When Loyalty360 spoke to Points President Christopher Barnard in August, he talked about flexibility as the future of customer loyalty.

“We’ll see loyalty programs distributing their currencies in industries outside of their own through mobile apps and wallets,” Barnard said at the time.

Now, according to a new Points study, “The State of Mobile Wallet Loyalty and Engagement in 2016,” it appears that mobile wallets are gaining significant traction and their ties to customer loyalty are apparent.

“Consumers are looking for that all-in-one solution when it comes to mobile wallets,” said Barnard. “While adoption for mobile wallets has been gaining steam, loyalty is the missing piece to help users stay engaged in mobile wallets for the long haul. And on the flipside, the integration of loyalty into mobile wallets presents an incredible opportunity for loyalty programs to make their currencies more ubiquitous and more deeply engage their member base in a new way.”

The report, which surveyed 1,500 consumers, identifies consumer pain points and desires for mobile wallets to offer insights into how loyalty programs, developers, and merchants can create an optimal and engaging mobile payments experience

Here are some of the study’s key findings:

Loyalty and commerce are intertwined.

Loyalty has become an important part of consumers’ everyday lives. It’s no longer an add-on, but an expectation. Consumers are looking for more ways to earn and burn loyalty points, miles, rewards, and experiences everywhere they go and with every transaction.

Nearly 70 percent (68 percent) of consumers have a rewards-collecting credit card.

85 percent of respondents want to engage with loyalty programs at places where they shop most frequently.

Consumers are most interested in redeeming their rewards at Grocery stores (38 percent), travel flight/hotel room (20 percent), and gas stations (18 percent).

Mobile wallets have been discussed for quite some time, but they appear to be finally gaining traction. In fact, more than three in five consumers (64 percent) said they’ve used a mobile wallet in the past year.

What’s more, there are several key features that developers and providers should incorporate to encourage continued adoption and long-term use:

94 percent of respondents are interested in a mobile wallet that allows them to exchange points and miles between loyalty programs to grow balances.

Almost half, 49 percent, of consumers would like to see more relevant deals or offers from merchants via mobile wallets

More than three in five consumers prefer to access all loyalty programs through one app.

Here’s the key theme of flexibility as it relates to customer loyalty, the study noted:

Across the board, consumers are much more likely to engage with brands that offer as much flexibility as possible. In many ways, it can be as simple as adding plentiful options for loyalty program members to earn and redeem rewards – especially through everyday purchases like filling up their gas tank or buying groceries.

90 percent of respondents are likely or extremely likely to shop with a retailer that allows them to earn points and miles in their favorite loyalty programs.

76 percent of survey respondents indicated they’re more engaged with loyalty brands when given more opportunities to earn and redeem loyalty points.

65 percent of consumers would choose to shop at one retailer over another if they had the option to earn loyalty rewards in their favorite airline, hotel, or travel brand on purchases.

According to the study, mobile wallet developers and providers should keep consumers’ demand for loyalty top of mind because now is the time for loyalty programs to be more flexible with their currencies by increasing their ubiquity and making them readily available in mobile wallets as adoption continues to gain traction.

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