Successful B2B marketers know why email remains at the center of the B2B marketing galaxy. While other marketing channels such as social media have garnered the headlines in the last few years, email remains the key online identifier for logging onto sites, establishing lasting relationships and tracking the customer journey.
It now looks like email will serve an additional, equally important function: facilitating quick and easy P2P (peer-to-peer) online payments. Google Wallet has launched as a fast, free way to send money through an app, online, or through Gmail – all that is needed is an email address (or phone number). While the technology is initially ideal for, say, splitting a restaurant bill with a friend or chipping in for a birthday gift, the use will soon, inevitably be expanded for business payments. And that’s why there are huge implications for B2B marketers:
- Streamlining Smaller Payments: With Google Payments, B2B marketers will be able to do more than simply email discounts or coupons; they can offer Gmail users the ability to pay for a product or service directly from the email message itself. This medium might initially be ideal for smaller, recurring payments, such as subscription renewals, upgrades or upsells – without requiring the client to log on to a website with a customer ID, password or other identifier.
- Larger Transactions Coming: Like with many new payment technologies, early adopters may wish to test the structure with smaller transaction amounts to ensure the system works effectively and mitigate problems, such as fraud. Once proven effective, it seems only a matter of time before such payments become trusted and pervasive – and facilitate bigger transaction amounts.
- Make Your Best Offer: With Gmail users able to purchase directly via email, B2B marketers will want to facilitate sales with enticing images, descriptions and prices. The goal will be to get recipients to easily purchase the offered item, without needing to go to a website to shop further or jump through additional payment steps. As a result, B2B marketers may consider offering their best-selling items or other select products that seem to move with minimal assistance or intervention.
- Security a Low Concern: By already knowing the person, party or company to whom you are sending money, security should be a lower concern with email compared to other online payment methods. In addition, Gmail isn’t as vulnerable to hacking the way, say, retailers have been with exposing their customers’ credit card numbers. Employing the best security minds, Google itself hasn’t really been hacked (at least not yet anyway), although there have been various scams using the Google logo, look and feel.
- Email as Unique Identifier: Utilizing email for payments is a huge vote of confidence for email itself, and serves as one of the biggest endorsements to date of email’s pervasive role as an essential aspect of our daily lives. Serving more than just a mere communications channel, email offers a personal form of identification that many experts consider superior to other online methods, such as cookies. Even a biometric such as a fingerprint is linked to the user’s email address. Since the email address provides such a high confidence level, Google is certain it knows who is behind it – enough so the company is enabling email to send money.
- Email as an e-Commerce Powerhouse: While we think of email as the best medium for communications and the preferred marketing channel, new payment capabilities should reinforce email an e-commerce and m-commerce (mobile commerce) powerhouse, enabling streamlined, hassle-free payments that emerging Millennials and Generation Z customers will be able to easily transact from their phones or laptops.
Currently, Google is rolling out its payment capabilities gradually by limiting monetary exchanges to P2P transactions, and requiring that new users be logged into the Gmail app on an Android device to send money. But e-commerce transactions will almost certainly spike once Google expands its capability to iOS and other devices.
Google’s integration of Google Wallet into Gmail should make email stickier, significantly expand its current role and create a range of e-commerce opportunities B2B marketers are in the early stages of discovering. How do you plan to make use of it for your business?
Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can help you achieve better email marketing ROI, and convert more prospects into customers. Ask us how. Also, take a look at our complimentary new e-book on building a successful B2B email marketing database. â€¨