We use our smartphones for all kinds of activities nowadays from shopping to banking, so it makes sense that there’s a growing consumer demand for mobile loyalty programs. When we surveyed 1,207 U.S. consumers for the CodeBroker Mobile Loyalty Study, 43% reported that carrying cards and retrieving them at point of sale was by far the biggest hassle of existing programs, and 71% said they would be more likely to use their loyalty cards if they could access them from their mobile phones.

As you will see in the report, consumer demand for accessing loyalty programs from their smartphones is huge, but execution is vitally important if you want your mobile loyalty program to be truly irresistible to your customers. These practical tips will get you started down the right path.

1: Take an omnichannel approach – employ all mobile channels
Mobile is a platform with several channels (web, SMS/text, mobile wallet, apps). To increase acquisition and engagement, you need to make the program accessible over all these channels so you meet all customer preferences. Mobile loyalty acquisition and engagement should span text messaging, mobile apps, social media, digital wallets, email, desktops, and point of sale. Our research into consumer preferences revealed that 35% prefer text messages, 18.5% wanted a mobile app, 15% prefer Apple or Android Pay, and 31.2% gave a different answer.

Retailers also now rank omnichannel-related loyalty as very important, according to Mobile Loyalty Program Research from industry analyst EKN Research, with 60% of retailers stating that the most critical element to building a comprehensive unified personalization strategy is being able to make it work across all channels. Retailers also expect a 10% improvement in their average basket size by delivering an outstanding, customized experience across those channels.

2: Provide dynamic real-time updates
Whatever channel the customer uses, make sure that you provide them with the full range of data they require. All loyalty program features, such as rewards, coupons, points balances, certificates, redemption logs, and program details should be fully accessible, accurate and up-to-date. This provides easy, at-a-glance clarity and makes for a great user experience.

3: Don’t make customers log in
Try to make the experience as seamless and convenient as possible. Don’t require your members to log in before they can access the loyalty program. In our study, 70% of respondents 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. Quick and easy access leads to much greater engagement.

4: Offer on-demand mobile coupons
Mobile Coupons are an effective way to drive a sense of urgency in consumers. Valassis reports that 72% of consumers say they have looked for coupons or offers while in-store via their mobile device, and that figure rises to 90% for Millennials. The trick is to deliver the coupons they want, when they want them.

Traditional paper coupons typically have redemption rates as low as 2% or less, but coupons sent to customers on their mobile devices score as high as a 10% redemption rate. When the consumer responds to a direct call-to-action, such as with on-demand coupons, you can do even better, increasing your average redemption rate to the 30% to 50% range.

Access to on-demand mobile coupons is convenient for consumers and it can open the chance of further communication, which is simply impossible with paper. With on-demand coupons your customers are starting the conversation, so seize the opportunity to engage them and keep the dialogue going. Significant ROI--up to 40x--can be realized using mobile coupon engagement.

If possible, make sure that your coupons are single-use and can be tracked and validated across channels to provide end-to-end tracking of consumer behavior. Single-use coupons will also enable you to mitigate the risk of coupons going viral, which can be very important when high-value coupons are used.

5: Allow online or in-store redemption
There’s no doubt that mobile coupons can be an effective way of driving more traffic into your bricks-and-mortar stores, but it’s important to remember that many consumers prefer to shop online. For that reason, make sure that your mobile coupons can be redeemed both in-store and online. The greater the choice and convenience for consumers, the more likely they are to engage and have a positive experience.

The heart of an irresistible mobile loyalty program for consumers is convenience, clarity and ease-of-use. These tips should help you score on all fronts and increase your acquisitions and longer-term engagement.

About the Author
Dan Slavin is CEO and co-founder of CodeBroker, a provider of mobile marketing solutions. He was CEO of Framework Technologies, VP of Open Market, and CEO of International Testing Services. He earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from Yale and an MBA from Harvard. You can reach him at [email protected].

Photo credit: Andrew Itaga, Unsplash

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