Simplicity is a buzzword in the loyalty industry that will never go away, especially today when consumers have countless options and offers that can be accessed in a matter of minutes.
 
Mobile loyalty programs are attractive to consumers, but they become more enticing if the process attached to them is straightforward and, yes, simple.
 
Loyalty360 talked to CodeBroker CEO Dan Slavin about mobile loyalty and engagement.
 
Can you talk about the importance of mobile customer loyalty registration and engagement?
Slavin: If you’re delivering rewards, loyalty cards, or coupons as part of a mobile loyalty program, then make it easy for your members to access them easily. We learned from conducting a mobile loyalty survey that 70 percent of consumers said they would use a mobile version of their loyalty program if they didn’t have to sign in to a website or download an app. The vast majority of survey respondents also said they would be more likely to participate in programs and redeem rewards and offers if they could access them from their mobile phones. And if they signed up to join a program using their phones, they’ll certainly want to engage with it that way as well.
 
What are some of your tips for brands to strengthen their loyalty programs via mobile?
Slavin: Some brands believe developing a mobile app is the key to loyalty success. But a mobile app represents only one communication channel, and the beauty of mobile is that it offers several distinct channels. A channel that works for one person may not work for another, as every person has their preferred way to interact with programs.
Loyalty marketers need the ability to invite each consumer to enroll in the loyalty program, and to access the program benefits via that person’s preferred channel—whether it’s a mobile app or text message or Facebook. An omnichannel approach to acquisition and engagement employs the full range of mobile channels—text message, mobile app, social, digital wallet, email—to give consumers a way to join the program in a meaningful way. Once they join, marketers can keep each member engaged over time by making it easy to access, and participate in, the program via that individual consumer’s preferred channel(s).
 
What can brands do to attract Millennials? 
Slavin: Brands can more effectively attract millennials to their loyalty programs by giving them program access from their smartphones or other mobile devices—via their preferred mobile channel. According to recent research conducted by CodeBroker, 83 percent of millennials state that they would be more likely to actively engage with loyalty programs if they could do so from their mobile phones. The problem, according to the research, is that more than one-third of respondents say that they can’t access programs easily from their phones, and another one-third indicate having to download and use a mobile app as a top frustration.
 
How do Millennials want to access loyalty programs from their smartphones?
Slavin: According to the research, 34 percent of millennials want to access their rewards info (points, balance, redemption info, etc.) from their phones via a text link. They can, for example, text the word “loyalty” and receive a link to their information. The mobile app is second, with 29 percent, followed by mobile wallet at 20 percent.
The lesson: To attract millennials, brands must offer loyalty program access from smartphones over a range of channels.
 
How can brands spark member engagement? 
Slavin: Member engagement starts with giving consumers a way to join a loyalty program in the way that works best for them. Hands-down, for most people, this means via their smartphones. Once they join, marketers can keep each member engaged over time by making it easy to access the program via their phones. That said, you want to give members access to all loyalty program features—rewards, card, points balance, certificates, rewards redemption and program details via their preferred channel—whether that’s SMS, mobile app, mobile wallet, or Facebook. Give customers the choice.
 
What is being done well in this area by brands, and where do the challenges lie?
Slavin: Many brands have taken a good first step by either making their program available on the mobile web or via a mobile app. In speaking regularly with loyalty marketers, four specific challenges often rise to the top, all of which can actually be addressed by taking an omnichannel approach to mobile loyalty:
 
1.        Acquiring mobile loyalty members quickly and at scale.
2.        Getting members to more actively engage with the program.
3.        Using the right contact strategy for each member.
4.        Attracting millennials and younger consumers.
 
The issue is that consumers expect to be marketed to on their terms. With an omnichannel strategy, marketers can employ the customer-centric approach that is required to succeed with today’s mobile consumers.

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