It is no news that Loyalty programs have become an integral channel of revenues for many retailers. The mobile marketing industry together with the technologic advancement of the mobile devices has and is changing the loyalty market for good. Such change allows retailers brands and other businesses to retrieve more information about their customers.
While 85% of households have subscribed and handle loyalty cards, only a quarter of loyalty users ‘rarely’ redeem their points, with men less likely to redeem than women. Consumers are no longer required to having a wallet full of various retail loyalty cards and coupons, as the mobile medium plays and important part in enabling them to be used more effectively. The days of paper punch cards and bar-coded swipe cards are declining, as more and more users utilize their smartphones as their primary method of interacting with their everyday tasks and chores.
Mobile has been perceived by some as the answer to loyalty programs because of its ability to reach customers throughout the entire purchasing cycle from the user education on a product to the after sales experience. Mobile’s potential to boost loyalty programs is one of the reasons why interest in mobile loyalty is high among retailers, banks, airlines and other industries.
Knowing how to adapt and reach your consumers in such changes is critical to continued business success and customer retention. So how do marketers and brands can effectively combine mobile marketing with loyalty schemes? There is no standard answer to such problem. However, the best approach is to combine these two elements with the way mobile users and your customers are interfering on their daily basis: fast, instantly, in real-time, personally and based on their exact location.
According to a number of sources, results on mobile loyalty acceptance have shown that mobile loyalty schemes are already there. “Over half of smartphone users (56%) would use a loyalty scheme via their phone. And what’s more, one in four (26%) believe they would purchase more from a retailer that offered a proactive loyalty scheme with a mobile presence”.
Having said that and despite the straight forward indication that consumers are ready for a mobile loyalty scheme, just 10% of premium retailers currently offer access to their loyalty programs via mobile and or mobile couponing.
The most significant factor is due to the ubiquitous nature of mobile phones, they are with everyone every minute of every day. Implementing mobile loyalty campaigns directly to mobile phones provides serendipity experience assisting in impulse shopping. Incentivizing sales as well as aiming to drive additional traffic to the retail store is one thing. An also very important aspect in any mobile loyalty campaign is that brands need to remember that no customer loyalty exercise is really worth the trouble unless they are able to effectively collect and use the user data to their advantage. To get the most out of a loyalty initiative, it’s important for retailers to collect as much data as possible. This insight can then be stored within a unified database with the ability to segment customers by profile, allowing the business to identify their most profitable customers and create a personalized experience that can be perceived as an added value rather than a way of attracting additional revenues. Going through this process may take longer than expected, but will result in larger rewards for businesses to focus on and drive profitability in a tough market.
Compared to traditional loyalty programs, the mobile loyalty experience can:
- Increased redemption rate
- Creates portability
- Personalized and targeted messaging
- Reaching the consumer while on the move
- Time based services and offers
- Advanced reporting matrices
- Create perceived value towards your target audience
- Positions a company as being innovative
There are a number of key strategies and campaigns for incorporating mobile loyalty that can be implemented by retailers and/or brands, taking full advantage of the mobile device and its characteristics. But it needs to be taken under consideration that the same incentives and scheme structures will not work equally as effectively across subscribers and niche market segments.
Besides from the obvious benefits and implementation strategies enabling users to redeem points and coupons/vouchers via their mobile device, there are a number of implementation strategies through:
Through messaging techniques users can subscribe to receive promotional alerts right to their phone from their favorite retailer and/or brand. SMS is used as a personalized channel to bring news and information regarding a brand right where and when the consumer is in most need. Users can receive alerts for a number of reasons:
- Notify the user regarding points and redeemable products
- Alert users regarding new products, stores and news
- Activate offers using Geofence technology
- Enroll users in sweepstakes and mobile schemes
- Create a personalized one-on-one communication channel
Using the current technology built into today’s smartphones, marketers are able to create mobile applications that tie into an existing loyalty program making the user experience easier and more convenient enabling users to “carry” their loyalty programs and cards with them at all times. Customers can scan their phones right at the register to cash in on their points, redeem coupons and points for products as well as access their accounts for information and available savings or prizes.
Passbook has also given a new extent to the overall couponing industry, enabling consumers to manage and handle all their coupon needs from a single user friendly application. Passbook enables users to manage their coupons cross applications. It serves as a unified platform for coupon and loyalty point management.
As an addition, with the fast pacing technology of Near Field Communication (NFC) mobile will make loyalty programs even easier by enabling users to tap their mobile device at the register to check in or record a purchase. This convenience is a great way to reward your loyal customers.
Using the latest technologic advancement of HTML5 for web development, a mobile web experience for mobile loyalty programs can be as simple and as easy as on a mobile application. Users are able to access all important information and interact with their loyalty scheme as well as the brand by simply accessing a mobile web site.