Mobile apps may provide twice as many customer retention opportunities and three times more conversions than mobile websites. This is why web to app conversion is a priority for brands.
To win users’ interest, brands create powerful marketing strategies, develop engaging app designs, and polish apps to avoid bugs. A well-designed application is crucial for a brand’s reputation, but it isn’t enough to win user loyalty. What can you do to ensure users are loyal to your brand and download your mobile app? In this article, we share three strategies.
Strategy №1. Reward users for interacting with your application
This strategy includes rewarding users for performing certain actions in your application and is great for building brand loyalty based on achievement and competition.
For instance, letting customers earn points within a branded mobile app encourages loyalty to your product or service. Points can be used as in-app currency that can be collected and exchanged for personalized rewards. Let’s now turn our attention to some of the most popular types of successful loyalty program examples.
Starbucks uses stars as a point reward system. When users earn enough stars, they get a free drink. To earn stars, users must pay with a registered (physical) Starbucks card or with a Starbucks card registered in the Starbucks mobile app. By rewarding frequent customers and letting users send gifts to friends via email, the Starbucks mobile app loyalty offers great customer service.
Recently, Starbucks President and CEO Kevin Johnson announced the continued momentum of the Starbucks mobile app rewards program in the company’s earnings call. During the second quarter of 2019, Starbucks expanded its active member base by half a million (a 13 percent increase), bringing the ranks of its active mobile app rewards members to 16.8 million.
This UK-based online retail market ran an online A-list loyalty scheme, enabling customers to unlock rewards such as birthday discounts, early access to sales, special offers, and events. But in 2018, ASOS moved away from this scheme and started offering subscription-based Premier Delivery. According to Marketing Week, the number of Premier customers paying for unlimited next-day delivery was 1.3 million in August 2018 and grew 53 percent during the following year.
Today, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Premier Delivery is more popular than ever. The Mirror reports that thanks to Premier Delivery subscriptions, ASOS surpassed £1 billion in revenue during the lockdown.
This American fast food restaurant chain offers a membership program that gives customers points with every purchase. Customers can redeem these points for rewards such as free food and giveaways. To engage in the program, customers need to download the Chick-fil-A mobile app or create an account online.
Customers earn points by making in-store, in-app, or catering purchases from Chick-fil-A. There are three levels of membership based on points earned: Member, Silver Member, and Red Member. Customers become Red Members when they earn 5,000 points within a year, entitling them to the best rewards such as tickets to VIP events.
Read also: What to Expect from the App Store and Google Play Store When You Launch Your First App
How to implement a rewards strategy
To implement a rewards strategy in your application, you first need to choose a rewards system. Best loyalty program ideas fall into one of the following categories:
Points. Loyalty points programs allow customers to collect points they can redeem for free products/services. Such programs are easy to set up, making this the most common type of loyalty program.
Tiers. Companies such as Arteza and Sephora use tiers to create customer loyalty programs. Tiers are an excellent way for businesses to get their customers more engaged by gamifying their rewards programs and making them exclusive. Such programs offer different rewards depending on a customer’s tier. To get to the next tier, a customer has to pass a milestone. Milestones might be anything from spending a certain amount in a month to making a certain number of lifetime purchases.
Read also: Gamification Dynamics in App Development
Paid loyalty programs. Customers pay a fee to enroll in a paid loyalty program. Such programs provide a rapid return on the membership fees paid and enable businesses to concentrate on their most engaged customers. Customers who pay for loyalty programs are invested from the start and keep investing in the brand. Restoration Hardware, for example, charges $100 a year for access to discounts and design consultations.
Once you’ve determined which type of rewards system works best for your application, you need to think about what you’ll reward your users for. Let’s outline specific things you might reward your customers for doing:
Reaching spending targets. For instance, when a customer spends a certain amount of money, they might get 10 percent off their next purchase of $100 or more. Keep in mind that limited-time offers are likely to encourage prompt purchases.
Reaching a target number of purchases. Once a customer makes a certain number of purchases, they might qualify for a free item as a gift or receive a discounted membership at, say, a local gym.
Giving feedback about goods or services after a free trial. Asking consumers to provide feedback on a new product before you launch it gives them a sense of ownership, which may boost sales and lead to word-of-mouth recommendations.
Recommendations to friends. Offer your customers discounts and gifts in return for every new customer they bring you.
Other actions. Allow customers to earn points for multiple actions. These might be viewing product videos, using your mobile app, following and sharing your content on social media, and subscribing to your blog. We recommend rewarding any valuable signs that a customer is engaging with your brand, as it will result in higher customer loyalty.
Read also: Stripe, Braintree, Paypal: What Payment System to Integrate with Your App
A rewards system is just one strategy that can successfully build loyalty to your brand. Let’s move on to the next strategy and learn more about modern technologies.
Strategy № 2. Use cutting-edge technologies to boost the customer experience
Innovations such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), cloud computing, and real-time video calling are changing the way brands communicate with their customers. Brands that are ready to realize the full potential of technology will stand out from competitors and have more chances to win customer loyalty. Let’s take a look at a few examples of applications that use modern technology and can serve as sources of inspiration.
L’Oreal augmented reality try-on apps
There are several L’Oreal beauty apps. For example, Style My Hair helps users try on different hairstyles. In 2018, L’Oreal acquired Modiface, a company that had a hand in building many custom AR beauty apps. Their 70 developers and engineers officially joined the Paris-based cosmetics giant.
This acquisition has enabled the L’Oreal makeup empire to promote its huge collection of brands in a high-tech way. By allowing customers to try on their products, L’Oreal saves customers from wasting money on unsuitable cosmetics, strengthening customer loyalty.
IKEA has developed many applications to simplify the selection of furniture for its customers. With IKEA Store, customers can create shopping lists, and with the tips given by the IKEA Better Living app, they can instill ecologically friendly habits.
But there’s also an IKEA Place application that uses AR technology so users can try any piece of furniture in their interior. Thanks to this technology, customers can buy things that fit their spaces without wasting time and money on returning things that don’t fit.
Just Eat app and smart chatbot
Just Eat is a food ordering and delivery company that connects customers and restaurants and cooperates with a large number of restaurants in 23 countries. To make it easier for customers to find a restaurant and dishes they want, in 2016, Just Eat launched a smart chatbot feature in the app. This in-app chat is powered by Facebook Messenger and acts like a bot advisor.
The chatbot helps customers choose a restaurant, decide what to order, and track the status of their order. Since its launch, the chatbot has helped Just Eat increase conversions by 266 percent and win over loyal customers.
How to implement a strategy
Implementing a strategy with modern technology can seem daunting. But with the right development approach and an experienced development team, you can build an app that meets your functional requirements. Let’s take a look at the following tips that can simplify the technology implementation process.
Explore your brand’s unique selling proposition (USP)
When deciding to implement any technology into your mobile app, you need to determine what task the technology will perform. For example, Sephora’s AR technology helps customers try on makeup products, make sure they work well, and only then buy them. In this case, AR helps customers avoid wasting money on products that don’t suit them while helping Sephora build a reputation for being an honest and loyal brand.
So before deciding that technology is the right strategy to improve your customers’ loyalty, we advise you to analyze your business and identify your unique selling proposition, or USP. To do this, analyze your competitors, study existing applications similar to yours, and determine your advantages that can be transformed into technology.
Explore technology options
After you determine your USP, you need to get to know technologies better and understand which are suitable for you. The brands we’ve mentioned above use AR and smart chatbots. But the possibilities don’t end there.
COVID-19 has brought big challenges and caused many businesses to rethink their strategies. For example, many businesses have had to minimize personal contact. That’s why many brands have added real-time online video consultations to their applications. Credo Beauty is one of those who implemented video consultation technology as soon as the brand had to close all physical stores amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Credo Beauty offered their customers online consultations with experts who help them choose the right cosmetics for care and makeup. The video consulting opportunity not only helped the brand save all employees’ jobs but increased its conversion rate by 32 percent.
Video consultations have also made changes in the field of medicine, and many clinics have begun to offer online consultations. You can learn about telehealth medicine in our article about what functionalities you need to consider in order to create a telehealth platform.
Choose the right development team
If technology is poorly implemented or the user doesn’t understand how to use it, it won’t benefit your brand. In order for your application to work smoothly, you need to select the best specialists who will help you implement your plans. To do this, explore ratings and reviews platforms such as Clutch and GoodFirms, view lists of top software development companies, and read reviews from real clients that those companies have worked with.
You can also visit the social networks of the companies that you like most. This will help you see how companies communicate with their clients in an informal setting. And of course, you should study the websites of development companies, check out the services they provide and familiarize yourself with their project case studies.
Any technology can be expensive to implement. However, investing in an expert team of developers, testing, and high-quality technology will pay off in the form of loyal customers. But technology isn’t all we can suggest. Let’s take a look at the last strategy on our list.
Strategy № 3. Personalize your application
When you come into a coffee shop and order a latte with almond milk and caramel topping, that’s customization. When you come into a coffee shop and the barista is ready to hand you the coffee you like, that’s personalization. Personalization is a great way to increase brand loyalty. Recently, Forbes Insights together with Arm Treasure Data surveyed 200 marketing leaders, and 40 percent of them confirmed that personalization had a positive impact on sales growth.
Mobile app personalization can include push notifications, recommendations, tips, discounts, and special offers. Many brand apps offer a personalized experience, and there are a lot of features you can consider including in your own app.
Read also: 3 Essential Types of Push Notifications to Inspire Loyalty from Your Users
Spotify is a leader in personalized digital experiences. The streaming music service uses information about listener behavior and patterns to present users with personalized playlists that have titles and descriptions. This helps users understand why they’re being offered this particular music.
But Spotify has gone further: In January 2021 it was revealed that the company had bought a patent for a new technology that would take personalized experiences to the next level. This patent will allow the music giant to make observations about a user’s environment and emotions using speech recognition technology. Spotify can then play the music that reflects the mood, age, gender, or social environment of users.
Mallzee is a marketplace for popular clothing brands. Customers can pick things by category and price, and purchase them just like on a regular marketplace. But to attract users to use the Mallzee mobile app, the company developed an application that works like Tinder. Users swipe left or right on items of clothing, which allows the application to collect data about user preferences and send a personalized selection of images and products. The application also takes into account prices.
The result is amazing: Users get fast, extremely accurate, and fully personalized suggestions for clothes they would like to wear. On top of that, these clothes are always in a price range the user can afford.
The Flo app monitors women’s health. During the onboarding process, it asks users if they want to track their menstrual cycle or if they’re planning to get pregnant and want to track ovulation. To accurately analyze the data received, Flo uses artificial intelligence. With this AI technology, Flo gives personalized advice and useful notifications about a woman’s health.
Moreover, by analyzing the cycle and painful symptoms, Flo can identify diseases related to women’s health. Cision PR Newswire reports that 9,000 women who tracked their health with the Flo app, based on the app recommendations later went to a gynecologist, and nearly 1,500 of them were diagnosed with endometriosis, ovarian cysts, or thyroid disease.
Read also: How to Create and Grow Your Female Health Tracking App
How to implement a personalization strategy
Below, we give three tips that can help you successfully implement personalization in your mobile app and thereby increase your brand loyalty.
Find out what it’s like to be in your client’s shoes
Personalization is impossible without knowing who your target user is. To implement a personalized strategy, you need to focus on your customers and identify their pain points. There are two common techniques to help you do this:
Create a persona. A persona represents a key segment of your audience. To create a persona, it’s necessary to conduct quantitative analysis (collect information about demographics, workplaces, and social statuses of potential users) and qualitative analysis (conduct a series of interviews). The data obtained will help you segment customers and create a persona.
Use the jobs-to-be-done approach. Jobs-to-be-done is a relatively new technique that aims to answer the question What is the main task your customers will use your application form? Field research and interviews are needed to get the answer. The jobs-to-be-done approach allows you to focus on the personal experience of your users and helps you create a product that solves your customers’ problems.
Choose the best personalization option for your application
As we’ve mentioned, there are many ways to provide personalization, but the main thing is to choose the approach that best suits your business needs. For example, Starbucks uses personalization based on a user’s GPS data.
The Starbucks Happy Hour campaign uses a customer’s location data and time zone to send a push notification guiding them to a nearby Starbucks shop for a free Happy Hour drink. When customers get the invitation, they’re led to a screen in the app that explains the promo, then guides them to the nearest Starbucks location.
Take care of users’ data security
To implement personalization in your application, you need to convince users to share their personal data. However, customer concerns about the security and privacy of their online data can hinder the implementation of personalization concepts. But don’t think that personalization and privacy are incompatible. There are ways to personalize your customer experience while building brand loyalty.
Protect your customer data properly. Depending on the audience for which you’re developing your application, you need to follow different rules and requirements for collecting, storing, and processing personal data. These differ by country. For example, to protect the personal data of EU residents, you need to follow the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). For US residents, there is no single set of requirements, so it’s worth studying the rules of each state.
Convince users that sharing personal data with you is beneficial. More than 90 percent of online users are concerned about their privacy. But this doesn’t mean users aren’t at all ready to share information with you. There are several ways to convince them your mobile application is safe. For example, when Medium is launched, it asks users to select topics they like to help them create a story flow. In this case, users share personal preferences knowing they’ll receive useful articles. Here’s another example: The Twitter app asks users to share their mobile phone numbers in order to protect their accounts with two-factor authentication. There are other ways to smoothly ask users to share data. You need to study them and understand which techniques will increase loyalty to your brand.
A personalized experience comes down to creating a useful mobile app for your users. Making a customer feel like one in a million can be the secret ingredient to building a strong bond with your brand.
In order to reap the full benefits of customer loyalty software, consumer-facing businesses must create experiences consistent with their brands and tailored to their customers’ specific needs. No matter which strategy you use, we hope this article will spur you to build your own unique and effective mobile application.