Customer loyalty is the term given to the ongoing relationship between your brand and your customers that drives engagement and repeat purchases. Developing customer loyalty takes time and will not happen overnight. It’s usually a by-product of an excellent experience that delights your customers and keeps them coming back for more.
Customer loyalty and retention are crucial to your brand, regardless of the industry in which you operate. A survey found that increasing customer retention by 5% increases your profits by 25-95%. Moreover, it costs five times more to acquire a new customer as it does to retain an existing one. Despite this, many businesses make the mistake of taking their existing customers for granted and focus all their efforts on attracting new ones. But, in order to grow your business, you need to work on retaining your existing customers and then develop your acquisition strategy.
Mobile apps as a channel to drive loyalty
People of all ages now use smartphones and, in many cases, are rarely without them, making them the perfect device to improve customer loyalty. As a result of this growing trend, an increasing number of smartphone users are opting to use mobile apps to complete their daily tasks, whether that be keeping in contact with loved ones, checking the weather forecast, managing their finances, or purchasing their desired product or service. In fact, according to eMarketer, 88% of mobile internet usage is spent on apps. Why? Because mobile apps epitomize ease of use and accessibility. Well, the good ones do anyway.
It’s these reasons that mobile apps are the holy grail for driving and improving customer loyalty and the best part, they’re already in your customers pockets.
While designing an app to excite your customers is an important step in the process, it by no means signifies the end of your job. As a mobile marketer, maintaining and growing your customer loyalty requires you to implement valuable strategies that drive results.
Effective mobile app strategies to improve customer loyalty
1. Use a combination of mobile app channels
Mobile apps offer a variety of channels you can use to communicate with your audience, all of which have their strengths so it’s important to use a combination and not stick to one sole channel.
App push notifications are a great way to keep your customers updated on relevant changes and by keeping your brand at the forefront of their minds. By delivering the message or content to your user’s lock screen, the main aim of app push notifications is to encourage your users to enter your app, or to claw back inactive users.
While app push notifications definitely have their place in your customer loyalty strategy, in-app messages bring their own strengths and aren’t a strategy you should ignore.
In-app messages, as the name suggests, are messages that are delivered to the user while they are using your app. This form of communication can be triggered by a user’s activity, for example if a user has successfully onboarded your app, or can be used to share product updates or promotions. Ultimately, they are designed to keep your most active users engaged.
2. Take advantage of geo-location messaging
Geo-location messaging further enriches your customers’ brand experience by enabling you to deliver relevant content to the user based on their location. This strategy is particularly beneficial for retailers and restaurants as you can notify the customer of a discount or a new dish when they are near your branch. By reaching them with the right message, at the right time, you can improve their experience and drive loyalty.
3. Develop a robust loyalty scheme
Let’s face it, customers want to feel appreciated and loved by brands and a loyalty scheme is a great way to achieve this. Research reveals that more than 80% of US customers are more loyal to brands when they participate in dedicated rewards programs. Additionally, more than 70% of shoppers are more likely to participate in a loyalty program if they can easily access loyalty cards and rewards from their phones, making apps the perfect channel.
Loyalty incentives on a mobile app can be used to encourage more downloads, i.e., by offering new users 10% off when they download your app or 10% off their first in-app purchase. Alternatively, they can be used to incentivize repeat purchases, such as offering them double points when they purchase via your app or exclusive access to new items as a reward for their loyalty.
The key to a successful mobile app loyalty scheme is two-fold. Firstly, you need to make it easy to use. If it’s complicated, your customers won’t buy into it and therefore, it won’t be an effective strategy to grow loyalty. Secondly, you need to make sure the offers and content you deliver are tailored to the user and not flood them with information that is not relevant to them.
4. Power data-driven personalization
91% of customers are more likely to shop with brands that send personalized offers and recommendations, so it’s no surprise that an article from Harvard Business Review revealed that companies are losing $1 trillion in annual revenues to their competitors because they are not consistently relevant enough. This demonstrates the importance of personalization in your customer loyalty strategy, and key to successful personalization is your data.
Gone are the days of assuming what your customers want from your brand, now you must leverage the vast amounts of data you collect on your users and use this to give them what they want, when they want it, where they want it.
This is where mobile apps are your greatest tool. Unlike desktop and mobile web, mobile apps can act as windows into your customers lives and allow you to track key activity and information about them which can later be used in your personalization efforts. For example, if you’re a clothing retailer and can see that a customer has recently purchased a shirt, you could send them a push notification or in-app message (depending on which they prefer) saying ‘We hope we loved your shirt. Pair it with these pants for the perfect outfit!’.
It’s this relevant and personalized content that will strengthen your relationship with your customers and boost your customer loyalty. However, if you don’t use your data to power your personalization, your efforts will be wasted.
With Upland Localytics’ mobile app marketing and analytics software, you can create seamless, customer-centric mobile app experiences that delight your audiences and grow customer loyalty. Register for our upcoming demo or contact your CSM to find out how you can get more from your mobile app.