People are addicted to their mobile phones, yet a staggering 90% of retail commerce still happens in-store today. How to bridge this gap as a marketer? Mobile Wallet Marketing.

Apple Wallet and Android Pay are about quick and secure payments through your smart phone. Another, lesser known, feature are mobile wallet passes. Think of it as an app-lite version of branded content and information opening up a brand new marketing channel through mobile wallets.

You’re probably thinking: “Argh, another pitch from one of the 3,000+ MarTech startups.”  In full disclosure, I’m an advisor at mobile wallet startup Popwallet. We’ve talked to scores of marketers and their agencies about this in the past year. We’ve learned that brand and retail marketers are excited about mobile wallet marketing to boost brand affinity and loyalty. We’ve also learned that there's a need to explain better why mobile wallet marketing is such a powerful tool. So I thought it would be a good idea to write an article how mobile wallet passes can solve for big marketing and advertising industry challenges.

At Popwallet, we aim to disrupt a $1 trillion industry: Trade Promotion. Trade promotion includes coupons, offers, loyalty rewards, etc. Again, you’re probably thinking: “That doesn’t sound sexy”. Whether it’s sexy or not, I’ll leave to the pundits. What I find compelling is that CPG and retail brands on average spent 2.5x more on trade promotion than on advertising. Yet, a staggering two-thirds of trade promotions don’t even break even*.

Coupons are one of the key trade marketing tactics. Over 300B coupons are distributed annually by marketers in the U.S., yet less than 1% are redeemed. Not a great return, let alone it’s a substandard user experience of cutting coupons with scissors that hasn’t changed much over the last two decades.

Contrary to what you might think, the U.S. is a coupon-loving nation:

Imagine your favorite brands in your mobile wallet with offers tailored through location-based insights, while also getting rewarded for your brand affinity through offers, coupons, loyalty rewards and product information. All opt-in, designed around your needs, delivered through a mobile native experience.  

Merchants, brand and retail marketers can run programs to connect mobile with in-store. To name a few ideas:

  • Premium lines at cash registers for mobile wallet pass holders

  • In- or near store offers on consumers lock screen with instant and smart redemption

  • Imagine you are marketing hair coloring products. Currently a paper coupon of hair color products is $2. Perhaps $1 off might be good enough for certain folks? Redemption data from mobile brand passes can target audiences with real-time offers and dynamic coupon valuation, not only in-store but also at your hair salon.

It’s time shopping is improved for customers, brands and merchants. Smartphones can bridge the gap to create a better shopping experience before, during and after the moment of purchase. Mobile wallet passes are a low touch, high yield marketing tactic that works through its data play, opt-in nature and finally end-to-end attribution of marketing $ spent. Added bonus, you’ll be saving trees at the same time.

In this article we've focused on coupons as one of the use cases for mobile wallet passes. In the next article we'll go deeper into other compelling applications.

Louise Doorn is a marketing advisor for Popwallet. You can reach her at