New Study Shows Marketers How to Create More Engaging Loyalty Programs

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

market-research-trendsIn an increasingly competitive and global marketplace, keeping customers happy and turning them into return shoppers is essential to the success of most businesses. As has been shown by several recent studies, loyalty programs are an effective way to build a stronger rapport with customers. However, not all loyalty programs are created equally, a recent study shows that loyalty programs with mobile functionality outperform their non-mobile counterparts.

A recent study from 3Cinteractive focused on the way consumers engage with loyalty programs and how they affect the brands who use these programs. To start with one of the positives from the study, it appears that loyalty programs remain popular with customers and people are still willing to sign up for new programs. The study found that overall, loyalty programs saw a steady growth over the past year, with nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of brands reporting an increase in member numbers.

This new data from 3Cinteractive also showed that three out of five (62 percent) consumers are influenced to buy when loyalty programs have mobile functionality. This statistic makes sense when you consider that most people have smartphones and that it’s relatively easy for a company to get an app created to handle the program.

It’s easier for customers to take advantage of their loyalty program points when they’re right on their phone. Since consumers will be more likely to use their points when they can be accessed through the phone, they will be more active in getting new points (i.e. shopping for items). Using their loyalty rewards makes customers like the brand more. In other words, adding mobile functionality makes loyalty programs perform better in every way.

“We saw distinct evidence last year that brands should be more aggressive in their march toward offering mobile-enabled loyalty programs, and we see even more reason to do so in this year’s report,” said Margie Kupfer, VP of Marketing at 3Cinteractive. “It’s clear that brands without the willingness and needed skillsets to build these programs will see a significant competitive disadvantage going forward. Consumers today expect a seamless online to offline experience and to use their loyalty benefits via their smartphone.”

The 3Cinteractive report also offered some tips on how business owners and marketers can make their loyalty programs more appealing to potential new members. Getting people to sign up for a program can be one of the hardest parts and that is shown in the data. According to the study,  62 percent of consumers are turned off by program sign-ups that require too much information.

Similarly, the study found that 66 percent of consumers want mobile sign-ups to be simpler. It’s understandable that business owners want to get as much data as possible from their new members. However,  just like any other form, the longer the process, the lower the number of people who willingly complete it.

The study also offered data that suggests programs that rely on text messages were declining in popularity. Just over one in four (27 percent) of brands are currently using SMS for loyalty program communications. It makes sense to maintain an SMS option if customer continue to choose it. But since emails and apps are more conventional, businesses should want to focus on those options more.

This is just one of several recent studies about loyalty programs and mobile marketing. To read more about recent data, read this article on the need to update small business websites.

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