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With the advent of the Apple Watch, Google Wear, Fitbit and other wearables - the trend has mainly been toward fitness. However, it may seem tempting to add these channels and devices to your loyalty program for the device geek or for your most avid customers. 

Simply adding a wearable version of your app won’t work, you must elevate the existing experience. And that’s really hard to do. 

So, here’s some brands who managed to break the mold and use wearables in a way that truly fits into the brand experience.

Delta + Clear: using your finger print to check into the lounge. 

Yes, our first example doesn’t use a device at all. The wearable is your fingerprint. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a Clear customer until I saw our managing partners skip the line into the Orlando lounge by simply using their finger print and smiling at the Delta staff. You may argue that this play is a much bigger deal for Clear (who’s target audience is the frequent traveler for whom TSA Pre isn’t even fast enough…), but for Delta - Clear is a perk of their most elite status and for lounge members - linking your Clear and Delta accounts couldn’t be easier. You also get a discount if you are any elite level and even base Delta members get a couple bucks off the annual membership.

It is important to note that this particular type of wearable and loyalty is reserved for the uber traveler - Delta’s implementation of the perk (using fingerprints) bypasses the need to have a specific app that would be downloaded and discarded by their customers who would not find value in what is being offered. 

Don’t make your guests use wearables, have your staff use them

Adding a channel for wearables doesn’t necessarily mean adding an app for your customers. Viceroy has a brilliant approach when they launched a collaboration with Samsung and hospitality software Alice to provide devices to their hotel staff. Staff will be able to respond to urgent requests and communicate more effectively while retaining the use of both of their hands. 

Loyalty is ultimately about that personal touch. No one cares if you can order room service with your Apple Watch if your toilet is busted. Samsung-Alice are ensuring that staff are there when their guests need them - well done. 

Disney Magic Bands

Few companies have a billion dollars to invest in creating their own custom wearable. But Disney does and that’s part of what it takes to create the Disney magic. Launched in 2013, the magic band has become an absolute mainstay of the Disney experience. Collectable, coveted and sharing the hype of a phone launch - Disney’s bet has completely paid off. 

Completely taking the guess work out of tickets, reservations, fast passes (Disney’s way to skip the line for rides) and the ability to pay anywhere in the park, Magic Bands truly contribute to the Magic. While Disney of course has the full suite of apps and other digital channels to support your experience, you want to use your phone for pictures - not to check in to the castle for lunch. 

So… our list of top loyalty wearable experiences involves none of the most common wearables. Given that Forrester, states the adoption of consumer wearables will grow 28% by 2022. We should probably include at least one app implementation that shows our loyal members the love. 

Starbucks' Rewards App

It’s the easy answer and we wish we had something more hipster and less mainstream to say, but Starbucks continues to nail it with their extension of their award winning, killer rewards app. Because they keep it so damn simple. 

Starbucks revolutionized loyalty when they invented a new category of mobile payment using a loyalty program. Their wearable app? It does one thing, it lets you find a store and pay. That’s it. 

In summary, don’t just add a wearables app because you have a loyalty program app. Use the multitude of tools out there to extend an incredible brand experience. 

If you want our ideas on your brand, we’d love to help. Give me a shout at [email protected] or 612.230.1452.

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