I talked about mobile payments being a small part of mobile wallets quite some time ago.   Here’s an updated version of the original story.

Think mobile wallets are only about mobile payments?  Wrong.

Yes, we know, it seems that every article about mobile wallets extoles the virtue of using them to make mobile payments.  Whether it’s Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, Paypal, or some other localized brand of wallet, the primary focus of the articles almost always misses the point.

This quote from PaymentSource was a real gem –

The value proposition of a mobile wallet is not about payment, but rather attractive value-added services that can be offered across a mobile-enabled environment. Examples of value-added services include coupons and offers, loyalty solutions, product information, digital receipts, and warranties.

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The ability of the mobile wallet to create engagement and communication opportunities is unparalleled, fresh and new.  Without the swift rise of smartphones, we could not have this conversation, mostly because the delivery mechanism didn’t really exist before this.

Email marketing translates into exceptional mobile wallet campaigns, as does SMS.  The cost benefit is huge, the risk of spam complaints is almost non-existent, and the response rate is absolutely incredible.

[READ: Email marketing + mobile wallets = killer response rate]

There are any number of creative ways to use mobile wallet campaigns to engage with customers and prospects.  They can be used to drive referrals, get more traffic to new offers and provide educational or other materials in a context based setting.

Did you hear that?  It wasn’t the sound of a mobile payment.

As a matter of fact, the easy sharing opportunities marry the “word of mouth” with the technologically capable notifications and updates in a stellar way –

If you haven’t sorted out your overall mobile strategy (shame on you!), then you’re probably still attempting to digest what I’m telling you right now.  The bottom line is simple, however – you need to be able to reach your prospects and current customers in the medium that best serves THEM.

It wasn’t the sound of a mobile app being uninstalled from someone’s phone, either.

Spending your time and money on a stand alone app that no one is going to use is the fastest way to start going broke in your business that I can think of at the moment.  Don’t do it.  It’s a silly idea and you’ll be tied to that albatross for a long time to come, since only your most loyal customers will be bothered with it.

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Heck, I’ve been a club card member at Safeway almost since day one of that program and I still don’t have their app on my phone.  Same thing with CVS, no app, even though they email me receipts and I send all the good offers to my card from the email.

You’ve been served.

But I love getting a good deal.  If I’m walking by your place of business and you get my attention, I’ll buy from you.  Even if your merchandise is sub-par and potentially shady, I’ll still buy from you if you put a good offer in front of my face at the right time.

We’re all like that to some extent.  A few folks are more impulse driven, while others tend to weigh an offer before making a decision about it.  62% of us will make a decision within minutes if you present an ad, in context to our location, and positively act on it.

Chew on that for awhile.