This is a guest post by Anita Brady, the President of 123Print.
Loyalty apps reward your customers for returning to, and spreading the word about, your online business. Though the phrase is a product of the ever-growing web lexicon, most people are actually pretty familiar with “loyalty apps.”
Just think of the last time you stopped at a convenience store or grocery and used your customer card to receive in-store discounts, or accumulated enough points on your key chain card to get a special discount at your favorite clothing store. These are examples of loyalty apps. In exchange for shopping regularly with a store, you receive a variety of benefits. The same goes for the online evolution of those plastic rewards cards.
Loyalty apps don’t just stop with members-only discounts, however. More and more, online retailers are offering a variety of rewards that encourage customers to continue shopping with them.
Here are the three ways apps are getting more creative about offering ways to build loyalty for your brand:
1. Earn Points
Point collection is quickly becoming a popular way for mobile apps to encouraging return business, especially with younger generations. It’s an excellent way to reward regular customers, often for doing what they’re already doing. Not only does point collection encourage them to do these things more often–sign in to your website or share one of your new sale items–it helps you gather important information about customer trends.
- Apps such as Punch Tab reward users for re-posting information, sales and purchases on Facebook with points for earning discounts and icons called “badges.”
- Perkville allows participants to accumulate points to receive customized in-store rewards.
2. Go (Loyalty) Cardless
If your wallet is starting to feel the weight of an excess number of store-specific rewards cards, there are apps out there that let you put them all in one place.
- FidMe allows cardholders to put all their reward cards on their phones and use them without being on a network. This app also allows users to download virtual reward cards and use them either while in-store shopping or shopping online.
- TagTile allows shop owners to install a physical “cube” at their checkout counter that lets customers tap their smartphone to it and receive points and/or rewards for purchases. Facebook bought TagTile in April, and although they’re still serving existing customers, it remains to be seen how (and if) they’ll grow from here.
3. Get Instant Wins
Instant gratification will always be a crowd pleaser, so if your customers are more inclined toward immediate rewards rather than earning points, there are several apps that allow for distributing both online and in-store prizes.
- FrontFlip, for example, lets shop owners create scan-able QR codes that can be handed to in-store customers or distributed online. When the customer scans the code with their smartphone, they earn a prize: anything from $2 off their purchase to a free entrée on their next visit, 25% off their next purchase, or whatever prizes the business owner wants to offer.
- The app ShopKick offers a similar reward system, often with special promotions for small and medium-sized businesses.
- Foursquare Mobile Loyalty allows businesses to offer rewards to customers when they “check in” at their location.
Regardless of the approach you choose for your business, loyalty apps are an excellent way to encourage current customers to increase their visits to your online, and brick-and-mortar, store, and to drive in new customers through rewards and user recommendations.
About the Author
Industry veteran Anita Brady is the President of www.123print.com, a leading provider of high quality customizable items like business cards, letterhead and other materials for small businesses and solo practitioners.