O2's launch of "half-baked" O2 Wallet app creates a backlash among Facebook fans

O2's launch of "half-baked" O2 Wallet app creates a backlash among Facebook fans

Tags: O2 Wallet | O2 | Facebook

O2 shows that using an online community to promote the launch of a new product can backfire, providing early adopters with a platform for negative feedback. O2’s Facebook launch of the new O2 Wallet app generates criticism for the app’s lack of NFC support, showing that innovative products should initially be tested in a more controllable environment than online communities.

Previous case studies have shown how brands can mobilise existing fanbases to launch a new product, such as Calvin Klein’s new CK One re-branding. Mobile operator O2 have followed the same approach with the new O2 Wallet app, allowing users to perform transactions using their mobile phone. With O2 Wallet, O2 is joining the UK's mobile payment services, including the ability to send and receive money via SMS or using your phone as a contactless payment card.
WaveMetrix analysis shows that launching the app on O2’s Facebook page prompts negative feedback from early adopters who raise privacy and fraud concerns. They also complain that the app does not support near-field communication, which is necessary for in-store payments. This suggests that brands would benefit from launching highly innovative products within more controlled communities before undertaking a widespread launch among their social media fanbase.

O2 Wallet's launch on Facebook causes negativity around both the app and the O2 brand:
  • 89% of Facebook comments about O2 Wallet are negative: O2 Wallet announcement is met with criticism on the brand's Facebook page, with users saying they are "hugely disappointed" by the lack of NFC support, which makes the app "pointless". Others complain that O2 has not addressed security concerns which come with mobile payments and that O2 Wallet "should have been thoroughly tested" before release
  • Negative perceptions of O2 Wallet reflect badly on the O2 brand: Some O2 users take the opportunity to criticise the brand's services, including the price of data plans or signal coverage, revealing the drawbacks of launching an innovative product within social media communities



Anonymous 9th May 2012

I think the O2 wallet app is great and when it does become NFC enabled it will be even better!!

Anonymous 8th May 2012

Have to say, a lot of feedback in the App markets is also negative but for the wrong reasons. O2 made it very clear that NFC was not going to be supported to I am not sure why people had that expectation at launch. Additionally, if the passwords were not in place, O2 would have been slammed for not doing so but instead, they have been criticised for putting security at the forefront of the product. Seems they are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

I, for one, found the app simple to download, register and top-up with money and subsequently get my card sent to me. In addition, the one time I did phone O2 for support I found them really helpful and knowledgeable. So whilst some of us choose not to leave various remarks on Facebook, many of us are very happy with the product.

Anonymous 8th May 2012

Hi, I’m MD of the O2 Money business; thanks for the opportunity to comment on your article...

We agree entirely that the best way to launch a product is within a controlled community. We did exactly that – we trialled O2 Wallet for many months with more than 1,000 triallists. We then opened it up to the public via national media and also direct to our customers via social channels (of which Facebook is just one part).

We took this approach because we welcome comments and suggestions – and wherever possible we are implementing the feedback we receive to ensure O2 Wallet is as easy-to-use as possible (whilst remaining robust and secure).

O2 Wallet is intentionally not NFC-enabled at this stage. Whilst we see great potential in this technology, we don’t feel that the infrastructure (both in terms of NFC-enabled handsets and within retailers) is in place yet. O2 Wallet will become NFC-enabled in the future.

Contrary to your analysis, most of the feedback we have seen highlights that customers believe O2 Wallet is very secure. We recognise that security is absolutely key - we trialled O2 Wallet internally for months and it was extensively ‘stress-tested’ with security experts. In additional to PINs and passwords, all personal details and financial data are held on remote central servers rather than on the mobile device itself. This, we believe, is the safest and most secure way to deliver mobile payment services.

Our assessment of feedback from across social channels is rather different: we have been delighted by the scale of response, and have seen really engaged customers giving us great feedback on what they're enjoying about O2 Wallet, and how we can help them get even more out of it.

If you’d like to know more on O2 Wallet, do visit "Embedded URL removed for security reasons"/money.

Leonie Bulman 10th May 2012

Hi James,

Many thanks for your comment. I completely agree that if you are looking for feedback around the usability of a new app then yours was a good approach. Our research shows that sometimes there is a discrepancy between what brands think they have communicated and what consumers have understood.

We weren't suggesting that O2 Wallet is not secure, but rather that some consumers perceive it to be. Similarly, some consumers appeared unaware that 02 Wallet was not yet NFC-enabled. Our research can help brands understand where there is a disconnect between brand communications and consumer perception, making it easier for the communication to be adjusted accordingly.

Our case study looks just at Facebook responses as it is about best practices for social media. However, we acknowledge that feedback from other sources such as triallers may have been very different.

I hope I have clarified any misunderstanding and please do not hesitate to contact me at leonie.bulman@"Embedded URL removed for security reasons" should you wish to discuss this further.

Many thanks!


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