Today, the lion’s share of loyalty programs comes primarily in the form of mobile apps. The apps are appreciated by both club members and organizers. The former value them primarily for their convenience of use. The latter, on the other hand, for their efficiency and huge functional capabilities. In this article we will look at the role of mobile apps in the loyalty program industry. We will analyze the benefits and explain why this form is exceptionally popular among companies.
The role of a mobile app in a loyalty program
While some time ago the programs mainly functioned in two forms – the traditional plastic card, and the app served a complementary function, today, it is increasingly the only form of access to the loyalty program. What is its role?
The mobile app is first and foremost the main communication channel between the brand and its audience. It allows sending push notifications about new promotions, sales or special offers, which cost nothing. Compared to the cost of sending SMS to a base of several hundred thousand, this is a huge saving for the company in terms of communication expenses. This keeps customers up to date with attractive bargains and encourages them to buy more often. That’s not all, however, as mobile applications allow the implementation of two-way communication. This allows the brand to not only speak, but also listen and respond to the needs of customers.
The program organizer can easily update offers and promotions on the mobile app. This keeps him up-to-date with his audience. This makes it possible to provide fresh content and avoid outdated information. Users value ease of use and usability in apps. In the app, they find up-to-date information about promotions, upcoming offers, special actions, so they can plan their purchases and enjoy the available benefits.
While the cost of designing and implementing a mobile app may seem high at first, at the end of the day it turns out to be easier and cheaper to maintain overall. They eliminate the problem of manufacturing and logistics of plastic cards or registering by filling out a paper form. In addition, any change can be made remotely within minutes. Both on the part of the company and the user who wants to update, for example, his or her email address or preferred store.
Mobile loyalty system – best practices
A good mobile application must, first and foremost, provide functionality and value to users. This way they will feel the need not only to install it, but also to use the app and the offers available in the program on a regular basis. It will include not only basic functionality such as a virtual card, transaction history or available offers, but also additional features that make the program easier to use and improve the customer experience, such as click & collect shopping, mobile payments, an up-to-date promotional newspaper or a price scanner, among others. Push notifications can only be sent to active users, so care must be taken to ensure that club members use the app regularly.
With mobile apps, you can take your loyalty program to the next level and engage customers more. Using gamification elements, you can encourage customers both to use the app regularly and to visit stores more often.
Among the best practices, it is also worth highlighting the need to monitor and analyze the effectiveness of the loyalty program. Collecting data on user activity, conversions or reactions to various actions in the application will allow continuous adjustment of the strategy. This will make the program increasingly effective and deliver value to both users and the company.
Advantages of loyalty programs in consumer apps
Mobile loyalty cards have many advantages. First of all, they provide great potential for building a strong customer bond with the brand. What do customers appreciate them for? First of all, for quick and easy access to offers. Thanks to mobile apps, customers have instant access to their loyalty account anywhere, anytime.
In addition, customers can keep track of their earned loyalty points, transaction history and available rewards in real time, making it easier for them to manage their benefits.
Another obvious advantage is not having to carry a plastic card. Being able to identify with a smartphone, which we always have with us, makes using the loyalty program much easier. What’s more, increasingly, you don’t even need to scan a code in the app, and you can identify yourself with just your phone number.
In the past, the limitation in joining another loyalty program was the capacity of the wallet and the number of compartments that hold plastic cards. Today, it’s the capacity of a smartphone and the space to install another app. As more companies introduce their own loyalty apps, customers may find themselves overwhelmed by the number of installed programs, which can lead to disorganization and loss of motivation to use them. Mobile loyalty programs can also contribute to the information overload effect. The constant bombardment of in-app notifications and offers can lead to confusion and a decline in customer engagement. Effective communication requires subtlety and the ability to deliver content that is truly valuable to the recipient.
Another concern that comes to mind is the issue of data sharing and security. Mobile apps often require access to a variety of personal information, and some customers may be wary of sharing their data fearing potential privacy breaches. The rising number of data misuse incidents is increasing consumer awareness of this issue, while also heightening the fear of joining yet another loyalty program.
The technological barriers of the recipients are also an aspect to look at before launching a loyalty program on a mobile app. Not all customers have modern smartphones or are familiar with technology, which can be a barrier to using loyalty apps. It is necessary to research the target audience before launching a mobile app so as not to significantly limit the potential reach of the program.
Loyalty application – summary
In today’s world, a mobile app is no longer just an “extra option” but a “necessity” if you want to gain and maintain customer interest. However, it is important to remember that such an application must be followed by quality. In this era of high competition in the mobile app market, a customer without a good reason is unlikely to install another app on his phone. By offering the customer a well-thought-out, easy-to-use app, we can influence not only sales, but also evoke positive emotions toward the brand. Mobile apps are constantly being improved, making it likely that the spectrum of their possibilities is still ahead of us. However, it is worth remembering that an app is only one of many points of contact with the customer, and the key is to offer an equal experience at each stage of the customer’s purchase path.