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Loyalty Program Apps: A Winning Combination

In 2020, the headlines have been full of news about how footfall in offline locations has declined, and how online shopping will dominate from now on. Naturally, the situation isn’t quite so black and white, as both eCommerce brands and retailers face their own customer retention challenges. Luckily, smartphone apps are the gateways to revolutionizing both the online and offline shopping experience. And with a dedicated loyalty program app, you can ensure that both old and new customers will stay with you.

In this article, we’re reviewing the most important talking points from our webinar with digital agency Mito on how to meet the expectations of this new customer reality with a loyalty app.

Shopping Behavior Has Changed

More than likely the surge of interest in online shopping won’t be a permanent shift. Over time, people will start visiting their favorite retail locations again, because the rich in-store shopping experience can never be fully substituted.

Nevertheless, maintaining a solid relationship with customers has become rather challenging. People are very mindful of what they buy, spending a considerable amount of time researching the best deals on their phones. As a direct result, the likelihood of them switching to another brand — be it online or offline — is sizable.

But there’s no reason to stress out too much, because customer loyalty hasn’t disappeared: it’s only expectations that have changed. Today’s shoppers are more hygiene-conscious than ever, so retailers who support touchless interactions and strictly follow safety standards can score bonus points with them.

Not only that, but customers are gravitating towards convenience more than ever. Now brands and retailers have to be available across all channels (including online, offline, mobile, and even on social media), and they need to streamline the shopping journey.

You can learn more about new customer trends and how to engage them from our webinar with Mito.

Focusing on Mobile Is the Future

Smartphone apps are powerful tools that can be used both for customer acquisition and retention. By focusing on mobile engagement, you can check off most of the following customer expectations and business goals:

  • People can save time by browsing products on-the-go, then decide to make a purchase online or visit the store
  • A dedicated app supports the touchless initiatives of a retail business, as people can sign up, scan QR codes or even use contactless payment through the app
  • By storing a digital loyalty card on their phone, customers can easily be identified
  • Mobile-based engagement provides additional customer data, which can be used to enhance various marketing activities
  • By using gamified profiling to gather customer data, you are able to personalize the in-app experience and be more relevant for users
  • It’s also possible to trigger push notifications to customers via the app every time they’re near a store, thanks to geolocation
  • Mobile apps unlock new possibilities in terms of gamified customer experience, helping to build new habits and deepen loyalty
  • By utilizing the latest technology, such as App Clips, you can lower the barrier for app downloads, ensuring that the engagement is convenient and painless for the users
Italian luxury fashion retailer

Italian luxury fashion retailer, LuisaViaRoma, has a mobile app called MOD4, which includes features that generate recurring behavior (e.g. challenges) and build a community (e.g. a leaderboard).

Best-in-Class Loyalty Program App Features

If you’re planning to enhance your customer retention capabilities with a dedicated loyalty program application, here are some features you should definitely consider:

App Clips

Introduced not long ago by Apple, App Clips are a small part of the loyalty app that works even when the user doesn’t have your dedicated app installed on their phone. This App Clip event can be triggered with a special App Clip tag, a QR code, or an NFC tag.

How does it work? The customer enters the store or restaurant, and encounters a brochure informing them about a free reward opportunity. All they have to do is hover their phone over the mark next to the brochure, which covers the NFC tag.

After doing so, the App Clip redirects them to a Prize Wheel, which they can spin to win a small coupon, a handful of loyalty points, or even a gift. But in order to receive their benefits, customers have to enroll into the loyalty program and subsequently download the loyalty program app.

In short, App Clips give participants a little taste of the full experience without a commitment.

Digital Loyalty Cards

Let’s face it: traditional plastic cards are outdated. People tend to forget them at home or don’t bother to use them during a rushed checkout. Loyalty cards can be digitized in two ways: either through a Wallet application, or by integrating it directly into the loyalty app.

If you opt to make it a part of your loyalty app, customers have to manually open the app and navigate to the loyalty ID, which usually features a barcode. Staff members can then scan the code using a POS system, which immediately identifies the customer.

In case you go this route, you should ensure that the identifier functionality is always available, even when the user does not have an internet connection. Also, the loyalty card should also be available on the online membership page, so it can be accessed through a mobile browser if the situation calls for it.

UK-based specialty beer retailer Beer Hawk uses a digital loyalty card system. After scanning a member’s card, bartenders can give personalized beer recommendations to patrons by seeing their purchase history.

UK-based specialty beer retailer Beer Hawk uses a digital loyalty card system. After scanning a member’s card, bartenders can give personalized beer recommendations to patrons by seeing their purchase history.

Mobile Wallet

Opting to use a Mobile Wallet is far more convenient, because wallets are native applications available on all smartphone operating systems. These Wallets not only hold your digital loyalty card, but can also store coupons and event passes. And since they’re readily available on the smartphone, it’s less likely that members will forget to use them.

Another benefit of the Mobile Wallet is that it enables brands and retailers to send push notifications to the user’s phone. This can be a personalized message to subtly remind members to use the loyalty program, or a special deal that your brand has set up through offer management.

In this Customer Loyalty Demo Lab video, we showcase the capabilities of the Mobile Wallet in a store-like environment.

Designing a Loyalty Program App in Record Time

The only downside to launching a dedicated loyalty program application is that these solutions take a lot of time to build. To alleviate this issue, Antavo not only offers a robust set of APIs and a series of well-developed SDKs, but also has a pre-built collection of frequently used loyalty program features in a new app accelerator.

Using Antavo’s Mobile App Accelerator, you don’t have to design must-have loyalty program elements from the ground up. Instead, you receive a list of pre-built loyalty functions, which you can then integrate into your app with minimal effort.

The Mobile App Accelerator is a joint project between Antavo and Mito, which allows each loyalty program element to be easily personalized by Mito to fit your brand’s specific needs. Plus, new core features will be added over time, giving you even more functionalities to choose from.

With a set of out-of-the-box loyalty app elements at your fingertips, you can speed up the development process by months, allowing you to focus your development resources on other projects.

With a set of out-of-the-box loyalty app elements at your fingertips, you can speed up the development process by months, allowing you to focus your development resources on other projects.

Enter the Age of Mobile

Hopefully, we could help you see the immense possibilities in app-based loyalty programs. Remember, having your loyalty program app installed on customers’ phones means that you’ll always be just one tap away from them. And closeness is a cornerstone of loyalty.

If you’d like to read more about the Mobile App Accelerator, you can do so in Antavo’s Magic Mint Product Release. We also have an extensive ebook on loyalty program rewards, which are the core component of any reward system. And if you’re considering Antavo a loyalty program provider, feel free to issue an RFP or book a demo.

Tamas Oszi
Tamas Oszi
Tamas is a Loyalty Specialist at Antavo with a keen eye for loyalty and customer retention research and trends. He studied philosophy and has a strong background in journalism. Tamas is a true gamer at heart and has an impressive collection of cyberpunk books.