A mobile loyalty app is now a must-have for any loyalty program

By Christian Slike

Many consumers want to be recognized for brand loyalty, and there is no better way for them to receive this recognition than through a mobile loyalty app. But why? Does loyalty really matter? The answer is yes — loyalty matters a lot.

After all, return customers are better customers. Loyal customers spend more time and money with their favorite brands. The Pareto Principle implies that 20 percent of an enterprise’s customers account for 80 percent of its revenue, as Forbes reports.

The numbers don’t lie. According to Loyalty 360, Return customers will:

  • Visit two times more often.
  • Spend three to four times longer with your brand.
  • Purchase higher-margin items.
  • Have a 30 to 40 percent higher ticket size.

And, of course, when it comes to purchasing, convenience is key. As a result, customers prefer that companies keep their payment information on file. That’s why the best loyalty programs connect customers with brands via mobile loyalty apps.

The need for loyalty apps

Consumers are asked to give up a growing amount of personal information, so naturally, they demand more in return. They want product and service offers that suit their shopping habits, and they want them sent straight to their pocket. When customers make a purchase, they want to be acknowledged, immediately.

So, it follows that mobile loyalty apps have evolved to be an integral part of customer engagement. In addition to being utterly convenient and responsive to consumers’ ever-changing needs, mobile and cloud-based apps allow companies to gather and use insights based on customer behavior, gleaned from analyzing data gathered from customers’ mobile devices. Will they cede that data? You bet. According to Loyalty 360, 67 percent of U.S. adults would give up personal information for better service or products, and 25 percent claim that giving up that data has improved their experience over the past 12 months.

The challenges

Without a successful engagement strategy for your loyalty rewards program, your mobile loyalty app may just become a coupon delivery system. Or worse, it may simply be deleted. While 60 percent of businesses count mobile among their top three strategic priorities, according to a Forrester study, 52 percent of marketers struggle to understand customers across touch points.

Plus, the truth is that companies starting out on the mobile journey — or even those well down the path — may lack the internal resources, time or expertise to build and deploy a thoughtful strategy around enterprise mobility.

The solution

An effective loyalty card app must be custom-built for your brand, tailored to address your business needs. However, the success of most loyalty card apps requires such core features as a digital rewards card, rewards tracking or redemption and a store locator. Yet, a successful loyalty strategy doesn’t stop with the app, because engagement shouldn’t be limited to the device. It’s also essential to connect the mobile experience with the in-store experience to ensure a consistent, engaging and contextual experience for your most valuable customers.

It also matters how your app is both developed and delivered, it is critical to build and manage applications in a continuous-improvement process, considering customer usage and preference metrics, and the ability to quickly add functionality and features with cloud services. Put simply: You will be able to quickly design and build scalable, reliable and powerful mobile apps that your users will return to again and again.

Proven success

PointSourceand IBM helped Finish Line launched a new mobile app to reward their WinnersCircle program customers with points and loyalty perks. The award-winningapp is an important component of Finish Line’s strategy to deepen theunderstanding of the customer, inform enterprise decisions and encourageloyalty and sales, and incorporates the in-store sales associate in the overallcustomer engagement. For example, using geo-location technology, customers canget push notifications and information about nearby stores including real-timevisibility into inventory to determine if a specific item is in stock andavailable for purchase.

Learn more about the solutions PointSource and IBM MobileFirst are delivering in the market and how they can help your organization as well.

Written By

Christian Slike

Marketing Manager, IBM Mobile

Christian Slike leads Mobile Marketing for the IBM Cloud Division. Over the past 17 years, his experience spans several industries including high tech, banking and automotive, as well as numerous business consulting disciplines, most notably Strategy and Transformation. Most recently,…