Establishing loyalty from customers is what keeps retailers in business. Customer loyalty is built when a store provides high-quality products at competitive prices and offers impeccable customer service. But that's not all. Companies that fail to hook their customers emotionally by relating to their universal needs and developing products, services, and solutions that address their pain points will struggle to grow customer loyalty.
One "pain point" that has been getting a lot of attention in recent years is a lack of convenience. While this may seem like a broad complaint, a lack of convenience impacts almost every aspect of a shopper's experience. These days, customers look for immediacy, ease, and information. If a customer has a question or concern and cannot readily get in touch with customer service, their frustration could drive them straight to your competitors. When a customer places an order on your e-commerce site, but is left in the dark in terms of the shipment timeline, this will lead to a negative experience and they might not place another order with you.
Retailers and business owners who seek to alleviate this "pain point" have turned to developing mobile apps.
Apps have exploded in the last five years. What began in 1997 as an experiment launched by Nokia, i.e. the fun mobile-phone-based arcade game "Snake", took a good long while to catch on and really take off. The "Snake" app offered video-game entertainment and nothing more. However, this experimental idea inspired Nokia's competitors, like Apple, to develop their own entertaining mobile-phone-based games. Fast forward 20+ years later, and mobile apps offer so much more than entertainment. There are lifestyle apps, social media apps, news & information apps, and apps that handle an individual's day-to-day organization, including their banking, fitness, and personal calendar. Most relevant to retailers, now there are customer loyalty rewards program apps, which will be the focus of this blog post.
Launching a mobile app as part of your rewards program can strengthen customer loyalty. It's a game changer where loyalty is concerned. Let's take a look at what an app can do for your business.
INCREASE CUSTOMER RETENTION
When it comes to shopping, mobile apps offer a level of convenience that make the customer's shopping experience seamless, easy, and fast. By catering to customer needs, loyalty apps have become an essential tool to increasing customer satisfaction, which ultimately leads to customer retention. Satisfied customers are happy customers, and when happy customers gain more and more positive experiences every time they interact with a brand, they will gravitate towards shopping at that brand again and again. Because loyalty apps have the ability to capture and track each customer's shopping preferences and product favorites, retailers can offer highly personalized discounts and deals directly to their customers within the app, granting shoppers exclusive access to special sales, new arrivals, and other valuable promotions. As customers are engaged with sales incentives that speak to their needs, they will return to shop, place regular orders, and continue to benefit from every purchase by accruing rewards points. This is the definition of customer retention and utilizing a loyalty app can get you there.
IMPROVE CUSTOMER LIFETIME VALUE
One of the primary purposes of implementing a loyalty rewards program is to improve the lifetime value of a customer. Put simply, customer lifetime value, or CLV, is essentially defined as the average amount of money a customer spends at a store over the length of time that customer patronizes that store. In other words, CLV measures an individual customer's monetary value to a business over their entire life cycle of shopping at that business. Methods of improving CLV always center on incentivizing engagement so that the customer gradually increases their spending at a store. By increasing engagement and customer retention, the lifetime value of your customers will be maximized, and one of the most effective ways to accomplish this is by offering a loyalty app that's streamlined, convenient to use, and personalized to the shopper. Mobile apps provide retailers with the opportunity to leverage "deep linking", a marketing method that directs users to engage with in-app content.
Loyalty programs have been proven to increase revenue. Even an antiquated loyalty system with plastic scan cards or paper punch cards will increase sales, because customers recognize the long-term value of buying in bulk for a discount per unit, for example. Loyalty apps have the power to harness even more revenue growth than old fashioned plastic scan cards due to the fact that the user can view a snapshot of their entire account in the palm of their hand with the click of a few buttons. When customers can see how many points they've earned versus how many more rewards points they need to accrue before they can take advantage of exclusive deals, they will be far more likely to work towards spending, earning, and redeeming so that they feel like they're "winning". This advanced level of encouraging customer engagement via in-app incentives cannot fail to increase revenue.
GROW BRAND AFFINITY
Utilizing a loyalty app as part of your customer loyalty rewards program is an innovative way to grow customer affinity for your store's brand. Helping your customers to associate your brand with convenience, quality, and savings can be made easier for you as a retailer when a strong mobile app has been put in place. Your personal effort to directly grow brand affinity becomes markedly passive with the right loyalty app at work, because the app's automation will do the bulk of the heavy lifting for you when it comes to interacting with your loyal customers. While you'll always be able to get in direct touch with app users if need be, the app's intelligence is also running in the background, 24/7, and extending appropriate offers to customers in a personalized manner. This naturally leads to customer engagement, and studies show that the more a customer interacts with a brand, the greater they respect and appreciate that brand. When true brand affinity is established as a result of positive customer experiences and the building of customer trust, these satisfied customers will be all the more likely to share their positive experiences online and recommend your brand to their family, friends, and social circles, which is the best free marketing around.
CAPTURE CUSTOMER DATA
One of the greatest benefits that technology offers is personalization. Collecting user data is what enables a high degree of personalization, and we see this in action just about everywhere online. Googling a topic, for example, especially when doing so is aimed at solving a problem, often leads to the advertisements of products and services that are relevant to that topic. The search engine Google is able to do this because the platform is constantly capturing user search histories and compiling data, which can then be leveraged. This kind of targeted advertising yields far greater results, which is why even social media platforms function this way in their effort to channel specific ads to specific demographics. This very technological landscape also exists within loyalty program apps. These mobile apps have the intelligence to capture customer data as the loyalty members browse and shop. As it does, it can recommend related products and tailor its promotional efforts to each unique member. Loyalty members are more likely to act on deals that are relevant to their interests, favorites, and preferences. This makes the app a powerful marketing tool that is always at work for you.
DIRECTLY CONTACT CUSTOMERS
Being able to communicate directly with your customers in real-time is priceless and mobile apps empower retailers with the ability to do precisely that. Emails can be ignored or worse, get delivered to the customer's spam folder. While emailing loyalty promotions is still a worthwhile marketing strategy, the push notifications and SMS text message capabilities that come with a loyalty app are superior when managed correctly. Setting up the content, schedule, and frequency of these direct communications via push notifications and SMS text messages is simpler than you might think and is a powerful tactic to deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time. With loyalty apps, retailers can now configure their targeted promotions to automatically deploy directly to their customers' smartphones once triggers and parameters are set up. For example, you can contact a loyalty member with an automatically generated follow-up notification asking them to leave an online review if they're enjoying the products that were recently shipped. Taking advantage of the communication capabilities that loyalty apps offer can only serve to strengthen customer loyalty.
Offering your loyalty members a mobile app as part of your customer loyalty rewards program is an effective way to grow your business, increase customer retention, strengthen relationships, and even market your brand. You can trigger instant incentives, structure tier-based rewards, deploy location-based push notifications, and integrate the checkout redemption process to further incentivize purchasing, and that's just the start of what you'll be able to do with the right loyalty program app in place. Loyal~n~Save, a premium customer loyalty rewards program, comes with a fully-customizable loyalty app designed to increase customer engagement, retention, and sales. Our custom app is easy to download and can create ample marketing opportunities for your business. If you'd like to learn about our loyalty technologies & software and how our mobile app provides the best digital marketing platform available today, be sure to Contact Us today.
This article was written by Loyal-n-Save, an omni-channel customer loyalty solution for retailers looking to increase customer retention and new customer acquisition.