With holiday 2016 approaching, retailers need a mobile wallet strategy ASAP

Shoe Carnival-SIM Partners case study shows how a mobile wallet can complement and even substitute for app downloads.


Most retailers are gearing up for holiday sales, and that means many will be seeking to drive mobile app downloads. Most of them will fail.

Among the top 25 US apps, there are four retailers present: Amazon, eBay, Groupon and WalMart. By far, Amazon dominates time spent among retail apps, according to comScore:

Top retail apps

Roughly half of smartphone owners (49 percent) now don’t download any apps in a given month, while the average user downloads two, according to the same comScore report.

What this effectively means is that absent some really compelling features and functionality, most retailers have dimming hopes of driving widespread adoption of their apps. Frequent shoppers and loyalists may have specific retailer apps on their phones, but the majority of shoppers will not.

A Shoe Carnival-SIM Partners case study shows how a mobile wallet strategy can complement efforts to drive app downloads and even stand as a complete substitute for an app download.

Shoe Carnival has more than 400 retail locations in the US. Earlier this year, the company worked with SIM Partners to manage the company’s local listings and presence across platforms.

SIM Partners created store location pages that were optimized for search and mobile users for each Shoe Carnival location. Among other things, these pages featured a discount coupon that could be downloaded into users’ mobile wallets and redeemed in store. One in five mobile users who clicked on the offer saved it to the mobile wallet.

mobilewalletsimpartnersThis helped drive foot traffic and closed the loop between online/search and offline purchases. However, for purposes of this post, what’s most interesting is that once in the mobile wallet, the offer card could function like an app.

The presence of the coupon in the mobile wallet allows for location-based or time-based notifications and reminders (It can also receive in-store beacon notifications). In addition, the offers themselves can be updated dynamically without the need for the retailer to prompt another download. In other words, the message or promotion to the consumer can be changed and controlled by retailers.

SIM Partners’ Jay Hawkinson told me that more than 85 percent of the smartphone owners who downloaded the coupon retained it in their mobile wallets. By comparison, developers have typically lost 75 percent or more of their users 90 days after an app download.

A mobile wallet strategy can confer the benefits of an app (e.g., notifications, location analytics) without having to clear the higher bar involved in getting people to download an app. And while the case study doesn’t stand for this proposition, a mobile wallet can also function as a tool to engage more casual audiences — potentially as a bridge to an app download later.

Accordingly, a mobile wallet strategy is critical for all retailers. With Q4 upon us, there’s no time to waste.


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