Few retailers would argue against the importance of supporting multiple devices and resolutions for eCommerce. Which customers use your site more than ever? Your loyal, repeat customers. If you're one of the many retailers that offer a customer loyalty program, you need to make sure that your loyalty program is where your loyal customers are.
Examples such as Starbucks Rewards and Sephora's To Go Apps have already shown that a loyalty program done well on mobile devices can be engaging and profitable. Here are five tips for your loyalty program on mobile:
Tip 1: Mobile Referrals Should Use…Mobiles!
This tip is a great way to bring your brand's presence into more offline conversations. Recommendations are the most trusted source of consumer advertising, according to a 2013 study by Nielson.
While a lot of your referrals will happen via email and social, don't discount good old fashioned word of mouth. When your brand advocates are having conversations with friends, allow them to refer their friends using - you guessed it - their phone!
Customers can use their phone to pass a referral url via QR code, NFC, or SMS. Make sure your referral urls are SMS friendly. If a referral signs up or purchases, reward customers with loyalty points or exclusive offers. This is a great way to grow your customer base with your existing customers.
Tip 2: Millenials Need to See Points
If your customers are millennials, make sure that you show them how many loyalty points they can earn for purchasing a product. In a June 2014 study posted on eMarketer, researchers found that 68% of millennials (20-34 year olds) said that they would change where they shopped if it meant getting more loyalty program rewards.
If your key demographic is millenials, you need to show them how many points they can earn for purchasing your products.
Tip 3: Use Push Messages to Create Exclusivity
When done right, push messages are a great way to create relevant offers. When done wrong they're annoying and lead to consumer remorse. A great way to use push messaging with your loyalty program is to create exclusivity around who is allowed to receive push messages.
We've seen a few retailers have success by combining push messaging with a tiered loyalty program. Customers are put into "levels" or "tiers" (like bronze, silver, and gold). Starbucks does a great job of combining mobile with their tiered loyalty program.
Only allow top tier customers to be the first to receive push notifications about big sales, specials, or events. This will create a lot of exclusivity. Top customers will feel like they're a part of a special, elite club, and regular customers will want to become top tier customers.
Tip 4: Train customers to access loyalty content
Mobile means that screen estate is rare, and extremely valuable. On desktops there is much more space for additional content, like loyalty images and text. Retailers have enough difficulties trying to squeeze product information on a mobile sites as it is, even more so when trying to include bonus loyalty content.
A great way to avoid this problem is to "train" your loyal customers how to navigate to loyalty content. You should have a dedicated rewards page that customers can navigate to using the main navigation and/or footer. Customers will become accustomed to this on desktop, and will follow the same navigation when on mobile.
This way you won't rely space-consuming banner images and text links on your product pages to show customers important loyalty information.
Tip 5: Notify Customers of Point Earnings via Email
When a customer is using their desktop, its easy to show them on-page content when they are rewarded with loyalty points via on-screen images, text, or occasionally a pop up modal. With mobile, this is a bit more complicated.
Try notifying customers via email as well, especially when they are browsing on a mobile device. Not only does this give them further positive re-enforcement for performing valuable actions (like purchasing or writing a product review), it also serves as a reminder in their inbox to come back to the store and spend their loyalty points.
Make sure your loyalty point earning emails contain a next step such as referring friends to earn more points, and you'll have a program that continually engages users regardless of what device they're on.
Since your best, most loyal customers are visiting your site more than any others, it makes sense that loyalty and mobile devices go hand-in-hand. Just looking at retailers like Starbucks and Sephora shows that having a mobile aspect to a loyalty program can be a huge win for customers and retailers.
Steve Deckert has run an eCommerce business, been involved in eCommerce consulting, and is now a cofounder of Sweet Tooth, a loyalty app for eCommerce stores. Sweet Tooth has created over 3,500 loyalty programs in over 40 countries, and has rewarded over 15 million happy customers.
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