Some of the contributing factors have been a more scientific approach to customer data management and data mining, a greater appreciation (within the banking, utility and retail sectors) for rewarding loyal consumers, and the ever-increasing sophistication of analytics tools. However, while these factors have been significant, one of the biggest enablers of the new loyalty culture is – you guessed it – the Smartphone.
Brands Going Mobile – The Loyalty App
Any loyalty clubs and programs worth their salt are going mobile. It makes a lot more sense for consumers to have an app on their handset instead of a card/key fob – not only does it remove all that fumbling around in our bags / wallets but less plastic is better for the environment. For brands the investment in mobile technology provides almost instant ROI, and it is also a step into the future digital world. So goodbye loyalty cards and fobs and hello loyalty apps.
Here in the Republic of Ireland, from Insomnia to Arnott’s and Topaz to SuperValu, big name brands are going mobile with loyalty programmes, and so too are some smaller ones such as Leo Burdocks and the Gourmet Burger Kitchen. Internationally this trend is also on the increase while in the US, every single major business sector from the banks to hotels, supermarkets to retail – going mobile with their loyalty plans is not only a requirement, it is seen as core to the survival of their business.
As the likes of Joe LaCugna, Senior Executive in charge of Loyalty at Starbucks puts it ‘we are only beginning to learn the benefits of our loyalty program’. Not only can brands such as Starbucks track spending patterns, product choices, consumer habits and geographic patterns, they can also track in-store behaviours and responsive mechanics to promotions. In addition, proximity technology in the likes of iBeacons helps bring things to a whole new level for the Starbucks App and their entire approach to customer centric marketing. Not only can brands segment and track consumers based on personalized variables, they can also track behaviours in store; how long a consumer might spend in a certain section of the store, indeed within the store in total and what real-time promotions (vouchers/coupons etc) work best. Starbucks also has one of the biggest game changers in their app – mobile payment features.
Big Opportunities with the Right Mobile Approach
The strategic thinking behind loyalty marketing models, combined with the systems and technology platforms, the rich consumer data and the real-time opportunities that mobile presents is where the real loyalty revolution lies. While the technology required to host a loyalty programme becomes more widely available and cost effective, the development and integration of mobile apps into these programs is becoming more advanced and the habits and behaviours of consumers is ensuring mobile is becoming of greater importance in the marketing mix.
This is where the opportunity lies and there are some very important lessons to be learnt over the past 30 so years of loyalty programmes. In addition, having a true omni-channel approach is the key to success.
Here at Púca, we specialize in creating solutions for our clients that use email, app push, beacon, SMS and social channels to harness the personalization, relevance and value inherent in smart loyalty marketing.
Feel free to get in touch and see how our mobile technologies can help deliver significant ROI for your loyalty program and your brand.