Loyalty apps or how to boost customer loyalty
If we could use only one word to describe today’s global market, we’d pick the word ‘competition’. As the vast majority of middle-sized and big companies have presence online and recent innovations in logistics make it possible to deliver anything and anywhere in a fraction of time, boundaries no longer exist. At least in the conventional sense of this word. Businesses have gone global, which means more choice for customers and greater competition for companies. Under the circumstances, it comes as no surprise that business owners are ready to do whatever it takes to attract and retain their clients.
It is projected that this year will generate more Internet traffic than all previous years combined (everyday Google processes over 2.9 billion of search queries). People want to spend their money on products and services, and the Internet helps them decide which company to send their ‘paycheck’ to. There are around 24 million online shops around the world which translates into 24 million options for customers to choose from. With such a big competition, loyalty appears to be the only saving grace for businesses of all fields and sizes. In light of this, we decided to discuss how mobile apps can help companies improve the loyalty of customers.
Loyalty Apps: What Are They?
Although the term ‘loyalty apps’ is pretty self-explanatory, it still makes sense to briefly explain what exactly should be understood by this. Generally speaking, loyalty apps are mobile applications that help companies retain their customers by collecting customer data and delivering special deals and offers to match their specific needs.
Basically, loyalty apps are designed to help companies better understand the needs of their customers and exceed their expectations (and convert customers into brand advocates). Traditionally, this was a part of a marketer’s job, but mobile apps bring new quality to loyalty programs and become one of the best tools for marketers.
Top 10 Loyalty Apps on the Market
Available for both iOS and Android users, Shopkick is one of the greatest loyalty apps on the market. It is essentially a system of rewards and deals designed to encourage customers’ loyalty and turn them into brand evangelists. Here’s how it works for customers. Customers open an app while being out and about their shopping runs and scan products into stores that participate in the program. Scanning products lets them know how much kicks they can earn from purchasing a particular good. Later on, they can exchange these kicks for free cards to their favorite stores or chain restaurants like Starbucks, Walmart, Best Buy or other. Companies, in their turn, can participate in Shoplick program by offering their free cards or kicks for their products.
Yet another loyalty app that deserves to be put on the list is Belly. As the app owners have so beautifully put it, Belly is for getting rewards we want at the places we love. The way it works is simple. All one needs to use Belly is to download it from the App Store or Google Play, earn points each time he or she visits favorite places, and redeem these points later for different types of rewards. One of the biggest perks of this loyalty app is that it works with Apple Watch and Passbook. At the moment, the app is only available in a number of major cities around the US and Canada.
Yet another example of a quality loyalty app is LevelUp. Unlike other loyalty apps that work primarily on bonuses & rewards basis, the approach of this one is different. The idea behind LevelUp is to boost customers’ loyalty by improving their experience in favorite coffee shops, restaurants, and lunch spots. Thanks to LevelUp, customers can save time on waiting in lines to order a cup of coffee or a favorite salad to go. LevelUp makes it possible to order your favorites in a single tap and make an ‘order ahead’ to skip the line. Restaurants and cafes can gain benefits from partnering with LevelUp, as the service is likely to improve customers’ experience greatly hence improve their loyalty. The app can be found on the AppStore and Google Play.
While most of the people believe that Foursquare is more of a city guide, it is, in fact, one of the greatest loyalty apps out there. Since people can discover new places and follow other people’s recommendations on dining or entertainment options, companies can win new customers or get the loyalty of old ones by taking care of their profiles on Foursquare. Speaking of customer retention, businesses can use Foursquare to get reviews and ratings in exchange for gift cards, bonuses, or free cups of coffee/appetizers/glasses of wine. Foursquare is available on the App Store and Google Play and now is actively used across the US and Europe.
One more example of a killer loyalty app is SpotOn. Thanks to this app, customers can get rewards at their favorite local businesses when buying coffee or paying for an oil change. This app eliminates the need for hardware loyalty cards, as all the points and rewards can be collected online through SpotOn. Inside of this app, users can find local business nearby, get notifications about new deals and offers, as well as track their reward progress at multiple locations. Companies, in turn, can gain the loyalty of customers by placing their offers and rewards on SpotOn. The app can be found both on the AppStore or Google Play and downloaded for free.
One of the most global loyalty apps out there, PunchCard is an app of choice for more than 15 million retailers in the US. Thanks to this app, customers can get rewarded by shopping at any grocery store, gas station, or retailer around the country. The way it works is a living proof of the fact that the future is near. To get rewards, users should take pictures of their receipts via Punchcard app. Each transaction is a chance to get points and win prizes. With PunchCard, users can win rewards in multiple ways from trading points in for gift cards to getting sponsored rewards from brands. The app covers the US only and can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play for free.
One of the simplest and greatest loyalty apps out there, Perka makes it increasingly simple to collect points and earn perks by purchasing at your favorite business. Inside of this app, users can search participating spots nearby, introduce themselves, and collect points to get rewards. By simply mentioning their first name when making a purchase, users of Perka can collect points and use them later for cash back or free gifts. No scanning of QR codes or typing info at the counter is needed. The app can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play for free.
Chances are that when you hear Starbucks app you think of a coffee app. However, it turns out that Starbucks is commonly referred to as one of the greatest loyalty apps on the market. It’s proven to be a success in terms of customers engagement and retention. By simply downloading an app and registering a credit card, one can get starts each time he or she makes a purchase. As soon as five stars are collected, one can ask for a free coffee refill. Thirty starts equal a golden reward level when customers can ask for personalized member cards with their names on them. With a golden status, customers can get a free drink for each 12 starts and enjoy free drinks on their Birthday. Have you heard of a better loyalty app? The app is available on the App Store and Google Play.
Available for both iOS and Android users, FiveStars is an app for collecting rewards and bonuses by purchasing from local businesses. Thanks to this app, users can earn freebies or discounts from their favorite brands. At the same time, this loyalty app is a great way for small businesses to drive repeat purchases from customers and build a solid customer base over time.
The last but not the least loyalty app on the list, Spring Rewards is one of the customer’s favorites. Available for both iOS and Android users, this app is a good way to save money while shopping at local spots. All it takes to take advantage of Spring Rewards is to connect a credit card to the system and start paying for goods and services with this card. This is essentially a cash-back system meant to help companies build loyalty and reward loyal customers with bonuses and gift cards. Not even to mention Spring Rewards can be used to instantly discover cash-in-friendly place nearby and track the rewards progress.
Features a Good Loyalty App Should Include
In the light of all said above, it becomes clear that a good loyalty app is the one packed with cool features to suit the needs of both customers and companies. Here’s the list of the most important ones:
- QR Code and Receipt scanning to make it easier for users to track their activity
- Push notifications on new special offers and best deals
- Synchronization with Apple Watch and Passbook
- Ability to attach a credit card for easier usage
- Access to rewards history
If you decide to build a loyalty app for your business, keep in mind that security of your customer’s personal information should be the biggest priority. Hire the most professional mobile app developers you can find to ensure there won’t be any problem and your app will become a huge success over time.