Retailers are looking at loyalty differently these days. They’re re-examining their entire approach to loyalty programs as a whole, including the concept of rewarding customers based on frequency and value of purchases, and plastic loyalty cards are on the wane.
A recent study by Newstore recommended retailers focus more on creating emotional connections with customers by leveraging mobile technology to deliver on experiences rather than points.
The study found brands haven’t fully realized the power of push notifications, with only 3% sending personalized promotions throughout their app. Push engagement is around 12% for the retail industry but could be higher if customized based on past purchases or location, Newstore found. Push notifications are also shown to increase app retention by up to seven times.
One method of pushing mobile traffic into stores is through appointment scheduling, hitting the sweet spot for today’s time-constrained consumer. Newstore found having the date, location, products and even an associate ahead of time increases upsell opportunities by 20%. But apparently most brands haven’t gotten the memo yet; only 11% of them offer in-store appointments through the mobile web or their native app, the survey found.
The study found that retailers are able to create long-lasting relationships by connecting associates directly to loyal customers through conversational commerce. While adoption is slow, 24% of brands offer chat functionality through their mobile site but only 4% do so through a native app vs. a third-party platform like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, Newstore found.
There are several brands that are ahead of the curve in terms of personalizing the experience for customers, Newstore found. For example, shoe and accessory brand M. Gemi personalizes in-store visits by giving associates access to customer profiles, including past online and offline purchases.
As another example, Nike’s displays a “Welcome to the Nike App” for new users in the inbox. It tells shoppers they can continue to expect tailored products and experiences which get more personalized as they use the app.
Once a Victoria’s Secret customer installs the app, she receives the latest information on new arrivals or sales through push notifications and is shown app exclusives.
While it’s been demonstrated that store associates can enhance the customer experience based on online and offline information accessed from a handheld device – to upsell or make product recommendations, for example – only 19% of brands make it available outside of a POS system or desktop, Newstore found.