Three brands that have successfully engaged U.S. consumers, and likely Hispanic consumers, are Starbucks, Apple Pay and Western Union, and Google Pay. The details of how these brands have been successful are below.
- According to eMarketer, Starbucks has the most proximity mobile payment users (23.4 million in 2018) of any mobile payment app in the U.S.
- It is assumed that Starbucks has a high usage rate among Hispanics because based on research conducted by Refuel Agency, Hispanics spend $120.2 billion per year on food and their second-favorite brand is Starbucks (Coke is first).
- The Starbucks app is an extension of its in-store retail experience and it offers a "clear return for customers."
- The app offers users a personalized experience in addition to allowing customers to pay with their mobile phones. Not only does it recall users' favorite order, but it also has a geolocation feature that shows where the "closest Starbucks locations are [and] the menu at each location."
- Customers can order using voice commands or through a messaging feature, which makes it easy to use the app in a variety of ways.
- A major reason why Starbucks has successfully engaged U.S. consumers is because to participate in the company's Starbucks Rewards loyalty program, consumers are required to pay through the app.
- According to ZDNet, Starbucks' mobile payment app is a success because of "its ability to combine payments and its loyalty program."
- Millions of people stop at Starbucks, many of which make daily visits, which gives them a compelling reason to use a payment app for their purchases at Starbucks.
- One reason this app is so successful is that it is universally accepted at all Starbucks locations. With other mobile payment apps, "acceptance is not ubiquitous and that presents a usage challenge."
- As eConsultancy stated, "the known ability to use the app at every Starbucks location is no doubt a significant driver of app usage."
- In addition, customers are able to preorder their drinks and food via the app, which is not currently an option with most mobile payment apps.
- The ability to order ahead allows customers to skip the line, which "in and of itself is a compelling value proposition."
- As of November 2018, about 25% of Starbucks orders are made through the app.
APPLE PAY AND WESTERN UNION
- Based on data from eMarketer, Apple Pay had 22.0 million users in 2018, indicating it is the second-most popular mobile payment app in the United States.
- Among Hispanics considering the purchase of a smartphone, 50% are considering an iPhone, compared to the second-most popular phone, the Samsung Galaxy (33%). This indicates that Apple Pay, which is automatically installed on iPhones, has a significant Hispanic user base.
- In 2017, Western Union added Apple Pay to its mobile payment app that would allow users to send money transfers from the United States to "more than 200 countries and territories worldwide."
- Due to its availability on the iPhone, users can transfer money with just "the touch of a finger with Touch ID," meaning there are no lengthy account forms or the need to fill in address information for each transfer.
- Western Union stated that user experience was at the forefront of the decision to include Apple Pay as Khalid Fellahi, senior vice president and general manager, Western Union Digital Ventures, stated, "By bringing Apple Pay as a payment method in the U.S... Western Union is delivering an exceptional experience across our mobile platform, allowing our customers to conveniently and reliably move money whenever they please."
- In addition to the large user base, Western Union became one of the first money transfer services to allow payments to be made from a digital wallet (although many other services allow money to a mobile wallet). This enhanced the user experience by allowing people to engage in a form of payment that wasn't widely available before.
- Moreover, in 2018, Western Union specifically enhanced its mobile payment app for its Hispanic users by launching a "Spanish language version" to target the nearly one in four millennials that is Hispanic.
- Western Union made it simple for users to change the language within its payment app, stating: "To use the new multi-language app, consumers can simply toggle between their choice of languages within the app."
- According to Mike Hafer, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Field Execution, North America, "This new multi-language offering within our mobile app will help make it easier for consumers to use our service in their preferred language."
- It is likely that Western Union has a high Hispanic user base as approximately $69 billion is sent to Latin American and Caribbean countries from migrants in the U.S., 40% of which is sent to Mexico.
- The average Mexican migrant sends $300 at a time, 14 times per year "most commonly through a money transfer company such as Western Union."
- Google Pay has the third highest user base of all mobile payment apps in the United States, with 11.1 million users in 2018.
- According to ThinkNow Research, not only Hispanic millennials have "higher levels of engagement than their non-Hispanic peers," they also prefer Android devices over iOS.
- This data indicates that younger Hispanics are more likely to use Google Pay, which is only available on Android devices, than Apple Pay, which is only available on iOS devices.
- In addition, in 2018, Google Pay and Android Pay became one entity, meaning even more Android consumers were migrated to the Google Pay app.
- As such, Google Pay's large user base shows that it has successfully engaged U.S. consumers, including Hispanics.
- When Google Pay went live in 2017, its primary goals were to "make checkout speedier for mobile users and increase conversions for retailers, by allowing Google users to tap into any payment card a customer has on file with Google."
- To achieve these goals, Google provided users with the capability to "pay with their Google account across devices, platforms and interfaces" by allowing them to store multiple debit and credit cards on file.
- Each card is associated with a billing and shipping address that is sent to the merchant with the tap of a finger, making it simple and quick for the user.
- Moreover, Google partnered with more than 40 payment providers that would allow Google Pay to be integrated with existing merchant payment options.
- Google Pay also gives users access to various offers and rewards, making it a more personalized experience than with other mobile payment apps.
- The app itself is designed to be user-friendly in that all necessary information such as recent purchases, rewards, a store finder, and spending tips is available on the home page.
- On the Cards tab, users are able to "keep all their payment options and benefits neatly organized so they can easily find it at checkout"
To begin our research into three brands that have successfully engaged East Coast Hispanic consumers in the U.S. with a mobile payment experience. We initiated searches of formal marketing studies through eMarketer, Pew Research Center, and Juniper Research, among others; however, the only data found was related to mobile payment use. We did find information from eMarketer that showed the top three mobile payment apps are Starbucks, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.
We then turned to payment sites such as Pymnts.com, Wirecard, Fime, MobilePaymentsToday, and TSYS, among others. Our idea for this search was to see if payment sites had profiled any mobile payment apps that had received outstanding ratings on customers experience. From this search, we found that Starbucks was repeatedly mentioned as a best-in-class payment app. Upon further investigation, we also discovered that Starbucks is a popular brand among U.S. Hispanics. We therefore inferred that Starbucks has successfully engaged U.S. Hispanic consumers, although we could not pinpoint that engagement to the East Coast. Still, using this assumption, we selected Starbucks as one example of a brand that has successfully engaged consumers.
Since we had found through eMarketer that Starbucks has the top mobile payment app in the United States according to user base, we decided to use that metric as our gauge of success. As such, we then decided to see if Apple Pay and Google Pay, the next two most-popular mobile payment apps according to user base, had significant Hispanic usage. We discovered that Apple Pay is integrated in the Western Union payment app, which is heavily used by U.S. Hispanics. Using this connection, along with data from a telecom research study that showed Hispanics overwhelmingly consider an iPhone when choosing a new smartphone, we assumed that Hispanics are frequent users of Apple Pay and that the app has successfully engaged this demographic. Again, nothing specific could be found for East Coast Hispanics, but we assume that the level of engagement spans the entire country.
Finally, with regard to Google Pay, we came across an article in Hispanic Network Magazine that indicated that Hispanic millennials are more engaged than their non-Hispanic peers and that they prefer Android phones. This seemed to indicate that young Hispanics are using Google Pay more often than other mobile payment apps and that Google Pay has successfully engaged this demographic. Even though nothing we found was specific to East Coast Hispanics, we assumed that the level of Hispanic engagement with Google Pay is not significantly different from region to region.
Once we had identified three successful mobile payment apps according to user base, we then used a variety of articles and reviews from reputable media sources like NPR, ZDNet, Payments.com, Bank Innovation, TechCrunch, and Tech Times, among others to identify reasons why these apps have been successful in engaging consumers. While only Western Union's launch of a Spanish language interface was directly targeted at U.S. Hispanics, the other apps were deemed to have engaged large numbers of Hispanics based on their assumed usage.