Analyst: Mitch Cross, Director, Search Engine Marketing and Tracey Riper, Account Manager
Background: Google has announced the launch of a new product, Google Wallet, which essentially allows people to use their smartphone for in-store purchases, automatic coupon redemption, loyalty card use, and other to-be-determined applications.
Industry Implications: Google Wallet allows marketers a look directly into consumers’ wallets to see exactly how and when they shop. This heightens our ability to determine how purchases are made on a micro-demographic level.
- Even Google seems to be unsure as to the implications this would have for health. The industry’s complex regulatory environment does not easily allow for assumptions around use. But if we are to hope for the best possibilities, implications for the industry could include:
- Google partners (such as pharmaceutical companies) can access additional information including those who self-identify as HCPs (as can be done with Google+)
- Organization of healthcare billing and reimbursement
- Consumers can store their health insurance information to automatically access at doctors’ offices and hospitals
- Full digitization of sampling/couponing, care cards and other patient benefits
- Increased measurement of marketing efforts
- Potential for improved adherence
Recommendation: At launch it is only available on one device (Nexus S from Sprint) and one credit card company (Citi MasterCard) is signed up with them. However most next generation smart phones, including the iPhone 5, are expected to have NFC technology embedded. It will also take time for merchants to install the necessary NFC-reading technology to accept this form of payment.
We recommend partnering with Google early to explore possibilities behind the scenes. Although some initiatives would be too close to behavioral targeting for comfort, others (such as digitizing care cards) would offer convenience for consumers without treading too close to regulatory snafus. We at CMI are moving forward with exploring these possibilities with Google and will continually update our clients to opportunities.