Loyalty programs have always been popular among retailers. They offer an avenue for deeper engagement with consumers by gathering insights into shopping behavior, trend forecasting and building brand loyalty. They have continued to evolve as technology has, from points cards customers can swipe, to signing up for emails containing brand coupons.
What is the future of loyalty? Mobile. Oleg Urminsky, a marketing professor at the University of Chicago says, “If it’s a strategy built on mobile apps for loyalty used wisely, it will be a game changer”.
Mobile makes it easier for consumers to love a brand. It brings on-the-go convenience and ease to the experience. Mobile apps in the market from strong retailers like bebe leverage the use of Apple’s Passbook to conveniently store a digital loyalty card. Mobile apps have also been able to hook into a whole suite of loyalty features, from seeing how many points one has, to being able to redeem real-time exclusive coupons in stores. These apps can often have a playful side as well, as retailers (such as Shoe Carnival) embrace virtual contests and games to reward consumers.
As retailers leverage mobile’s personal touch with consumers, user-segmented push notifications and content can prove to be a powerful tool in loyalty. Retailers can target their most loyal consumers through a segmented push notification for offers available to top-tier members. With the new advances in geo-location, retailers can also set segments for both proximity and loyalty to increase foot traffic in stores. These nudges - when done correctly - keep your brand at the forefront of a consumer’s purchasing mindset.
One of the biggest buzzes in mobile that has an implication for loyalty is payment. As mobile payments continueto gain traction, an analyst at Forrester Research states, "Having access to loyalty program points and rewards within a mobile wallet is the number one feature they [consumers] are interested in”. Express was one of the first retailers to launch with mobile payment in 2013, offering members of Express NEXT a digital version of their loyalty credit card increasing downloads by 38%.
The next generation of mobile loyalty will see mobile payment come into the fold with the aforementioned features, giving consumers one place to manage their brand loyalty experience.
Learn more about the Ten Must-Have Mobile App Features for generating in-store engagement.