Marketing Corner: Emerging Trend of Digital Wallets

February 6, 2014 Updated: February 6, 2014

Digital marketing is continuing to develop at a very rapid pace.

Keeping up with recent trends could make small-business owners feel like they’re in the eye of a hurricane. Even major, established marketers are struggling to keep up with the latest developments in this area.

One emerging trend of digital marketing is virtual wallets. Technology continues to refine how we interact with people or brands. It is also defining, long-term, how consumers may pay for goods or services. Cash, checks, and debit and credit cards have been the primary means of payment until now.

Online shoppers already realized the benefits of using a virtual wallet feature. Consumers visiting their favorite sites can use PayPal or store their debit/credit card information online. By offering this feature to an e-commerce site, it allows the user to quickly check out a purchase. Additionally, some sites also offer rewards to users for being repeat customers. Now, many brick and mortar locations are also accepting the digital wallet as a form of payment. Let’s consider some of the demographic facts surrounding the usage of digital wallets:

• Tend to be more popular with younger age groups such as millennial and Gen X
• Men have a higher propensity to use this technology versus women
• Households with children have a stronger usage than those without children

There is still a very real concern regarding digital wallets—security. Consumers fear having their sensitive information stored on smartphone devices or having to transmit such financial information wirelessly. Other concerns include losing service while trying to pay for an item, battery dies while trying to pay, and not sure where one can use digital wallets. The upside, however, is that some consumers are willing to have a digital wallet in order to take advantage of existing credit card reward programs or other loyalty programs.

Small-business owners should entreat a dialogue with their customer base to find out about their tendencies prior to investing resources into this technology. It’s possible that at some point in the very near future, digital wallets will become a primary method of payment. The key to winning over the consumer is resolving security concerns. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled on the changing landscape to see if the next new thing holds an opportunity for you to set your business apart from the competition.

Adele Lassere is a marketing/advertising consultant with 20+ years of experience, freelance writer, and author of “Elements of Buying: A How To Reference Guide on Advertising for Business Owners”; available at Adele was listed on Black Enterprise’s 2011 Top Execs in Marketing & Advertising and Black Enterprise’s 2013 Top Women Executives in Advertising & Marketing. Contact: