Rethinking loyalty for mobile
POSTED : May 12, 2020
BY : Jodi Rausch

Having a robust digital presence is unquestionably critical for any consumer brand. As digital technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, consumer expectations of brands’ digital experiences evolve along with it. Those brands who invest in their mobile technology and focus on the digital consumer experience differentiate themselves in the marketplace and endear themselves to their consumers – especially their loyalty members.

Each year, Amazon’s Prime Day sales exceed the previous year’s record, and 2019 was no exception. Following the July 2019 event, third-party marketplace sellers sold more than $2 billion worth of products and saw their biggest single day of sales in Amazon history – all driven by a gated member experience.

Amazon has achieved this success in part due to its focus on the Prime mobile app, which hosts special deals and activities for Prime Day. By offering members a differentiated mobile experience, Amazon continues to embed itself as a part of users’ everyday lives, creating customer stickiness and establishing Amazon as the obvious “go-to” when a member is ready to make a purchase.

It’s increasingly important that loyalty strategies continue to evolve with customer demand, which means companies looking to re-design or launch a mobile app should keep these guidelines in mind as they incorporate their loyalty programs.

Think beyond discounts and cashback

The most successful and effective loyalty programs are those which offer benefits beyond transactional discounts and rewards, such as experiences and content that build a connection and brand equity with your customers. Many brands have leveraged their mobile apps to help deliver these benefits by gating member access and offering additional utilities like early access to products and sales, membership services, subscription offerings and experiential benefits. In short, mobile empowers brands to engage customers in new ways.

A great example of this approach comes in the work we do with a leading action sports footwear, accessories and apparel retailer. From the very beginning, we designed a program focused on member engagement, from interactive and exclusive content to member polls and surveys. As the program has grown exponentially within the US and around the world, we’ve stayed true to our focus on engagement, limiting discounts and maintaining margin while delivering an on-brand member experience.

Focus on convenience

Mobile delivery of loyalty also enables brands to provide added utility and convenience to members, whether they are remotely engaging with the brand or visiting a brick-and-mortar location.

Consider Starbucks: The company’s app invites customers to engage with the brand through traditional tactics, most notably earning points on transactions made through the app, redeeming offers through the app and benefiting from push-notification discount offers. Its loyalty-building aspects don’t end there, though. The app also gamifies the member experience by presenting games and “order challenges,” such as ordering a latte and a breakfast sandwich in a single order to receive bonus points. Uniquely, Starbucks Rewards is also directly tied to mobile payments. In order to earn points on their purchases, members must pay using the mobile app, which simplifies the payment process, provides members with exclusive offers and allows ordering ahead at any location – all of which encourage customers to engage with the brand and return to Starbucks. As a result, Starbucks ended Q1 fiscal year 2020 with 18.9 million active U.S. members of its loyalty program, marking a 16 percent year-over-year increase.

Perfect your UX and UI

Your technology foundation and user experience play a powerful role in connecting the dots between customers and a successful mobile loyalty strategy. Your mobile loyalty platform, whether an app or mobile site, should unite design with effective delivery in order to provide a great user experience. This requires you to have a data-driven understanding of customers’ actions on your loyalty platform.

Consider the case of a national telecom provider that wanted to relaunch its customer loyalty mobile app. The telco’s servers frequently struggled to handle incoming traffic, preventing users from taking part in its mobile loyalty program. By working with PK, the company significantly improved the user interface and experience with a relaunch that included back-end upgrades, vastly improving the app’s availability and eliminating downtime. By focusing on the user experience within the mobile app, the telco has been able to grow its loyalty app to engage 2.5 million active users each week.

As demonstrated in all the featured examples, the mobile channel allows loyalty programs to offer new, innovative program benefits, experiences and functionality that build deep connections with members. Consider these guidelines to rethink how your organization can best engage your loyalty members on their mobile devices.

Learn more about how to design the right rewards program for your organization.


About the Author

Jodi RauschJodi Rausch serves as Director of Integrated Loyalty Solutions at PK. She has deep experience developing, transforming and managing differentiated loyalty programs, customer marketing activities and customer experiences driven by data, customer insights and financial rigor. She enjoys building and growing relationships with internal teams, clients and end customers to best understand their needs and exceed expectations.

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