No battle for consumer loyalty is more heated than the battle for mobile payments loyalty. Consumer choice has proliferated: device-specific, tender-specific, and retailer-specific payment apps are all vying for virtual “top-of-wallet” status. Even as uptake of mobile payments proceeds slowly in the US, in other counties—namely China—they’re quickly becoming the preferred form of payment. To drive adoption, mobile payments providers are turning to one of the most reliable methods to encourage tender shift: rewards programs. News that Samsung is expanding its payment loyalty program to other Samsung products, and even to partner brands, is the latest sign that the strategy is working.
By Rick Ferguson
Samsung Rewards launched in May of 2016 as a points-based loyalty marketing program that gives Samsung smartphone users points for Samsung Pay transactions in amounts up to quadruple their spend, depending on how often they use the service. Members can redeem those points for Samsung products, other merchandise, or cash them out. The rewards accrue on top of whatever card-based rewards consumers are already receiving, meaning smart users can double dip by linking their Samsung Pay account to their favorite rewards credit card.
The program has proven so successful that, at the Consumer Electronics Show in January of this year, Samsung VP and GM of Services and New Business Nana Murugesan revealed that, since the introduction of Samsung Rewards, the daily use of Samsung Pay had almost doubled. Murugesan further revealed that December 2016 was a record month for transaction volume. Since then, the news has only gotten better, as this money quote from ZDnet illustrates:
“The gamification of Samsung's services -- rewarding users with points to continue using a service -- has worked for the company. According to Samsung's vice president and general manager of services at Samsung Electronics America, Nana Murugesan, Samsung Rewards has experienced 25 percent growth each month it's been available. In the first week of November alone, Samsung Rewards saw one million new users.”
Those are impressive results, and indicative of the power of rewards to change tender type at the point of sale. The success of Samsung Rewards has encouraged the company to has expand the program to link it to other Samsung products: users can now earn points for using Samsung Bixby, Samsung’s digital assistant, Samsung Health, and Samsung Internet, the company's Android web browser. This month, the program will also become integrated with Samsung Shop, the company's mobile shopping app, and Samsung.com, where members will be able to earn points for select purchases.
Samsung has even evolved the program into a partnership, launching an API to allow outside developers to integrate Samsung Rewards into their own web sites and apps. First up: Better Mortgage, an online brokerage firm that will allow its customers to earn Samsung Rewards points for specific mortgage-related activities.
So successful has Samsung Rewards become that it’s now a proven case study for any mobile payments provider hoping to encourage takeup of its service. Expect more providers to follow suit in the months to come.
Rick Ferguson is Editor in Chief of the Wise Marketer Group and a Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional (CLMP).