launch of a money transfer service through Apple Pay.
Google Card Linked: And finally, Google announced it will introduce a loyalty API through Android Pay. Money quote from Pymnts:
"On top of all that, the company announced a new way for merchants to reward customers. Dubbed Card Linked, the API enhances customer loyalty by providing a new way to deliver targeted offers, said Google, pointing to Panera Bread as one of the first merchants to roll it out on a nationwide level. MyPanera members who save their loyalty card on Android Pay will get offers and get updates about new menu items. The offers are redeemed when customers use their MyPanera account at checkout."
The internet search behemoth is also working with developers and retailers to leverage its Smart Tap technology to make it easier for retailers to build loyalty apps that enable simple reward programs, digital offers, and gift card redemption. Meanwhile, Apple is also rumored to be working with Visa to develop its own pre-paid debit card accessible through Apple Pay.
Lots of action - Besides the Paneras and Walgreens of the world, the ability to quickly build and launch Android-Pay enabled loyalty programs will appeal to the millions of small retailers out there. In addition to Venmo, the big losers in this mobile payments and loyalty arms race could be smaller players like Belly, who survive on the participation of those thousands of coffee shops and bakeries around the country. Interesting times!
Rick Ferguson is CMO and Editor in Chief of the Wise Marketer Group.