Loyalty schemes: why you should consider going digital

By Sarrah Ahmed

Which is better- a digital loyalty scheme/ loyalty app or the traditional stamp card? There is no straight forward answer, as there are a ton of factors to consider. I take you through the facts and figures to help you come to a conclusion.

'73% of smartphone users are interested in interacting with loyalty programmes'

“Woah!”… That was my first reaction after reading MOA’s article stating that ‘there are 83.1 million mobile handsets and data connections in the UK’. "That’s more than the UK population!", I shouted out. But then again, it’s not uncommon to have a work mobile and a personal mobile phone, right?

Considering it has become a universal expectation to see individuals glued to their smartphones and devices during a normal day, it should be a smart decision for marketers to either invest in digital or at least consider digital alternatives to traditional mediums.

With over 57% of UK adults using their mobile phone for internet access and 44% owning tablets, it’s a no brainer.

So lets put this in context. If we (and by we, I mean marketing folks) know that people are glued to their mobile phones and devices, why are we not doing more to either acquire or retain our customers? Especially when a report by Maritz Loyalty Marketing found that 73% of smartphone users are interested in interacting with loyalty programmes through their mobile devices.

Digital Vs traditional: which comes up trumps?

In my previous blog post, 'Loyalty Schemes: are they really worth it?', I discussed the benefits of a loyalty scheme, but an age old argument that keeps appearing is “paper card or digital app”?

I will argue ‘digital’. However, as with all solid marketing strategies, always consider your target audience. Are they digital natives or are they writing letters with feather tipped quill and ink?

Digital app VS traditional loyalty card:

Digital (loyalty app)

  • Cost effective - no printing costs
  • Complete transparency
  • More opportunities to engage
  • Data insights & purchasing behaviour

Traditional (loyalty card)

  • Easy to lose
  • Difficult to track
  • Low engagement
  • Boring

Whilst the above benefits may seem obvious, the added bonus to a digital version is access to additional communication channels including push notifications and iBeacon messaging. These quick, easy and highly cost effective methods are a great asset to include in your marketing plans. An example campaign strategy that we implemented recently for Auntie Annes UK consisted of the below steps:

Email all loyalty app users, promoting an offer (engagement)

Drive app users to Facebook (social media KPIs)

Facebook emails user with the offer (engagement)

Promote offer to all app users via a push notification (increase store footfall)

Trigger iBeacon message to app users (increase store footfall)

The above simple steps utilised a number of channels, helped hit 3 business KPIs and most importantly, increased footfall and sales.

Tips for setting up and running a digital loyalty scheme

So, how do you go about designing and introducing a digitalised loyalty scheme? I have highlighted some of the key factors to consider when migrating to digital or considering a loyalty scheme for your business:

Do your research

As with any new products, tools or incentives, always do your research first. Who else is offering digitalised loyalty schemes in your industry? What are you competing against and most importantly, do your customers want to be rewarded? A quick solution would be to host customer satisfaction surveys to determine whether a sample of your customers would appreciate regular rewards. If there is no need, then don't waste your money.

Map out the user journey

Introducing a seamless user journey will help you and your customers understand the benefit of a loyalty scheme. Before you design and develop the app, map out how you will promote the app and the benefits of it. Will you be introducing point based tracking? New content? Exclusive offers?

Integrate it with POS graphics and systems

The majority of loyalty apps require some form of till support. Whether it be graphics, QR codes or a simple tick box in your till system, it is worth considering the impact this will have, including financial and time restraints.

Track your customers

The data insight you can gain from tracking app analytics and user journey behaviour is priceless. Ensure you have analytics in place to help you plan and execute promotional campaigns. Google Analytics , AWS (Amazon Web Services) or Twitter Fabric are worth investigating.

Should your business go digital?

This article should hopefully give you some food for thought - if you would like to see some of our work or find out how we designed, delivered and promoted some of our loyalty apps then please get in touch!


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