Google Wallet stores your credit and debit cards, offers, loyalty cards, and more.
What is Google Wallet?
Google Wallet: an application that leaves its users feeling like people of the future. Using near field communication technology (NFC), Google Wallet transforms your Smartphone into your wallet once the application is activated. By simply tapping your phone to the NFC reader or logging into your online account, Google Wallet is a quick, convenient, and reliable alternative to traditional debit and credit cards.
Like any revolutionary product, Google Wallet has faced some challenges in its early adoption. Being an application that houses confidential financial information, it is easy to see why consumers have their reservations. However, once trust is built, Google Wallet could change the way we complete business transactions. In order to build trust, it is important that Google leverage their strong brand equity and draw on the emotions of the target audience to foster relationships to work their way into the consideration set of their users.
Google Wallet: the application that would revolutionize the future of commercial transactions. At least that’s what Google had planned.
Google Wallet is a payment system that uses the Internet to cloud one’s debit and credit accounts on a server accessible from one centralized location. Originally released in May 2011, the application is compatible with selected online retailers and mobile devices. Online, shoppers have the option of checking out their purchases using the Google Wallet application. On the contrary, those physically at retail outlets can use the technology on their mobile device by activating the application and bringing it close to a near field communications (NFC) reader. As a result, payment is instant, convenient, and centralized. With this technology, traditional debit and credit cards are expected to be novelty items in the near future.
In 2014, 1 in 5 smartphones will have NFC functionality in embedded within the mobile device, according to a recent report from Juniper Research (Screenmediadaily.com, 2012). Currently, several million have downloaded the Google Wallet Android application. However, in a growing Smartphone market, the few million potential users hold an insignificant share of the total market. In early 2013, Google released a new version of Google Wallet, with an updated look, and lower battery usage for the mobile version (Nfcworld, 2013). Juniper Research has estimated the mobile payment transaction business to top over $170 billion in 2015, from $60 billion in 2011(Bloomberg, 2012).
Today, some major retailers such as Foot Locker, Bloomingdales, “Toys r us”, Old Navy, CVS pharmacy, Subway restaurants, and RadioShack have joined the Google Wallet service, incorporating the near field communication technology into their everyday services (Forbes, 2013). Other mobile payment technologies are also actively pushing their brand awareness. For example, Starbucks has signed with Square and digitalize its reward cards, making them available to be used with a smartphone. Major banks such as Bank of America are also trying to upgrade their technology and align with mobile pay-on demand products (Forbes, 2013). This builds a great opportunity for Google Wallet.
Risk and Barriers
The biggest concern today regarding Google Wallet is security. The technology is inherently worrisome in that it allows the transmission of large amount of money through the air instantly, and the information could theoretically be transferred or hacked. People are simply not willing to take the risk because they are not used to the idea of mobile payment. Just like online shopping, it seemed to be ludicrous in the early 2000s. In today’s fast changing and adoptive world, Google Wallet also faces fierce competition such as the leading mobile payment company Square, and its product offering – the square wallet, which essentially offers the same things as Google Wallet except with a fee of 2.75% per swipe (Squareup, 2013).
This is a faster and more convenient paying method. Instead of carrying different credit cards, it allows consumers to combine credit cards with their smartphones, further utilizing the smart aspect of mobile devices. To address the security issues, Google claims the product to be “ a safer, more secure wallet”, because the digital wallet is locked with a four digit PIN to prevent any unauthorized access (Google, 2013). With the Google Android system, you can increase protection by adding a screen lock as a second barrier for unauthorized activates. If your phone is stolen, you can access your account via Google online to reset or disable your account. Google also ensures that neither the merchant nor the operating system on the phone will have access to your credit card information, because it is safely encrypted on secure servers and transactions are made straight from Google, and no one else. Even if anyone is able to access your mobile screen accessing the Google Wallet application, the credit card information, including credit card numbers, expiration date will not be displayed on the handset device; therefore, your information cannot be copied and is safe. Google Wallet also partners with local merchants and stores offering easy to redeem coupons, when a purchase is made, the deal automatically syncs to your account whenever and wherever you go (Google, 2013).
Integrated Marketing Communication Assessment and Application
Google is a brand known for developing high quality, innovative ideas. With trusted products and services such as Google Maps, Scholar, Google+, Chrome, and Gmail to name a few, Google has been able to create strong brand equity and gain the respect of all.
Therefore, it would be beneficial for a company like Google to leverage their brand to promote one of their newest applications: Google Wallet. Currently, the application is facing the hardships of any revolutionary product. Despite its extraordinary capabilities, it has been a challenge to communicate the benefits to the target audience. Since the application is beyond its time, the early adopters of the service are likely targeted to Generation Y. The innovative technology, speed, and convenience appeal to this target audience. Moreover, growing up with technology makes it easier for this group to trust these applications. Once Generation Y is convinced, it will then be easier to gain the trust of older generations.
Current users of Google Wallet rave about the application. On Twitter, Kelsey Whelan tweeted, “Girl at register after using my @googlewallet: ‘Omg, I do not understand how that works. That’s the craziest thing ever.’” Kurt Swiger tweeted, “Paying with @googlewallet is too cool. Should’ve seen the dude’s face at 7-Eleven. #waitwhatbuthow”. And finally, Adrian tweeted, “@googlewallet I’d like to file a bug report: Google Wallet makes me want to spend more money because I feel like I’m from the future.” It is clear that Google’s marketing issue is not with the product itself. Instead, Google needs to utilize the right communication tools to retain current customer loyalty and grow their overall customer base.
In the short run, Google should focus on building its customer base with Generation Y. Keys to Google’s success include leveraging their brand equity to create an emotional connection between the brand and its users. When analyzing the marketing mix (Product, Price, Place, Promotion), Google should focus its attention on promoting its Google Wallet application for both online and retail use. Since the Google Wallet is a relatively new concept, efforts should be focused in the Needs Recognition and Information Search stages of the consumer purchasing decision. This involves raising awareness, educating the audience, and having consumers develop a liking and preference for the product.
As mentioned earlier, the problem is not the product itself. Those that use Google Wallet love it. Therefore, Google should leverage their brand to promote the new application. Currently, the security of credit information and the transferring of money are potential factors that discourage people from using the application. However, when looking at systems like online shopping or eBay’s PayPal, these companies were able to overcome the initial hesitancies consumers had toward the services. Now, online and mobile banking have become the norm. Ultimately, it comes down to building trust between the brand and its customers.
In the both the online and retail market, Google Wallet should solidify more corporate partners. By gaining the support of other companies, this proves to Google Wallet users and non-users that it is a trusted method of payment. Moreover, by making the application more accessible, not only will current users be able to reap the benefits with even greater convenience, but also those at the stores will be able to witness the capabilities of the technology. After reading the tweets on the Google Wallet page, most write about how either the clerk or other shoppers are amazed that a phone can be used to pay for their purchases. Therefore, increasing exposure by partnering with more companies will thereby increase word-of-mouth advertising and create more “magic” experiences in store.
In addition, Google Wallet can continue to use their current corporate partners to support any promotional or public relations events. Last June, Google Wallet teamed up with Coca-Cola to host an event in San Francisco that featured free pop, app demos, and other great prizes. Experiential events like these make it easier for customers to develop an emotional connection with a brand. Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, People will forget what you did, But people will never forget how you make them feel.” This saying is especially true for marketers. Therefore, creating an experience where customers interact and develop positive attitudes towards the brand will help build the emotional connection needed to make a product like this successful.
Clark, Sarah. Google Wallet Gets a Makeover. (2013). NFCworld. Retrieved from http://www.nfcworld.com/2013/01/29/322099/google-wallet-gets-a-makeover/
Gene, Marks. (Feb, 2013). What happened to Google Wallet? Forbes.com. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/quickerbettertech/2013/02/04/whatever-happened-to-google-wallet/
Google, Google Wallet. (2013). Why Google Wallet. Retrieved from http://www.google.com/wallet/why/index.html#organization
Kharif, Olga. (March, 2012). Google Said to Rethink Wallet Strategy Amid Slow Adoption. Bloomberg, com. Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-21/google-said-to-rethink-wallet-strategy-amid-slow-adoption.html