Loyalty programs can have an enormous impact on companies, says Midu Chandra, one of co-founders of marketing and technology consultancy mobiDdiction, globally contributing to around as much as 5-10% of total revenue gains.
Every company seems to be looking at diving into developing a mobile focussed loyalty program. From my experience most companies fail to leverage the full opportunity by just tweaking their existing loyalty programs rather than taking the opportunity to review and update their loyalty solution.
The theory of customer loyalty is pretty simple really, the longer you can keep a customer with you, the more money you can make from them and that’s a cost much lower cost than acquiring new customers from scratch.
So when developing a loyalty program here are some of the key elements to reflect upon if you’re looking to move it into the mobile world.
Before I share the core aspects that you should look into above all I would say is at its core the focus has to be participatory design and testing. If what you develop does not follow these fundamentals I can’t see it succeeding.
Customer Segmentation & Analytics
Segment your users and look at how your loyalty program suits them, especially on mobile. You know who I am, you know my preferences so why shouldn’t the interface manipulate itself based on this knowledge and give me the relevant information quickly.
Connect the mobile experience with the in-store experience
Loyalty programs don’t have to just give free things to customers. Offers especially exclusive ones play an important role. Access to exclusive releases, priority access, and notoriety in the community are all non-free actions which engage the customer.
Some of the best mobile loyalty experiences link loyalty to the in-store experience through show-rooming, customer care, directions to product information and a lot more. Internationally have a look at Best Buy a great example of show-rooming as part of an app.
Rewards, specifically in-app rewards
Save customers time carrying around loyalty cards, they have a mobile and it’s always on them, why not deliver your program through the mobile. Reward in-store visits, reward behaviours like purchases, repeat visits, sharing, brand engagement, participation and unlock rewards based on these behaviours. Understanding your relationship with customers allows you to truly associate a value to your customer relationship.
Customer communication, promotion and time sensitive offers
One objection with apps has been users have to open the app to engage with the brand. However with push notifications this is no longer the case as long as they accept the permissions. Push notifications have proven to increase response rates by up to 300% for clients of ours. However push notifications are not the only method you have in your arsenal, other options include channel retargeting ads, email, SMS and they all play an important role in a customer communication strategy.
One other large part of loyalty is re-engaging with customers and creating a sense of urgency. Count-down and time sensitive offers drive purchase today.
Make payments more accessible
One of the largest drivers for a mobile loyalty programs has been the introduction of mobile payments. Making it easy for regular customers to not have to provide credit card details each time they need to go through the payment process in-store and online. Combing loyalty with payment is not only convenient but also an easy way to capture interactions customers have with you.
Communicating with sales reps and customer service personnel is often a very painful and cumbersome process for customers. Providing in-app chat is a great way to allow customer service staff to multi-task, acknowledge and manage expectations of customers
Social Engagement and User generated content
If your customers have downloaded your app it’s about constant connection and convenience. Why force them down the Facebook, forum and other social channels. Why not provide this experience directly from the mobile and enable social sharing functions. Incentivise this behaviour and reward your customers by giving them notoriety
The concept of building customer loyalty isn’t new to marketers but building loyalty within the app ecosystem is.