Will Coupons.com Partnership With Samsung Help Mobile Wallets Become Mainstream?

Millions of Americans are now using their smartphones every day to order food, hail a cab, or check in for a flight, but Coupons.com wants consumers on the go to purchase more with their mobile phones. So the coupon site has teamed up with Samsung Wallet to encourage U.S. consumers to use their phones to buy something in a store, a move that marks the company’s first partnership with a major player in the mobile wallet space.

Bruce Sattley, senior vice president (SVP) of product management at Coupons.com, says that under the agreement, Coupons.com will integrate its card-linked offer platform into Samsung Wallet. The offers will be available on Samsung Galaxy S series and Galaxy Note devices in the U.S. and consumers can register their preferred credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, or American Express, or debit cards through their Samsung Wallet.

With this service, consumers can browse and save coupons on their phones. These card-linked offers can then be automatically redeemed at checkout if a purchase meets the conditions of an offer, and customers will be sent a text message or email notification confirming the discount.

At the moment, the offers and deals are not customized for Samsung Wallet purchases, but Sattley says that as the platform grows and marketers get more sophisticated, Coupons.com will deliver more personalized offers to Samsung users.

To address customer concerns and make sure each transaction is safe, Sattley says, “We don’t make any changes at the point of sale, so you pay the same way as you swipe your credit card. What matters is your credit card identifier. We have worked with the card network to know the particular card you are using. If the merchant’s requirement matches your information, we will give you the discount.”

But although some industry reports show that mobile payments are on the rise (a recent Nielsen study reveals that 40 percent of mobile wallet users consider mobile as their primary mode of payment), the new payment solution has not yet been widely adopted by consumers in the U.S.

Consumers however, may be willing to get on board if there’s something in it for them. The same Nielsen study shows that 69 percent of consumers say they’d convert to mobile payment methods if merchants offered discounts specific to purchases made via mobile wallet.

Joe Laszlo, senior director of the IAB’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, agrees that if mobile wallets are to be widely accepted, companies have to provide consumers with an incentive to try them.

“Mobile wallets are still at very early stage in the U.S. The challenge with any new payment solution gaining acceptance is it has to give consumers a clear reason to use it,” Laszlo says. “It has to provide some kind of explicit reward like better pricing or better service. You cannot just put your new payment solution out to the marketplace and assume people will use it.”

Could offering coupons be the key? Laszlo believes so, as coupons can encourage consumers to try out and adopt the type of new payment service.

Another hurdle for mobile wallets in becoming a mainstream digital payment method, however, is neither retailers nor consumers want to be guinea pigs, says Laszlo.

“Consumers don’t want to use a new mechanism unless they are sure it has been widely accepted, while retailers don’t want to spend more infrastructure cost on a new payment system until they notice lots of consumers want to pay that way,” he explains. “So you have the problem where consumers are waiting for retailers to try a new payment mechanism first, and retailers are waiting for consumers, which leads to a very slow growth for a [new] payment system.”

But looking forward, Laszlo thinks that mobile wallets will indeed become more popular next year.

“I think next year will be really interesting. You have mobile wallets beginning to come alive, you have your beacon technology, and you have in-store short-range wireless technology. They can be tied together in a very interesting way that enables consumers to have a much more personalized, or maybe an easier and quicker shopping experience,” he says.

Image via Shutterstock.

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