Retailers Say We Can Throw Away Our Wallets in Favour of Their Mobile Driven Rewards System

Shopping is something we all have to do, whether we find it an enjoyable process, such as my girlfriend does, or whether we see it as a nuisance. If you do it more regularly then you may have experienced the benefits of being signed up to a loyalty card, such as discounts or special offers. I personally don’t have a loyalty card to any business because I don’t visit them regularly enough to justify the time spent signing up.

The girlfriend even sometimes resents the irritating process of having to rummage around her handbag to find the loyalty card specific to that particular shop. This is all while the queue behind you is standing in disbelief that she is taking 5 seconds longer than she should, with the checkout guy staring hopefully at your hand searching for the almighty club card. Well CommBank hopes to free us from the burden of carrying loyalty cards again with its new mobile banking app that will store your loyalty cards online.


Mobile Phone used as a Loyalty Card and deals marketing engineCommBank is building a new mobile banking app that will allow its customers to store their reward card details within the app for an easier and more user-friendly approach. If you weren’t aware before then you will be happy to learn that CommBank, along with a selection of other big banks in Australia, are slowly moving our banking systems towards more modern times. Shopping is important and having access to our money in a more immediate and dynamic fashion is something we want to see happen - and they now want to make a reality.

Before the year 2021, the retail sector hopes to have a system that will provide just that, direct access to our loyalty cards right from our mobile phones. CommBank analysts say that in the not so distant future we will be able to throw our wallets away and enjoy a completely contactless shopping experience. The banks efforts to automate processes through mobile applications have their minds set on allowing customers to accomplish all daily transactions through mobile phones. They envisage being able to control everything through your smartphone, from opening the garage door to checking-out at the supermarket.

Whilst this new all-in-one process is being developed, the bank currently provides its customers with the option of being able to scan existing loyalty cards into its current app. CommBank currently supports companies such as Priceline, Country Road and FlyBuys by storing virtual copies of such cards within its app.

Loyalty Scheme within a Mobile App means you dont need a walletThe future in CommBank’s eyes will mean that the next time you go to buy something you will be able to use the app to display the cards barcode so that it can be scanned. The process is similar to that of which airline companies use for their boarding passes.

If you sign up to a loyalty program with a specific retailer, you will soon be able to display the barcode on your phone for the checkout assistant to scan.

A fully integrated version of the system does currently exist on the Android app store if you would like to try it, while the iOS app unfortunately is still under development.

At the moment, the bank is running a separate pilot exercise that sends users an opt-in text message alert about exclusive deals available within Westfield. As the program expands the bank hopes to get more retailers involved.

An example scenario might be that as you shop a message will pop up on your phone offering you the option to enjoy a coffee for only $4 at the closest coffee shop. Alternatively as you walk past one of your least favourite retailers you may receive a notification offering you 30% off all store items. The app allows you to swipe left or right (similar to the dating app Tinder) through the different offers available within the area.

CommBank’s general manager Angus Sullivan, unveiled at the innovation lab that the app was “taking us one step closer to a day when you wont need a physical wallet at all.”

Forget physical loyalty cards, its all going onlineThe move is all part of the banks and retail giants efforts to bring us to a more digitally enhanced future where shopping is simple. The Internet has exploded over the past decade, but the retailers and banks want to get people off of their computers and back into the shopping centres. They believe the more tailored the experience, the more revenue they can generate from lost sales online.

CommBank has roughly 3.7 million customers signed up to Internet banking and Scentre Group (owners of Westfield in Australia) who want to leverage that customer base by enticing more shoppers into its malls.

Bill Burton, Scentre Groups general manager said, “the shared interest we have with CommBank is we have a very large shopper base, they have a very large customer base.”

Its about matching those as much as possible and making them as frictionless as possible… the elbow grease for us in all of this is our centre teams out there engaging retailers, helping them understand what this is, and corralling all those offers by category, by different types of shoppers,” Burton continued to explain.

Don’t be fearful though since there are clever systems in place to help prolong a long-term relationship. The seamless journey that they want to provide is monitored so that not every shopper is continuously notified of deals and offers they aren’t interested in.

Mobile apps replace physical loyalty cards in the CommBank futureWestfield is trialling 1,200 interconnected digital advertising boards within 37 of its shopping centres to broadcast centralised marketing content across Australia. Although only being used for broadcasting at the moment, the company envisage the potential of being able to collect demographic content to further assist marketing efforts.

Other innovations along with this from the Scentre Group are ticketless parking such as the system that is operational in Westfield Miranda (Sydney South). So if you are a big shopper, you can expect a more streamlined experience there too, however, I’m a little sceptical about how much easier it's getting for companies to monitor us all day every day through our phones with these new systems in place. What are your thoughts?


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