Customer loyalty is changing. Tired of keeping track of physical loyalty cards and vouchers, shoppers are increasingly demanding that retailers adopt digital initiatives to incentivise and reward them.

There’s no doubting that loyalty schemes remain popular with UK shoppers; around three quarters of them are signed up to one or more programmes. Yet they are consistently frustrated by traditional approaches to customer retention. Nearly half forget to present their cards or vouchers at the point of sale, and around a third fail to redeem their physical vouchers before the expiry date.

The rise of mobile loyalty

Our new report, Omni-Progress, found that 40% of UK shoppers want to embrace mobile loyalty solutions, preferring to receive offers on their smartphone or via email, rather than in a physical paper-based format. A further 16% expressed a preference for a mobile app that could receive, compile and claim incentives.

One reason for this is that mobile is the one device that can be utilised across digital and physical retail, meaning that shoppers can be rewarded based on their behaviours in all channels. Mobile loyalty applications allow points to be accrued through visits or purchases, which can be redeemed across multiple channels for discounts, gifts or other rewards.

Additionally, consumers are happy to share essential information in order to personalise loyalty schemes further. Our report discovered that 34% of UK shoppers would be happy to provide their data if promised something in return, and 43% would be receptive to the delivery of personalised, location-based incentives to their mobile device as they entered a store.

Joining up the channels

While mobile loyalty schemes are already well established within many retail premises, our research indicates that most fail to deliver the joined-up solution the shopper wants. Over half (56%) of UK shoppers felt that they were not being rewarded equally across physical and online sales channels.

Delivering a holistic customer loyalty management strategy requires in-store technology that addresses these demands, works with existing devices and applications, and provides a personalised service.

Cloud-based loyalty applications  can send passes to be stored in a smartphone’s native digital wallet – Apple Wallet or Android Pay, for instance – to be redeemed at any point of sale. As well as sending loyalty cards, coupons and gift cards, such applications allow retailers to offer targeted promotions.

A mobile loyalty strategy is an essential part of the omnichannel retail process. When executed in the right way, with effective tools, the result is a win-win scenario; the customer benefits from easy access to personalised service and purchasing benefits, while the retailer gains greater insight, which it can use to increase conversions and encourage repeat visits.

iVend Retail will be showcasing our omnichannel loyalty schemes at the Retail Business Technology Expo (RBTE) 2017, taking place at London’s Olympia on 8-9th May. Visit us at stand 520 or contact us to book an appointment.

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