Every business understands that increased customer loyalty can increase sales. Without repeat customers, at some point you run out of business. It was true a century ago, and it’s still true today.
What’s changed is how loyalty is created. Where traditional shopkeepers would build lasting relationships based on firm handshakes, today’s loyal customers are shaped by the demands of digital: shopping experiences that are mobile, accessible, convenient, engaging, and highly personalized.
All of that points to mobile apps. B2C or B2B, no channel is better primed to give customers an ideal shopping experience. In 2021, apps are the obvious vehicle for improving loyalty.
What does that mean for your ecommerce revenue? This blog will look at why mobile apps and customer loyalty go hand in hand and consider ways that brands can use apps to extend vital KPIs like customer lifetime value.
Why you should care about mobile loyalty
Loyalty is about more than swiping a mag stripe card whenever a customer buys a latte. Strengthen it, and you can improve fundamental business metrics.
- Keeping an existing customer is five times cheaper than acquiring a new one.
- Conversion for repeat customers is 60% versus 5-20% for new or one-time customers.
- Existing customers are 50% more likely to try a new product than a new one.
- A 10% increase in customer retention can increase the value of a company by 30%.
Mobile is changing shopping, and it’s disrupting traditional loyalty programs too.
Smartphones are replacing traditional brand-customer loyalty vehicles like plastic cards, while tactical loyalty boosters like coupons are being digitized, making it easier to add the mobile app wallets based on purchasing behaviour and buying history.
In the US, popular family restaurant chain Chipotle increased its mobile app downloads by a factor of five when it integrated its loyalty program and made it mobile. The strategy was to use its loyalty data and smoothly integrate it with the app to make customizing orders easy. Today it’s rolling up close to $1 billion in annual digital sales.
To counter lost business under the pandemic, restaurants everywhere have re-jigged their loyalty programs to make them mobile-first and incentivize customers to buy their food digitally, either for delivery or curbside pickup.
It’s working. Deloitte found that fast food and casual restaurant customers who order online, spend 13 percent more on average.
How can your business benefit by increasing ecommerce sales and keeping channel costs down? Look to apps. They power mobile commerce customer loyalty.
How mobile apps improve loyalty for your brand
Have you ever noticed how quickly you can become frustrated with a website on your smartphone if it’s too slow, or glitchy, or the images are too small, there’s too much text?
Apps are designed to eliminate those frictions. They’re all about convenience and simplicity. They’re also about data capture and creating a virtuous circle where the information collected from users is fed back and used to improve the app experience.
Today’s mobile apps are built on flexible software platforms that enable brands to evolve them according to customer needs and wants. The enriched data apps capture data? about user behaviour, and purchase history can be used to improve the user experience and keep customers coming back.
Information about user activity captured on an app is much more individualized and detailed than what desktop or even a mobile-responsive website can deliver. By tapping into that rich vein of data and using the unique capabilities of apps for 1-2-1 customer communication, retailers can build hyper-tailored experiences.
Mobile Apps + Loyalty = More Revenue
With the right capabilities, a mobile app boosts customer loyalty. That leads to …
You can use the information apps hoover up to customize content and messaging. Customers see product recommendations based on previous purchases, discounts to encourage cross-promotion, and messages tuned to their segment or demographic profile. Individually or combined, those elements reduce cart abandonment and encourage conversion.
Stats from Criteo show businesses with an e-commerce app typically see a 53 per cent rise in mobile revenue. Retailers who pair a mobile website with an app see revenues shift quickly from one to the other, with apps grabbing up to 70 per cent of mobile sales.
Improved brand loyalty
With an app, your most loyal shoppers see your logo every time they glance at their home screen. That adds to branding and recall. On the flip side, mobile shopping is becoming so important that retailers need to consider the impact that a sub-standard mobile experience will have on their brand. Offering a better user experience in the age of digital will boost your brand loyalty. A well-designed app is a vital step in that direction.
An app gives you the kind of seamless experience today’s smartphone users demand. Apps can offer features that make buying easy, like one-tap purchase, saved customer profiles, address and credit card autofill, shipping addresses, and geolocation. These are all time-saving tools that make it easier for mobile shoppers to buy quickly. Offer them up, and they’ll reward you by coming back.
Mobile shoppers have a lot of time for shopping apps. For mobile websites, not so much.
Research shows that apps capture ninety per cent of the time users spend on their smartphones. Our internal customer research shows that app users are the most frequent shoppers. They spend more than 200 minutes a month buying things on their smartphones versus 10 minutes making purchases on mobile websites.
Improved lifetime value
Research shows app users are more than twice as likely to return for additional purchases within 30 days than mobile website visitors. App customers can be super users – purchasing more regularly, more often, and over longer periods. Personalized and satisfying experiences like early access to products or invitations to special sales help create lock-in.
How to use your app to increase mobile loyalty
The thing about apps is the unique capabilities they offer that other marketing channels simply don’t. Here are the features you can leverage to increase loyalty:
Push messages and notifications
Loyalty and personalization are inseparable as online shoppers expect brands to recognize and respond to their habits and preferences. More than sixty per cent of smartphone users say they like to see personalized content when they shop online, for example, suggesting products based on previous purchases.
They also like personalized communications. With an e-commerce app, you gain a new marketing channel: push notifications you can use to deliver customized offers and discounts.
The open rate for push notifications is 60 per cent (for comparison, traditional email promotions get about 20 per cent). Even better, when a notification message is opened, 40 per cent of people click on the link.
Integrated loyalty accounts
Mobile apps can support loyalty programme integration, including registration, login, status displays, contactless technology, and even virtual loyalty cards for in-store use. By enhancing apps with loyalty account features, brands can effectively bridge the gap between physical and virtual shopping.
Suppose the app is integrated with an ecommerce backend like Magento or Bigcommerce. In that case, all loyalty information is auto-synced so that everything is up to date and reflected immediately, no matter which shopping channel the customer opts to use.
Customized coupons and discounts
Personalized discounts tell customers that they are appreciated and that you’ve recognized exactly how valuable they are to your business. With an app, brands can send targeted coupons and special offers through push notifications, perhaps even triggered by GPS data when a customer is in the proximity of a nearby bricks & mortar location.
Keep them coming back
More than 65 percent of global online sales now happen on smartphones. More than 90 percent of mobile users’ time is spent on mobile apps.
The trend is unmistakable. What will determine leaders from laggards in mobile commerce is how effectively brands can turn those untethered app shoppers into loyal customers who click your icon first when they feel the impulse to buy.
At JMango360 we’ve been helping brands boost mobile loyalty through brilliant apps for more than a decade. If you’re looking for ways to integrate your rewards program or improve repeat business, we’d love to help.
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