Mobile loyalty applications are becoming a more common sight on UK high streets. With over 145,000 independent retailers in the UK, the scope to develop a mobile method of customer engagement is immense. However, regardless of which provider a retailer chooses, the success of any mobile scheme is simple, customer awareness.
Here we look at the 3 main approaches taken by retailers towards a mobile loyalty scheme and reviews the contrasting success on their businesses.
The Passive Participant: some retailers will explore new methods of marketing in a bid to improve their sales. Customers are expected to come flooding through the door of this business simply because there is now a mobile loyalty or reward scheme in place. Unfortunately however, the new customers do not appear. Existing customers are often forgotten about as a result of targeting new business and the ultimate loser is the retailer. They have invested in a new mobile loyalty tool but are not seeing the results.
The Moderate Displayer: This retailer will have signed up and probably shared the exciting news on Twitter, Facebook and other social accounts. Table top and POS marketing material are displayed somewhat prominently in-store. From these efforts such retailers hope to see the fruits of their labour pay off. Again, the returns are mild. Perhaps 2% of existing customers might enquire about the new service. Some might view or absorb the display marketing material but without a distinct call to action, the message is forgotten as quickly as the coffee cools.
The Aggressive Promoter: Finally we have the retailer who goes all out! Immediately after signing up they Tweet, post on Facebook and plaster everywhere possible that they are participating in a mobile scheme They repeat this on a weekly basis incase some of their followers or fans have missed it the first 3 times around. Marketing material is displayed in a prominent position in store with strong calls to action to download the application and start being rewarded. When a reward is earned by a customer the retailer posts this immediately on Facebook/Twitter. Staff working behind the tills are trained and motivated to promote the new loyalty scheme, so when a customer comes to buy a coffee they are greeted with: “have you downloaded our loyalty app”. The retailer’s website advertises a logo of the new loyalty provider enhancing (albeit mildly) the search rankings of the retailer and provider.
Conclusion: as obvious as it may seem, the results to retailers adopting Approach 3 are significantly stronger than Approach 1. Marketers and loyalty providers have done well to dispel the myth that a loyalty reward programme is detrimental to a business’ bottom line yet still not enough business owners have caught on that by aggressively promoting their loyalty programme they are causing a direct benefit to their business. No retailer is “too small” to engage in direct marketing, social media community growth strategies and location based advertising…especially if the cost of doing so is marginal!
So then its fair to say that in such tough economic climates, the cost of shunning new and innovative means of driving customer loyalty, new business and customer engagement will be felt by the business itself!