In the current high-tech age, new technology appears to emerge daily, leading to constant transitions. What has been most interesting about this period is the way in which “the web” has contributed to its consumerisation. In present day society, the majority of the population are dependent on their smartphone, along with the endless opportunities and services it can offer. However, flashback to pre-millennium and most of us didn’t own a mobile phone. Millennials are digital natives, born into the transitional world where technology is able to control and monitor our every movement; from fitness monitoring to voice-controlled personal assistants. On the other hand, Baby Boomers and proportionally their offspring often struggle to operate and understand the advantages of modern day gadgets. Which in turn, can be reflected through their usage habits in comparison to millennials.
Retail and Hospitality Applications are efficient and convenient for the customer but also advantageous to the brand. Providing a well-developed application is no longer a soft subject, but an important arena that digital marketing departments across retail and hospitality are competing within, in order to gain market share. Evolving consumer demands require a hands-on approach combining native applications, push notifications and the integration of social media is most effective.
Initially, digital applications provided by retailers and hospitality chains were fairly simplistic, but over time their evolution has made them far more functional. At the start, apps were generally used as a marketing platform, with Retailers providing users with look books to casually browse and hospitality chains providing menus or images. Then came the implementation of full product libraries, some of which eventually have been transactional as Retailers look to cash in on on-the-move purchasing. Businesses can also implement location technologies to notify their audience of local establishments. In addition, timed personal promotions can be delivered to customers directly through their application on their mobile device as a push notification.
Particular focus should be placed on the introduction and improvement of mobile loyalty applications. Millennials and future generations thereafter are less interested in physical loyalty cards which are easily misplaced and consume space and weight. Instead, the focus and demand exist towards digital alternatives. Applications are not only allowing the customer to track their loyalty points and rewards within an interactive and mobile environment but enhancing their loyalty and appreciation of the brand through personalised promotions.
Loyalty apps do more than just provide a solid customer engagement channel; they can also be used as an important strategic platform for Retailers to enhance their Mobile applications. As aforementioned, the original mobile apps were of limited functionality. However, as apps have developed, become transactional and or become an ordering platform there has become a greater requirement for customer login. This is the same for customer loyalty. In fact, since loyalty is inherently about the customer, what they’ve spent and how many points they have etc, mobile loyalty apps are great starting point for when chains want to impose themselves on mobile channels. Once this has been put in place, a customer has the app on their phone, ordering and transactions are done in the context of who the customer is as they should be. Since the loyalty functionality is already implemented, the customers’ points and tiers also affect the mobile activity. Taking this even further now the retailer or restaurant is in a position to track all online footprint like page views and likes.
Here at Enactor we understand the outlook of the future, that today’s technology needs to be considered yesterday and tomorrow’s should provide a next generation experience in order to enhance, organise and simplify consumers’ experiences. We acknowledge the demand for digital loyalty and the benefits which it can provide not only to the consumer but more importantly to the brand. In order to remain current and engage with their audience, businesses will need to prepare and transition with their customers’ expectations. Particularly, taking advantage of mobile technologies to suit both their ethics and those of their audience. By allowing their customers to access a personalised cross-channel environment from their mobile business’ are able to enhance the relationship with their customers, which will subsequently reflect through the consumers’ loyalty. After all, loyal customers are profitable and will engage for the relevant reward.
NATASHA BREEN – MARKETING ASSISTANT