In the age of mobile, loyalty is reborn
With 75% of internet use and 50% of digital commerce set to be mobile-based this year, it's clear that the breakneck pace and near universal adoption of mobile technology and smartphones around the globe is leading to a scale of change in commerce we've never seen before. Your customers are now connected to each other, their favorite brands and a wealth of information all the time – profoundly upping expectations about the quality, speed and nature of their interactions.
And, with over half of millennials calling retailers that don't communicate through mobile channels "outdated", expectation is definitely the name of the game.
In short, mobile is here, mobile is huge and there are few if any aspects of retail that can ignore it any longer. Loyalty is no exception.
Integration is key
Mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay are quickly become standard on new phones, so leading retailers understand they can't just adopt POS systems that accept mobile payments – they need to make sure their loyalty programs can be fully integrated as well.
But the challenges for loyalty aren't just about integration or even streamlining the customer experience. Digital loyalty programs have always been an effective way to say thank you and reward, retain and grow customers. Mobile doesn't change that. What it has the potential to do – and is in fact already doing – is to move the relationship away from being strictly transactional. Instead, mobile is helping match what shoppers are saying through the data to drive better decision-making on what products to carry, how to price and what to promote, delivering better personalized relevance and value for customers, and increase sales for the retailer.
Third parties offer a new approach
A variety of mobile-based loyalty start-ups – like Snap, Drop and Kiip – are also rounding out the picture with third-party apps that reward customers based on purchases, behaviors and brand interactions, offering white label solutions for large retailers that don't have the time or wherewithal to build their own programs in-house.
In the coming months and years, retailers will up the ante even further, with mobile loyalty experiences that will feature better integration of loyalty cards, promotions and rewards to customers' loyalty and retail apps. Retailers' experience will improve too, as they learn how to better marry shoppers' mobile data and loyalty to experiment with store layouts, product positioning, allocation of store staff and relevant offers direct to smartphones.
For more about growing loyalty in the age of mobile and other trends to watch in 2017, please download the LoyaltyOne 2017 Trendspotter.