Mobile Payments, Loyalty Programs and Your App

 

Brand agnostic consumers to loyalist customes.

Loyalty programs are nothing new. 46% of consumers consider loyalty benefits when planning their purchases. What is new is the unprecedented ability to connect with your consumers at the point of sale using mobile to drive loyalty participation, engagement and ultimately, increase sales.

According to mobile analytics firm Flurry, shopping app usage grew faster than any other category of apps. Sessions on shopping apps on iOS and Android devices increased by 174% YOY, including 220% on Android alone, a 77% increase from last year.

Now is the time for retailers to combine loyalty programs and mobile shopping apps to create in-hand brand experiences at the point of sale.

Mobile is eating the world 

iOS and Android device adoption has surpassed any consumer technology in history. And with 75% of US customers using smartphones, mobile is devouring the market. If your brand has a loyalty program, creating an app or integrating that program into your existing app is key to engaging and retaining customers in the cluttered and crowded marketplace.

But have customers adopted mobile apps for personalized offers and loyalty programs? Key Ring, a loyalty service owned by Gannett, offers consumers the ability to scan and access all of their loyalty programs through a single app. The result: 10 million downloads and 4.5 stars with over 17 thousand reviews.

Schlotzsky’s Lotz 4 Me loyalty app had 60,000 downloads in the first three and a half weeks after its June, 2014 launch. With 11,000 downloads on its first day, Lotz 4 Me reached fourth on the App Store restaurant charts.

Mobile payment and loyalty programs

With the introduction of Apple Pay and advances in Google Wallet and other mobile payment solutions, Forrester predicts the U.S. mobile payments will grow from $52 billion in 2014 to $142 billion by 2019.

One of the biggest opportunities for brands will be the integration of loyalty programs with mobile payment systems. Mobile payment have already been proven with the staggeringly successful Starbucks mobile payment app. Mobile payment accounts for 15% (or $1.5 billion) of Starbucks’ revenue, and a large part of the appeal for consumers is not only the ease of mobile payment but the seamless integration with their loyalty program – everything completed with one scan of the phone.

Other restaurants have begun to offer similar combined payment and loyalty programs including Dunkin’ Donuts and Tim Horton. With Apple Pay, marketers now have increased opportunities to integrate mobile payment and loyalty programs due to the integration with Passbook, which can easily store loyalty program information.

Location, location, location

Traditional loyalty programs only engage customers when they remember to use the card. But mobile loyalty programs are location aware and able to push notifications to customers when they approach a store. Add iBeacons and the customer retention possibilities are limitless.

Comparing the 2014 holiday shopping season with 2013 makes it even more clear that retailers are hopping on the location bandwagon. Retailers sent 34% more push notifications in 2014, and consumers’ engagement rate with push notifications doubled compared to the 2013 holiday season. Altogether, more than one-third of all retail app opens were the result of a push notification.

Compared to email, push notifications have 50% higher open rates, ten times higher click-through rates and even 1200% greater conversion rates.

Personalization

A smartphone is the one device a customer always has on them. The ubiquity of these devices offer brands and marketers a unique opportunity to communicate, engage and deliver real value to their customers in an entirely new way.

Retailers are combining shopper behavior and mobile app usage data to create personalized offers and messaging which can be tailored to customers’ spending habits, location, offer preferences, sharing behavior and more. These increase engagement and ultimately, drive sales.

For example, Banana Republic’s (along with Gap’s, Old Navy’s, Piperlime’s and Athleta’s) app allows users to access their Wish Lists, Order Status, Perks and Offers and Store Credit Card. This gives brands an invaluable direct line to those customers and to the information provided by the usage of the mobile app – information that can be used to add something as simple as a birthday reward to the mobile app for easy redemption.

By combining loyalty program and mobile payment to your app, brands can now offer consumers more personalized communications, in the palm of their hand at exactly the right time.

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