The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the trend toward mobile payments, as they offer the dual benefit of easier mobile commerce integration and a contactless in-store checkout experience. As retailers assess and implement store re-opening plans and prepare for the holiday season, mobile payments will play a critical role in easing health concerns and holiday shopping crowds for leading retailers that have invested in this technology.
Walmart launched an email marketing campaign in 2019 announcing Walmart Pay, its closed-loop in-store mobile wallet. A closed-loop wallet is any stored payment method unique to individual retailers that can be accessed by validating the consumer’s identity. Walmart’s app has a wide user base, with 6.2 million monthly active users in April 2020— up 78% year over year. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Walmart highlighted Walmart Pay’s ability to remove the in-store payments touchpoint and retooled check-out kiosks to support expanded contactless usage. The retailer also draws attention to Walmart Pay in both the description and screenshots in the iOS App Store. Users also see a blurb about it on a welcome page upon opening the app for the first time. Walmart maximized exposure to its contactless payment options in an effort to assuage shopper fears of in-store contamination.
On September 15th, Walmart launched Walmart+, a membership program that offers subscribers exclusive benefits. One of the three highlighted features, Scan & Go, is accessed through the Walmart app and allows consumers to use Walmart Pay to scan and pay as they shop. This further integrates Walmarts efforts to remove touchpoints in stores and create a safer and faster shopping experience for consumers, particularly as we enter the busy holiday season.