Are You Losing Sales By Not Offering a Mobile Rewards Program?

Mobile-based rewards programs are incredibly popular right now. While people always love a bargain, the new economic reality is that consumers are now utilizing cost savings techniques like loyalty programs with greater and greater frequency.

Mobile rewards programs have exploded in popularity.According to Colloquy, U.S. consumers alone have over 3.3 billion memberships in customer loyalty programs, which is a sizable 26% increase over their last survey in 2013. In fact, according to their research the average American family has memberships in 29 loyalty programs.

Customers have come to expect loyalty offers from brands and may leave one to go to another that offers one.

Along with the overall growth of loyalty programs, mobile rewards programs have exploded in popularity and are expected to continue to do so. According to Forrester Research, consumers rank rewards high as a important element of mobile shopping. In fact, Forrester’s data showed 76% of consumers were interested in utilizing loyalty program points and rewards in a mobile digital wallet.

Choosing a mobile application developer that understand key touch-points with mobile loyalty programs can be helpful. As part of your mobile rewards strategy that you develop and implement with your iPhone application developer and Android application developer, make sure that you pay attention to how customers respond and optimize your program to meet your customer’s needs. With rewards programs its best not to take a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach but to tailor your program to your customer’s behavior and preferences.

What can a mobile loyalty program do for your business?

According to Harvard Business Review, loyalty programs can do 5 things for brands:

1. Keep customers from defecting
2. Win greater share of wallet
3. Prompt customers to make additional purchases
4. Yield insight into customer behavior and preferences
5. Turn a profit

How effective can rewards programs be?

When Kohl’s recently reviewed the effectiveness of their loyalty program they determined loyalty customers, made two extra trips to the store and spent $80 more per year. Keep in mind, as with everything in business, loyalty programs are not always successful. Building the right program and rewarding the right behaviors are critical for success.

The Small Business Administration blog gives this advice when it comes to loyalty programs, “Reward loyalty with some class. Freebies don’t always appeal to all and they can even de-value your services.” Furthermore suggesting,  “Experiential rewards are always popular. For example, a hair salon could offer a monthly workshop that offers free makeover tips to loyal customers. These experiences add value to your customers’ lives, build community, help your business stand out and give customers reason to keep coming back.”

What are the key elements of a successful mobile rewards program?

Analytics & Data

To create a successful mobile loyalty program you will need to understand your customers. Make sure you plan ahead to make data available so you can review if your loyalty program is properly engaging your target audience. Data and analytics will also help you be able to personalize the experience for each customer over time.

Personalize the Experience

The more data you capture, the better you can target and customize the experience for each of your users. Personalization is important in building effective mobile user experiences and it is not different with mobile rewards programs. Personalization helps build loyalty and engagement. Data will help you optimize each user’s experience to their preferences.

Rewards & Exclusive Offers

Make sure you reward customers for the appropriate behaviors. Leverage their mobile device to track their shopping behavior, such as purchases, and offer rewards based on that behavior.  Exclusive offers are also a powerful part of several strong loyalty programs as several retailers offer loyal customers priority access to exclusive products, offers and sales.

Customer Engagement

Utilizing tools such as push notifications have shown to increase response rates by up to 300%.  Other contact methods such as e-mail and SMS can also play an important role in your customer engagement strategy. A key part of loyalty programs is re-engaging customers, doing so with a sense of urgency can be powerful so don’t be afraid to try time sensitive offers.

Leverage in-store experiences

Many successful mobile rewards programs link loyalty to in-store experiences by offering product information and more. The future of retails involves improving in-store experience with powerful mobile applications that can improve the shopping experiences for you customers.

Photo: Omar Jordan Fawahl (Flikr)

Adapt Your Marketing to The Mobile Age

Since the shift from PCs to smart phones and now wearable devices, marketing and advertising has been turned on its head.

Consumers are now in the drivers seat and can determine when and where they want to hear from brands. Consumers have come to expect things to happen right now in a personalized fashion.

Consumer's mobile behavior is also pushing businesses and mobile application developers to be more innovative. And as a result, companies must learn how to create multi-channel customer communications that address these changes. While this potentially creates creative challenges for businesses it also creates the opportunity to connect with consumers on a whole new level.

Consumer’s mobile behavior is also pushing businesses and mobile application developers to be increasingly more innovative to improve user experiences.

Beyond what your customer’s experience, they are creating an unprecedented amount of data. This data is available to be collected and analyzed  if your business chooses to do so. The opportunity exists to even do so in  real time, giving your marketing team the option to deliver the right message to the right person on the right device at precisely the right time.

In the past business wasn’t able to turn on a dime when it came to marketing and advertising but in today’s world real-time content creation and publishing are the norm. Modern interfaces allow business users  intuitive tools to publish content from multiple internal sources across a variety channels.

With the additional requirements of developing messaging for multiple channels, many businesses have found relief by being able to outsource whenever possible. In the modern economic paradigm, tasks that can be outsourced, must be. Often as content is being carefully targeted it is harder to produce externally, which leaves creation of tech and the systems as perfect opportunities for outsourcing to iPhone application developers and Android application developers. This frees your internal resources to have laser like focus on the items that require the deep levels of customer understanding, while you can outsource items that require technical mastery to companies that have the resources to complete the tasks.

This helps your marketing staff remain free from being distracted by technical issues.  Marketers thrive in this environment free of unnecessary tasks, where they are able to leverage technology.

Photo: Luke Ma (Flikr)

Make Sure Your Business Is Mobile Friendly

While you may or may not have heard that Google will begin incorporating data on whether a site is mobile friendly or not into its ranking algorithm this April, there are several reasons that your business should make sure it has a mobile friendly presence and your search ranking is just one of them.

Make sure your business is mobile friendlyIn a recent poll conducted by Edelman, it was indicated that online search engines are considered to be the most-trusted media source. Based on their data,  64% of internet users worldwide consider online search engines the most trusted source for information. Make sure that your business is in a position to capitalize on that trust by having a mobile friendly web site.

If you don’t think mobile searches are significant, think again.  In a recent comScore report, it was reported that smartphones and tablets now account for 6o% of all online traffic. Additionally it has been shown in a separate study that a higher percentage of mobile searches result in purchases that with traditional searches (comScore). You want to makes sure that this high quality traffic is finding your business.

This just applies to restaurants and retail outlets, according to eMarketer it is a similar situation when it comes to business information. Where search engines remain the most popular source of information (31% of respondents, while only 20% turn to newspapers).

There are many fine mobile web site developers that can help you with your project but you should also consider how mobile applications fit into the picture and how they can benefit your business.

A mobile application developer can help you develop an application that fits your business needs but keep in mind how it will benefit your online search strategy as well. Mobile app listings are given high importance in Google’s ranking algorithm so having mobile applications can place you very favorably when it comes to mobile search. Additionally having a mobile application has been shown to affect your businesses’ search ranking beyond just your application’s search position.

Beyond mobile’s affect on your search position customers have come to expect mobile optimized web sites and mobile applications from businesses and you might be turning customers away if you are not providing these to your customers.  Since June 2013 more than half of the time spent shopping online has been done via mobile device [Internet Retailer]. Savvy shoppers are familiar with good mobile user experiences and have come to expect them.

Image: Ulf Bodin (Flickr)