If your loyalty program isn’t already successfully leveraging the power of mobile, there’s a good chance it’s striding a precarious path. But what does a successful implementation of mobile actually look like? Today’s technological landscape is convoluting the path-to-purchase, and consumer behaviors are inextricably entwined with gadgets like smartphones, wearables, mobile payments, RFID, and geolocation. The challenge for loyalty practitioners is to seamlessly integrate these technologies in a manner that will capitalize on the customer’s inherent demand for them, all wrapped up in an economical solution that is deeply woven into all aspects of loyalty engagement. While there’s no easy “one-size-fits-all” answer, the better you are able to visualize an optimized mobile journey, the better you can ensure that real value is being translated to members themselves.
[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”70%” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Today’s technological landscape is convoluting the path-to-purchase, and consumer behaviors are inextricably entwined with gadgets.[/dropshadowbox]
The 3 Loyalty Problems Mobile Needs To Solve
Consumers gravitate to mobile devices because they solve problems. While these problems can vary widely from person to person, there are a few salient pain points that are nearly universal in today’s loyalty universe, and identifying them is the first step in crafting an optimized mobile journey for your loyalty program:
From streamlining points collection to facilitating product research, a strong convenience factor precipitates most of the rationale behind mobile adoption for both consumers and businesses alike. In the age of instant gratification, smartphones are a natural tool to gain intimate access to members, and for members to be able to engage with loyalty programs in out-of-store contexts. But even in-store, mobile value is married to convenience: about 77% of all shoppers use a mobile device to search for product information while shopping in physical stores, while just 35% are willing to consult an in-store salesperson with product questions, according to a study commissioned by Salsify.
The endless discussion around “Big Data” has reinforced the importance of data collection, and the relative ease with which it can now be achieved – and the age of mobile brings countless more ways to collect and utilize customer information. Mobile devices constantly feed information, and consumers have the power to surrender this data to loyalty programs – but whether or not they are willing to depends a lot upon the value they themselves receive in return. In fact, over 99% of consumers will divulge personal info in exchange for rewards and brand transparency.
Engagement is more than keeping a consumer active on your platform. True engagement taps into a higher realm of self-actualization – or, to put in laymen’s terms, “fun”. Mobile technologies allow for ways of interacting with brands that are novel and exciting, creating emotions which should be translated back into the overall mobile journey. New ways of tapping into mobile such as augmented and virtual realities, GPS integrations, real-time offers, and gamification are great avenues to facilitate better experiences.
4 Steps To Craft A Great Mobile Journey
Koupon Media has put together an excellent analysis of an optimized mobile journey, showing how mobile offers can be leveraged throughout the loyalty journey and how mobile can continue to be leveraged to maintain ongoing connections and deliver personalized value. The following case study is inspired from their latest whitepaper.
Step 1). Pre-awareness media to encourage mobile engagement
Before the consumer is aware of the program, media such as POS or out-of-home signage can draw attention to it and encourage immediate registration on mobile devices. For example, the customer can see signage for a free cup of coffee if they text in a shortcode and register; this also provides the loyalty provider with the beginnings of a profile on the customer, which can be augmented with more data as engagement continues. At this point, the customer has taken advantage of a one-off reward; full loyalty program registration can be offered to them based on levels of ongoing engagement.
Step 2). Mobile offers can collect further data and drive more interactions
The customer, now expressing interest in further offers by means of their initial registration, can continue to receive SMS offers. These offers can help the loyalty vendor test the waters on a particular individual’s interest level, and can help collect more data. For example, if the customer that took advantage of the free coffee offer also purchases a breakfast sandwich, a personalized offer for an additional breakfast sandwich could encourage them to register additional data, such as an email address.
Step 3). Incentivizing loyalty registration
The retailer now has the opportunity to incentivize sign-up to a full loyalty scheme. Part of the offer includes the promise of personalized incentives, for which value has already been proven to the customer. At this stage, even more data can be collected, and the deeper features and experiential benefits of the program – such as gamification opportunities and augmented-reality interfaces – can be revealed, creating anticipation that will drive future loyalty.
Step 4). Maintaining loyalty with mobile
The loyalty program is now fully equipped to provide ongoing opportunities for mobile engagement. If a customer has not visited the retailer after a certain period of time, a mobile-delivered message can remind them with an offer. Mobile can also be used to connect to social profiles, for further data and top-of-mind awareness generation, and it can augment in-store behaviors (for example, members at a fashion retailer can use photo recognition technologies to review complementary styles or read reviews after snapping a picture of apparel).
The value of mobile cannot be understated, and the technology is advancing at such a pace that the opportunities for gaining a competitive edge are practically limitless. Of course, only the most innovative strategies will stand out from the competition…and only the best loyalty programs will truly integrate mobile as a seamless, authentically valuable part of the member experience.
Lanndon Lindsay is a reporter for The Wise Marketer.