Author: Pauline Fyfe

The EU-US Privacy Shield; Where we’re at now and how we’re helping

EU-US Privacy Shield - Court

Betamax, Windows7, AltaVista… there are many things in life that should last, but due to misfortune, progress, or simply the uncanny inability to think ahead, they unfortunately end up falling flat on their proverbial faces never to be seen again. The latest head on the block? The EU-US Privacy Shield – the infamous 4-year-old data transfer framework very recently shot down in flames by the Court of Justice of the European Union and consigned to an eternity of eye-rolling and sighing at the mere mention of its name.

Until now, most US-based analytics, messaging and marketing automation vendors – upon which literally thousands of EU businesses rely – could use the Privacy Shield’s data transfer framework to host the personal data of EU citizens without compromising their customers and placing them at risk of being in breach of their obligations under GDPR. But the court was having none of it, citing – amongst others – concerns that the framework would leave personal data of EU citizens exposed to US surveillance. The long and short? US based marketing automation vendors can no longer point to the Privacy Shield as legal protection for hosting the personal data of EU citizens and therefore any EU businesses that continue to use such vendors may now be in breach of GDPR… Let’s dig deeper.

So, what exactly was the EU-US Privacy Shield – and why should you care about its demise?

When the GDPR was introduced just two short years ago, EU data being transferred to countries outside of the union was at risk of breach, surveillance and all the stuff you really don’t want your personal information exposed to. The EU-US Privacy Shield was concocted to deal with that, with the European Commission deeming data transfers between the EU and the US lawful. EU businesses were again able to confidently continue using US-based analytics, messaging and marketing automation vendors whilst still complying with GDPR.

Four years later, in July 2020, the commission’s decision was judged unlawful by the Court of Justice for the European Union, effectively ending the legal transfer of personal data between the EU and US – and leaving businesses on both sides clambering to determine the impact on their operations.

What next?

In response to the July judgement, many US-based vendors offering analytics, user engagement, push notification and other marketing automation services have simply updated their terms and conditions in a lazy attempt to assuage the concerns of those businesses entrusting them to protect their data once in their hands – but they’re updates that bring absolutely nothing to the table simply because they don’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to the law. 

For businesses that transfer personal data from the EU to the US, this represents the worst of all possible outcomes. Standard Contractual Clauses, commonly utilized for transfers around the globe, will be subject to much closer scrutiny by data exporters and by EU regulators.

Bridget Treacy, data privacy partner at Hunton Andrews Kurth, London

The bottom line? If you’re an EU business using US-based marketing automation vendors that are either hosting your users data in the US – or transferring it there at any point – you could now be in breach of GDPR. It’s probably worth pausing here and inserting a timely reminder of the penalties – in the most serious of cases, fines can climb to an eye-watering €17m – or 4% of your businesses annual turnover – fines no one wants to be relying on finger-crossing to avoid.

How Kumulos keeps your users data safe – and in the EU

Connecting with customers in meaningful, valuable ways, driving engagement and creating long-term loyalty is holy grail for many EU businesses wanting to succeed in the 21st Century. Personalisation lies at the heart of these meaningful connections … powered by mountains of personal data and driven by the insights it provides. Keeping that data safe is not only critical to your success, it’s also critical in protecting the trust that your users have put in your hands. It’s time to ask – do you know where their data’s going? Where is it held? Which cloud computing service does your push notification vendor use? Where are the data centers physically located? Where do the off-site backups go? Now would be an opportune moment to review your vendors T&Cs and start asking some potentially awkward questions of them to ensure they’re playing ball and that your users  personal information is safe and you are legally protected.

For businesses that rely on Kumulos, making sure the personal data they collect and trust us with is protected within a legally binding framework is critical to both them and us. That’s why we offer European businesses a fully GDPR compliant service – one where your data and any personal data of EU citizens that you collect will be held entirely within the EU. No ifs, no buts. 

If you’re a EU business with an eye on the future you’d like to find out more about how we’re keeping data safe for our customers, or if you’d simply like to discover how we can help, let’s talk.

QSRs & COVID – the Mobile Response

Fast Food Drivethru

Haircuts, holidays, hugs. There are lots of things we’ve all had to live without for the past 4 months. And whilst we may be able to live with a mullet hairstyle indefinitely, the one thing we can’t do without – whatever the crisis or calamity that happens to be going on around us – is food. 

From yearning for some kind of ‘reward’ just for getting through yet another week indoors, to essential workers needing fed on the way to and from their workplace, to simply sticking to some kind of old routine, quick-serve restaurants have been a life – and sanity – saver for many of us as we weather the COVID crisis. Yet with many QSRs having to innovate faster than you can say ‘with fries, please’, just to survive the crisis, maybe we should ask ourselves, hasn’t it always been the case? The ability of the quick-serve restaurant sector to rapidly respond to a continually changing customer landscape, the rapidly changing and technologically-disrupted world, and an increasingly crowded market isn’t new. And while we can’t – and shouldn’t – ignore or make light of the fact that many a food establishment will have closed their doors for good, the QSR sector long ago set itself steadily on its front foot to be able to leap this hurdle, and it’s mostly down to one thing; mobile. 

So as QSRs around the world rush once again to innovate and meet their customers in the ‘next normal’, mobile technology is ready to take another bow in the spotlight, supporting global  efforts to keep customers and employees safe, cultivating much-needed loyalty, and reshaping (yet again) the future of a sector that’s proving extraordinarily adaptable in the face of unprecedented change. Not convinced? Before you read on, let’s take a look at QSR behemoth, Starbucks, and how they’ve almost completely redefined their business in the face of COVID – at breakneck speed and in record time …

  • deploying loyalty offers and digital campaigns through mobile in May to re-engage customers and drive business, leading to “a significant increase” in average weekly downloads and app activations. 
  • implementing new drive thrus, pickup stores, walk-up windows, and curbside-enabled locations – driven by mobile innovations, conversations and transactions.
  • Launching their curbside pickup initiative, allowing customers to pick up from the safety and comfort of their own vehicle, driven by, yup, mobile – providing customers with the option to pay in advance and to check-in at designated parking spots once they arrive.

The key takeaway – with a focus on mobile, it can be done!

QSRs right now – how are things looking?

Here are some pretty interesting stats pulled from a recent Bluedot survey:  

  • 80% of those asked said that they now experience fear or anxiety walking into a store or restaurant. That’s a lot of customers. 
  • But – during the COVID crisis, Gen Z customers have downloaded three times more fast-food apps than groceries apps. 
  • What’s more, 42 per cent of those asked said that they’re ordering food, groceries, and other items via mobile apps more often – or much more often

And while many QSRs are seeing foot traffic decline, many are seeing record mobile orders. Reader, there are, it seems, reasons to be cheerful. 

In our pre-COVID article about QSRs and loyalty, we discussed, amongst other things, the ways in which QSRs are continually innovating through mobile strategies and winning the digital transformation race through the ability to be ultra-flexible, data-driven and future-focused. The results have spoken for themselves – exponential growth for these early mobile adopters focused on delivering exceptional customer experiences and implementing the technology enabling them to do so:

  • Offering personalization that feels genuinely personal, relevant and unique to the customer.
  • Enabling customers to be kept ‘in the loop’ when new products or services are launched
  • Giving customers the ability to get detailed information on products and services
  • Delivering compelling location-based offers 

In order to protect their most reliable revenue sources, QSRs the world over have convened around their virtual tables to revisit their digital transformations and mobile strategies, rapidly restructuring once solid plans to meet the disruptions the sector is currently facing. 

In our previous article COVID-19 impact on Customer Engagement & Loyalty Programs, we talked about the need for all industries to plan for either resetting pre-COVID customer habits as things return to some semblance of normality – or, reinforcing new behaviors formed during the crisis. Behaviors that may well now be habits that business is going to have to adapt to if it’s to weather the current storms and emerge stronger. 

For example, amongst the top QSR mobile apps – Chipotle,  McDonald’s, Domino’s,  Burger King, and Pizza Hut – there’s been a whopping 36% year-on-year increase in the number of app store reviewers during COVID indicating it was their first time using such an app. If that usage turns into a habit – and it will for many – then we can expect long-term implications for the QSR mobile strategy. But what of right now – how is mobile already powering longevity for QSRs post-COVID? 

A word about contactless …

Like it or not, one thing that we can be sure of is the growing demand for contactless – in whatever we do. When it comes to spending money, even without the calamity of COVID, lots of us enjoy and prefer contactless transactions. But in summer 2020, worried about food deliveries being made by strangers, exchanging physical money, and handing over the 20” calzone with extra cheese, QSR customers are making the contactless preference an increasingly pressing one. We want drive-thru, curbside or venue pick-up – and we want to do it with our own devices in our own hands. 

Of course, we’re highly likely to be operating in contactless environments for some time – and though that’s about much more than simply ordering and collecting, the mobile component will remain a key driver of preparedness – QSRs that were already well underway with their digital transformations pre-COVID are going to find themselves much better placed to deal with the current situation and the rapidly changing future. OK – let’s take a look at what contactless is looking like from the mobile perspective right now:

  • Mobile menus – Digital menus have been growing in popularity long before COVID, but they’re about to become ubiquitous across the sector as we look to avoid handling anything that hundreds of strangers have had their ketchup-covered hands on before we got to it. Using their smartphones, mobile menus mean customers can browse menus on their phones in-venue and pay for their food at the same time … But more than that, there’s real opportunity here to both assuage customer anxieties, keep them safe and provide valuable information through the mobile menu experience that can cement loyalty – for example, where is their food being prepared? Where has it come from? How is it prepared in a way that keeps everyone safe and healthy? Expect the mobile menu to be BIG – and expect to see further innovations in the area as more of us return to the in-venue eating experience.
  • Ordering – projected to drive over 10% of QSR sales this year, mobile-based food ordering has fast been adopted as the safe way to get in the Friday night takeaway – it’s safe and convenient for customers, and is being rapidly adopted across the sector by these consumers and QSRs – powered by mobile technology. A great example of an enterprise crushing the mobile ordering is Allset, reacting quickly to reimagine its capabilities for contactless pickup – think information about designated ‘safe’ pickup areas, alongside its new “No contact” badge feature within the app which allows customers to identify the restaurants that are offering contactless experiences. 
  • Pickup – In a re-imagined and optimized order pickup process powered by mobile, customers can be advised when to arrive at the collection point, can be notified when their order is ready, alerted that their delivery is on the way or, flipping it on its head, the vendor can be notified  that the customer has arrived at the collection point (thanks to geofencing technology). No contact required during any of these scenarios.
  • Delivery – similar to the above, QSRs can notify customers when their food is in transit, along with an expected delivery time. Customers can also advise the restaurant their preferred ‘drop off point’ to avoid any face-to-face contact, and can ‘send’ a gratuity via their app. We call that a win-win!

As ever increasing numbers of QSRs begin to address contactless, they’ll quickly discover that embracing the myriad ‘contactless’ benefits that mobile delivers also provides them with the opportunities to engage in new ways with their customers, providing the safe, efficient services they require – and using the new two-way communication avenues available to power data-driven innovations in the new climate. Here are a few other key areas where mobile technologies have a place to play in the new world order and the benefits they’re bringing to an industry ready to embrace change …

Track and Trace

In some countries it has become mandatory for businesses to collect the contact information of customers so that they can be tracked if they may have been exposed to a confirmed case. It’s being implemented so far in the UK, France, Italy, Australia amongst others and is highly likely to be adopted by more countries and will start to become the staple of virus control.

Whilst businesses move towards the use of mobile apps to help manage the new normal, it makes for a seamless customer experience to offer this as a feature within the app. If consumers are aware that QSR’s are offering this service through their app it can not only encourage new downloads but prevent churn and present opportunities to connect with new downloads. A track and trace app feature is capable of using automation to message a user informing them if there was a link from the premises to a confirmed virus case. Customers will look to these companies as those that are being socially responsible and doing their utmost to offer peace of mind. Certainly a feature that might reduce that sky-high percentage of anxious customers.

Conversational AI

The growth of conversational AI – or the chatbot –  as an essential element of enterprise digital transformation in 2020 isn’t surprising:

  • 37% of people use a customer service bot to get a quick answer in emergencies.
  • Nearly a quarter of the world’s population was using chatbots during 2019
  • Over 15% of service organizations will be using chatbots within the next 18 months – though this will likely increase ‘thanks’ to COVID
  • Chatbots can cut operational costs by up to 30%.
  • 85% of customer interactions will be handled without human agents by 2021

These chatbots are a key element of any loyalty program worth its salt, however, this was all pre-COVID. How we interact with brands now – and how they respond – is changing rapidly … meaning we’re likely to see a very different set of figures come the close of 2020. 

Apple Business Chat and Google Business Messaging already allow businesses to have conversations with their customers – thru native apps direct from search listings, Contact Us details, Google Maps, and more. In many ways, this has been a game-changer, particularly during COVID – new customers don’t have to download your app or pick up their phone to speak to someone on premise (or otherwise) who can help. What does that mean? For the customer, convenience; for the QSR, a perfect opportunity to capture new custom through a seamless, effortless, frictionless customer experience, nurturing them to loyal customers that will hang around post-COVID. Customers can simply message in their order, pay in the same way, and schedule their pickup time – without having to talk to anyone. Result!

But there are other ways in which the humble chatbot can support and cultivate loyalty. Throughout this crisis, chatbots offer the savvy QSR the ability to deliver critical information to their customers in ways that reassure, reaffirm and realign with new needs and expectations. So for example, customers can chat with a bot which can:

  • Provide information on COVID opening hours
  • Schedule orders for them at times most convenient to the customer
  • Take payments to uphold contactless transactions – the favorite way to pay for anything and everything right now
  • … and relay critical information regarding safety restrictions both in-store, at drive-thru points and curbside pick-ups (more on that in a bit … )

But perhaps the most beneficial element that Conversational AI brings to the dinner table is the unparalleled insights into customer sentiments and behaviors gleaned from the rich data collected from chatbot interactions, enabling businesses to continually refine and reimagine their digital strategy in line with rapidly evolving customer needs. The ability to be this agile means the ability to better future-proof – even when we can’t see what that future looks like right now.

QR Codes

QR codes, one could say, have never really caught on in a big way – but that could be about to change. The humble QR code has the ability to turn our smartphones into all manner of tools that can support our need for safe, healthy environments as we weather the COVID fallout. Interestingly, they’ve got a lot to offer the QSR sector. From providing the means to download and view that mobile menu we mentioned earlier, to seamless integration with ordering systems, QRs are about to enjoy their moment in the QSR spotlight – here are a few ways we’ll see them do it:

  • QR codes positioned at self-service counters mean customers can have visibility of a restaurant’s health and safety procedures before they order – think  sanitization routines, how and where food is being prepared, where food is coming from, how to stay minimize health risks … and much more. 
  • Mobile menus accessible via QR codes – KFC in China – and numerous others – are already taking advantage of the technology, and are likely to maintain it over the long-term. 
  • QR codes are another way to keep your costumers informed during uncertain times – codes strategically places on ads, packaging, websites or apps can provide the opportunity to engage with customers, delivering relevant, valuable information and – you guessed it! – driving that loyalty you’re seeking to build. 
  • Contactless paymentspayments via QR codes help do all that contactless stuff we talked about above. 

Push notifications

According to a recent study of over two billion app installs, users have been  quicker to click on push notifications than they were before the current crisis kicked off. What’s more, direct open rates for mobile app push notifications reached their highest average rate in more than four years. The resulting increase in the number of push notifications being sent by businesses saw direct open rates increase by an average of 22% for apps and 119% for websites. Not to be scoffed at! So where might the QSR look to get the most out of Kumulos-favorite, the humble push notification as we head into that next normal? 

  • Focusing on areas that experienced the biggest declines during the crisis – such as Sunday coffee, breakfast on the way to work, takeaway lunches etc. – should be a key focus in driving these ‘old habits’ we mentioned earlier. 
  • Think about using push to entice customers to return to the on-premise dining experience (where appropriate) with relevant, personalized promotions and new menu offerings. 
  • Consumers are already demanding new information about the food they’re ordering – where it’s prepared, where it’s come from, who’s prepared it and how it will reach us safely. Push notifications are the perfect way to provide that information, reassuring customers before they order, driving transparency, trust, and by default, that loyalty that’s so important for future growth. 

Conclusion

With many countries now in the process of staggered re-opening, QSRs rethinking their near and long-term futures will be swinging their doors again, waiting with open arms, for the first time in a long time. Some are fully focused on take-out, deliveries and curbside provision. Others still will be running hybrid operations, aiming to cover all bases in an attempt to chart a course through these tough economic waters. What’s certain is that every QSR business is navigating unchartered waters with no clear view of the horizon ahead. 

Bottom line? As the challenges that COVID has brought continue to redefine the QSR industry, restaurants must start thinking now about their long-term mobile-driven strategy to future-proof, whatever the outlook. And whilst none of us can be sure about how this crisis will change customer behaviour, one thing we can be sure of is that the faster brands can advance their digital strategy to meet uncertainty however it manifests, the more certain their future will be. Agility and flexibility are key -along with the willingness to continue exploring new business strategies – but the sector is very good at that, and the future feels full of opportunities.

Kumulos and innovating your QSR app for success

With the uncertainty of what the future looks like for dining at physical locations, we can be sure that mobile will play a clear part in the customer journey from now onward. Kumulos offer a mobile communications platform that improves the customer experience and help you retain your app users. Send rich, interactive push notifications and in-app messages to one specific customer, all app users or define any demographic in-between. Use geofencing and beacon technology to highly target your audience and reach the right users at the right place and time. Turn your mobile app from an accessory to a necessity and capitalize before your competitors.

As the use of mobile apps becomes a permanent fixture of QSR dining, why not stay ahead of the curve and try Kumulos today? Book your free demo or trial and see for yourself how Kumulos can innovate your app for success.

Acquisition or retention – have you been doing it wrong all along?

mobile users

Whilst there’s little doubt of the importance of acquiring users, your mobile apps on a hiding to nowhere if you can’t keep a hold of them. Yet companies are still spending more on acquisition than retention, and an even larger percentage are sitting on the fence taking neither one stance nor the other. If you’re on that fence, or if you’re starting to realize that your finely tuned focus on acquisition isn’t working, it might be time to take a step back and revisit retention. But what does that look like, what are the advantages and how are you going to do it? Well, it’s funny you should ask …

We concur, acquisition matters – but …

In the US, the average CPI (Cost Per Install) range differs across verticals and platforms, but the average sits at around $2, rising to $3.34 at the top end. When app creators are willing to spend such a large chunk of their budget on acquisition – App Store Optimization (ASO), paid campaigns, ads – leaving something behind in the coffers for retention can sometimes be overlooked, and by many, often forgotten.

Some facts and figures to whet your retention appetite:

  • Acquiring a new customer is between five and twenty-five times more costly than retaining an existing customer.
  • Selling to a customer you already have has a success rate of between 60-70%, compared with a measly 5-20% success rate of selling to a new customer.
  • 44% of businesses say their focus is on acquisition, with just 18% looking at retention.
  • Increasing customer retention by just 5% can boost profits by between 25 and 95%.

… and yet, despite the evidence, most companies we talk to when it comes to metrics, measurement and money are hell-bent on committing a greater spend on acquiring new users than keeping the ones they already have. You could of course say, that in a way, they’d be right. After all, if no one downloads your app, there won’t be any customers to nurture and retain. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that no matter how impressive your acquisition numbers, failure to live up to – and exceed- user expectations means that users will continue to uninstall the apps that don’t measure up faster than you can say, “Baby, please don’t go”. Think your app’s too good to bin? Almost 1 in every 2 app downloads are uninstalled within 30 days, or to put it in business-speak, “Help, we’re hemorrhaging cash!”. I don’t know about you, but it feels like some kind of equilibrium needs to be found between acquisition and retention, one that neglects neither one nor the other, but instead brings ‘smart’ to the spread of marketing efforts and increasing the chances of a long-distance run in the App Store.

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need before they realize it themselves,” – Mr. Jobs.

App acquisition – where are we now?

Inhabiting an increasingly mobile world has seen the mobile app industry morph into one of the single most successful stories of the 21st digital century. In this app gold rush, however, we’ve also witnessed an unsustainable infatuation with seemingly lucrative short-term gains and endless growth hacks – most of which have ultimately turned out to be empty promises (much to the chagrin of your accountant). We’re just starting to realize that only a well-defined, well-researched app strategy- one that embodies everything we now know about the makings of long-term app success – paves the way to both profitability and sustainability.

According to Gartner, 80% of your business’s future profits will come from just 20% of your existing customer base. Which means that the big budget spend on acquisition you insisted on last quarter might have been more effective if you’d been willing to look at what you’ve already got. Retaining these users will make the difference between your app’s success – or its sad decline and the long, expensive walk of shame to the big uninstall bin in the sky. Time to stop the madness.

How to boost your Mobile App Retention Rates

80% of users churn within 3 days after downloading an app. The message is clear – have an engagement strategy in place long before your app even makes it through the door of the App Store. Why? Retaining users is really all about engagement. From a smooth onboarding experience to easy in-app purchases, to gentle, effective nudges to complete your critical events, retention is all about keeping your users interested throughout their app journey. What exactly is retention? Most of us in the industry would say that it means a user returning to your app at least once over a 30-day period – which doesn’t seem like such a big ask. It’s worth noting that we tend to measure retention over a 90 day – or one quarter – timeframe. With this in mind, it’s a good time to drop the average retention rate bomb so that we can start thinking about where we’d like to get to: around 20% after that 90-day period. It’s not high, but there’s room for improvement! It’s time to step up to the retention plate, making retention one of these ever-changing KPIs your marketing department loves to talk about at these Monday meetings. Here’s how to wow them with a dazzling grasp of retention tactics:

  1. Perfect your app’s “low barrier” to entry. No one wants to spend an inordinate amount of time and effort downloading and using a mobile app – life asks enough of all of us (including these Monday meetings) without your app asking for even more. In other words, I expect your app to do all the hard work for me, which means ensuring the onboarding process is smooth, simple and as swift as possible. If I need to book time off work to run thru your movie-length video tutorials, to complete my registration or to figure out what exactly it is that you’re bringing to party, your churn rates will go through the roof. Key takeaway: kick off with a simple app that does what it says on the tin and takes the friction out of it at the same time, you’re halfway there already …
  2. Personalization, personalization, personalization!  Delivering a personal, valuable, human brand experience that our new digital customers demand is the holy grail of retention. And unless you’re not living in the 21st century (in which case, welcome time traveler!) then you can’t fail to have noticed that any 2020 brand worth its digital salt will have customer personalization at its beating heart, and for good reason. Companies getting smart around the Big P see between a 5 and 15 percent increase in revenues, and a 10-30% percent increase in marketing-spend efficiency.
72% of consumers will only engage with personalized marketing messages.

What does personalization look like? Take your pick: customized push notifications, personalized product recommendations; valuable, feels-like-all-mine rewards and offers; location-based marketing and much, much more. Check out these apps to get an idea of IRL personalization – your retention metrics will thank you for it:

  1. Starbucks – we talked about Starbucks in our recent loyalty apps piece, and here they are again because, frankly, they’re good at what they do when it comes to their customers ad personalization. From relevant rewards to personalized discounts to products suggestions based on previous purchases, this is every app developers first stop when looking at the brands that are getting it right.
  2. Airbnb – accommodation behemoth Airbnb have personalization down to a finely tuned art, tracking your trips, travel preferences and likes, pooling data and matching you with listings that they think you’ll like. But that’s not all … you’ll also get suggestions for restaurants, bars, tourist hotspots, shopping and just about any other holiday activity you can think of – just for you.
  3. Spotify – Never a brand for standing still, Spotify continues to take personalization to ever more fun levels … from Discover to new releases, nearby concerts to Taste breakers, there’s no excuse for listening to that same damned playlist over and over. Spotify analyzes what you’re listening to, and over time builds up a profile of the kind of music you like – or might be open to liking – and serves it up as you like it.

Make it a habit. Not that we’re trying to start a new Apps Anonymous movement, but habit is a retention technique as old as the proverbial hills. The average mobile user checks her phone around 150 times per day. Boredom? Perhaps. Hunger? Possibly – I’ve got over half a dozen food ordering apps on mine. Habit? Now you’re talkin! If you thought you were looking at Instagram, Twitter or Facebook because you want to let off election steam, or to laugh at Terrible Art in Charity Shops, you’re wrong. The reason these apps are so successful is because they’ve invested time and money in ensuring that they’re quite literally habit-forming. Nir Eyal, the habit-formation guru, believes that one week is all you’ve got to create your app habit with a new user: “If your product doesn’t engage people within a week’s time or less, it’s going to be very, very difficult to build a habit around it.” 

The hook model

The Hook model – of course.

Many call this habit-formation strategy the ‘hook’ model; one that involves four key elements

  • The App Trigger – The trigger is what compels a user to complete an action within your app and can be either internal or external. For example, a notification from a bank app reminding a user to top up their balance to avoid going into overdraft would be an external trigger. The internal trigger is that (oh so familiar) feeling of boredom that compels someone to open the Instagram app.
  • The Action – Users take app actions for all manner of reasons, but psychologically, reward tends to be at the heart of many of our in-app actions, even though we’re not aware of it (most of the time). Taking the example above of topping up your balance in your banking app; sure, the reward of not being overdrawn is compelling enough, but seeing our balance onscreen in a juicy green with a big plus sign beside it is psychologically both reassuring and satisfying. Bring an on-screen message into the equation: “Hey, you just earned 10 rewards points for topping up your balance!!”, and you start to get an idea of how powerful the Action element of retention is. Note: make sure the actions you implement require as little effort as possible, and that the reward is immediate.
  • The Reward – Our virtual friend Nil describes the reward as an ‘itch being scratched’ – and we concur. The rewards are usually why your audience uses your app at all – creating desire and anticipation, then reliably satiating it with relevant and valuable rewards. There are all kinds of ways apps reward us – and often they’re nothing to do with how most of us traditionally understand them – on Instagram and Facebook, for example, the rewards are likes and comments, and lord knows isn’t that why we keep checking in? Rewards and crucial in the retention game. Neglect at your peril!
  • The Investment – When users invest in your app, the hook model’s work is done. By successfully combining the trigger, the action and the reward, you’ve got a user who’s well on their way to making your app part of their life … in other words your user and your app and officially an item, or ‘invested’ in each other. The investment element ensures that not only do your users want to check in, but they’ve got a vested interest in doing so.

Use push notifications. Almost without exception, push notifications are the single most-effective method of engaging – and retaining – your user-base – study after study has found that using push notifications as a key element of your app marketing strategy can boost retention by up to 20% – not to be scoffed at!   However, push notifications can harm as well as help your app retention rates if you approach them gung-ho. The challenge lies in striking the right balance of timing, frequency and value – get it right, and you’ll be laughing all the way to these Monday meetings… get it wrong and you could end up with a whole lotta users who quite frankly don’t want to hear from you anymore, thanks very much. The bottom line? Planning is everything. To find out how to push properly, visit our musings on that very matter here.

Provide an exceptional customer service. To be honest, this is something that any brand worth its salt should be doing in 2020, and not only our mobile app overlords. We all expect it, which is why when a company falls short of providing it, we’re often incandescent with rage, inconsolable and taking to whatever social platform it is to vent our spleen. When it comes to retention, customer service matters – pre-purchase, post-purchase and everything in between. What does it look like within your mobile app? 

  • Easy to find ‘contact’ buttons
  • ‘Call back’ functionality
  • A Knowledge Base; help center; community area or FAQs center where users can access quick answers to general questions
  • A Chat facility to connect users to customer service reps
  • The provision of detailed product information
  • A location finder

…. are just a few ideas. Just remember to ensure that you cover all of your touchpoints. Lots of us still like to use email instead of chatting to an empty screen (take note: if you’re providing a service like chat, ensure there are humans at your side to respond, and in a timely manner!)

Before we go …

In all fairness, app retention is a science – you could add an almost infinite number of strategies to the above list, and you’d still discover something you’re not doing but that your competitor is nailing. The long and the short: if you’ve just launched your app and you’re seeing your retention numbers take a tumble, panic ye not! Retention is a long-haul activity that you’ll fine tune over time, filtering out what doesn’t work, and learning what does. But it doesn’t sit on its own … Smashing your customer retention strategy requires rethinking how you work with your budgets and investing in the technologies that will help you to measure, achieve – and exceed – your retention goals. Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones (note: luck = hard work) and succeed at retaining half of your user-base … maybe, like the rest of us, you’ll be tipping the average, which, in the ever-growing world of mobile apps is pretty darn successful.

What to do next

Here at Kumulos our focus is on helping you to retain your hard-won audience through engagement. Push notifications have always been the most effective way to engage app users and Kumulos gives you all the tools to send rich, interactive messaging campaigns. The only platform that allows you to analyze campaign performance from both a commercial and technical standpoint. Book your free demo to see how Kumulos can turn your app users into loyal customers.

QSRs, Mobile and Customer Rewards | The threesome that’s redefining loyalty | 3/3

coffee and mobile

Part Three: Who’s smashing it

Loyalty and rewards apps are about so much more than user acquisition; what’s the point in 50,000 downloads if no one’s using it? (Clue: none whatsoever). So, while it’s very tempting to focus on acquisition when it comes to your loyalty app, engagement and retention will be the drivers of success – they’re also why the behemoths of the QSR sector are doing so well. Don’t believe us? After downloading an app, just over 30% of users will return to it, and 25% will abandon it just after one use. So, who’s smashing it when it comes to loyalty apps – which brands have nailed engagement, focused on personalizing their customer’s experiences, and now reaping tangible rewards for themselves in the process?

Chipotle

Chipotle was always ahead of the game when it comes to digital, launching their brand app in 2009 thru which customers could place their order rather than having to turn up at one of their near 2,500 restaurants. If you think back to 2009 – 3G, no Facebook Messenger, and a one-year-old App Store – this was pretty radical, and certainly way ahead of many of its competitors. It’s now nearly 12 months since 

chipotle loyalty appThe Chipotle Loyalty App 

Chipotle rolled out its much-lauded loyalty program (March 2019), and already they’re pick of the pops in the rewards stakes (no pun intended). Why? QSR’s loyalty program and accompanying app have seen the enterprise almost double its digital sales since launch, no doubt driven by the 7 million loyalty program signups since it was implemented. Result. What’s so great about the app? Let us count the ways:

  • Personalization: the burrito you like, where you like it, based on purchase history
  • Fast – allows quick ordering /reordering
  • Easy to pay with Apple and Android Pay functionality
  • Super-easy to redeem rewards and offers

The company have also implemented “Chipotlanes,” where customers can pick up app-ordered food without having to get out of the car (perish the thought!). 

Dominos

Top US pizza progressives Domino’s launched their first app in 2011, and in the (almost) ten years since, we’ve seen their stock price jump nearly 1000%. All things considered (we won’t bore you with the balance sheet) that’s almost $7.8 billion in value creation since bringing their products to your smartphone. As if that wasn’t enough, last year the enterprise eatery had an ingenious loyalty idea, one that should have tanked, but instead propelled it to legendary status for its sheer boldness. 

During the 2019 Super Bowl, the company turned its own loyalty program on its head by launching the now-infamous “For the Love of Pizza” campaign – and rewarding its customers for eating any pizza. That’s right. Your mama’s, Pizza Hut’s, Papa John’s, even my pathetic midnight attempts at a margarita (base, ketchup and a handful of grated cheese – hey, at least I try). These pizza purveyors then had to upload a photo of said delicacy, when they would collect points that could be redeemed against a (much nicer looking) Domino’s pizza. This off-center idea paid off – on Super Bowl Sunday, the app moved up a whopping 158 ranks on the previous week. 

 

dominos loyalty appDomino’s loyalty app 

Post Super Bowl, Domino’s app continues to drive downloads and customer engagement offering:

  • Order tracking with Pizza Tracker – tells users where their pizza is in the delivery process.
  • Customization – customers can create their own pizza, however they want it.
  • Rewards – One of the most generous rewards programs, free pizzas are pretty easy to come by – and not the one-freebie-a-year so prevalent across the industry. 
  • Our favorite, Dom, the in-app equivalent of Alexa, means customers can order the way they would in an outlet – by talking. 
  • Easy ordering based on purchase history.

It’s worth noting that Domino’s success has digital transformation written all over it – no technology is an island, and they’ve been busy not just with their loyalty scheme but with a whole host of digital initiatives that are paying dividends: voice-based tech and self-driving delivery vehicles being our favorites. Key takeaway? Meet your audience where they are and the rest will take care of itself. 

Globally, consumers sourced food & drinks through apps 130% more often in 2018 than 2016

Starbucks 

A piece on QSR loyalty apps wouldn’t be complete without Starbucks. Try as we might, we can’t get away from the fact that the coffee behemoth smashes it on every level when it comes to their rewards program – and the results speak for themselves: 48% of smartphone users who regularly use QSR rewards apps use Starbucks Rewards. 

starbucks loyalty appStarbucks Rewards App

Last year, Starbucks reported an increase of $2.65 billion in revenues, attributing most of that success to their rewards program. Not convinced? Over the last two years, Starbucks Rewards membership has grown more than 25%; 16 million loyal customers are in the Starbucks’ membership program which now accounts for around 40% of sales at their US outlets. Someone, somewhere is doing something right … CEO Kevin Johnson is clear about the reasons for this monumental success: “… a more seamless customer onboarding experience, greater mobile order-and-pay adoption, and enhanced personalization features”. Let’s take a look at what makes this the holy grail of QSR rewards apps:

A personalized brand experience – The epitome of a personalized mobile experience, the Starbucks Rewards app has it all – from telling users what’s “Now Playing” in the Starbucks store they’re in, to where their nearest outlet is to recalling a favorite order, this is all about the customer, just as it should be …

  • Mobile Order-and-Pay – the ability to order your coffee ahead and skip the queue when you get there to collect is one of the most popular app functions; the app also provides quick access to the Starbucks Card, moving customers through the queue even faster and without them ever having to reach for their wallet. Seamless customer experience? Check!
  • Speaking of ordering, the mobile ordering platform doubles as a smart digital marketing tool, enabling customers to see new products before they’re launched. 
  • The gamification of rewards – Customers win stars each time they pay with their app, as well as giving members “challenges” which can earn additional stars to use towards free food and drinks. App engagement? Check!
  • A geo-location feature means customers can find out where their nearest Starbucks locations are, the menu available at each location, and of course, the ability to order ahead so you can pick up when you get there. Helpful? Check!
  • Starbucks card management – customers can check their Starbucks card to find out their balance, transfer money between cards, top-up their balance, pay for food and drink at Starbucks outlets, see payments history, collect stars for rewards, and even leave tips (our favorite). A flawless brand experience? Check!

Challengers

Of course, the big brands are the ones which make the biggest noise- but we’d be wrong if we think that big means better. Challenger brands too have been busy when it comes to loyalty. If anything, they perhaps understand more the importance of putting their customers first, grokking the necessity of relationship over retention and driving meaningful connection across an increasingly remote digital space. The result? Why, loyalty of course! And here’s our pick of the bunch …

Second Cup

The Second Cup Coffee Co. – now in the process of transitioning to new name “Aegis Brands” – is the largest specialty coffee retailer in Canada with over 240 outlets and a very loyal fanbase. Providing Canada’s coffee-loving contingent with over one million drinks every week, from over seven thousand pounds of fair-trade coffee every day, this challenger brand knows how to keep its fanbase happy. Launching their loyalty app in 2015, Second Cup customers today enjoy a loyalty app that offers points for beverages, tailored product offerings; order-ahead and mobile payments functionality and the nice gamification of rewards acquisition. You can read all about it right here.

second cup loyalty appSecond Cup Loyalty app

Menchies

Our next pick of the challengers is Menchies, fro-yo superstars that are no strangers to innovation when it comes to looking after customers. Today, their highly successful mySmileage loyalty program continues to smash expectations, boosting customer count, driving new revenue streams and rightly earning their place on the loyalty leader board of the challengers. The figures speak for themselves; over 13 million mySmileage members, a whopping 17% average ticket lift and a 50% increase in customer frequency, driven by the smart rewards features in the mySmileage app. ‘Smiles’ points collection, a $5.00 birthday credit; personalized offers and discounts; a Menchie’s payment account, store locator and e-Gift cards – you can learn more about Menchies mySmileage app here

Menchies loyalty appMenchies Smileage loyalty app 

Pizza Pizza

In 2013 Pizza Pizza launched their Club-11-11 loyalty program, the first ever app for ordering pizza in Canada – result! Since then, their loyalty program has gone from strength to strength, powering impressive results across transactions, digital sales and repeat visits over any other touchpoint.

pizza pizza loyalty appThe Pizza Pizza rewards app

Value-add features such as order ahead and order tracking, outlet location, payments functionality, weekly deals and gamification of the ordering process (users can opt to play a game on closure of an order and can win a free item with their next one) keep Pizza Pizza customers engaged and coming back for more. 

Big brands or challengers, QSRs are leveraging mobile strategically to both reach and engage their customers through their smartphones – the devices that never leave the side of these customers. That’s one of the reasons that in 2018 we spent 140% more time in food and drink apps than in the two years prior. But access to, and growth of, mobile technology doesn’t a great rewards app make – this particular ecosystem is about simplicity, efficiency and the myriad on-the-move benefits that put ME at the center of the brand experience. A brand experience that must be relevant, personalized and bridge the (increasingly diminishing) gaps between the real and digital worlds. 

87% of companies are primarily using Loyalty data to optimize member experience, 60% for measurement and forecasting, and 48% for marketing (LoyaltyOne)

The best loyalty programs and apps which manage to successfully create these bridges must provide customers with value – such as the super-convenient pay-and-collect facility, the gamification of relevant, niche rewards, or the personalization of the purchase experience. It’s that satisfying, seamless, engaging customer experience that meets all of the demands of a new digital audience – and the digital brands that are ready to embrace it. And it’s not all about the customer (I know, sacrilege!) For brands ready to take on the mobile marketplace, the rewards are there too. The big data gleaned from doing business in the loyalty app space means the ability to create personalized digital marketing campaigns that can both reduce spend and increase ROI. Sounds like a win-win to us …

What to do Next…

To offer users a better experience on your app, create loyalty and see results like these brands there needs to be a focus on retention and engagement after customer acquisition.  Kumulos gives you the tools to understand user behavior and send relevant, highly targeted, personalized content. Connect with users, create loyalty and boost retention. Use built-in analytics to gain a deep understanding of your audience, better your campaigns and create amazing UX. Book a demo of our award winning messaging platform and see how Kumulos can create real business results for your app.

QSRs, Mobile and Customer Rewards | The threesome that’s redefining loyalty | 2/3

Pizza Loyalty App

Part Two: Why mobile – and what makes a good rewards app

In last week’s opener, we talked about the history of loyalty, and how you pretty much have to nail it in today’s rapidly evolving QSR sector if you’re planning on being around for the long-haul. Today, it’s all about loyalty on your mobile – our favourite! – and what a great rewards app looks like. If you’re in the QSR sector and looking to loyalty to drive customer retention, today might just be your lucky day …

What’s so great about mobile anyway?

Here’s an interesting fact: according to the Pew Research Centre, a huge 20% of Americans primarily use their smartphones instead of having internet access at home – and we’re not just surfing. We’re spending around two hours every day using apps – to play, to share, to email, to message and to shop. What’s more, we use our phones during every stage of the shopping process – from discovering what’s out there to sourcing reviews, to performing price comparisons to making the actual purchase. We don’t just do it in our armchairs either, we’re doing it in the store, or walking to work, or on the train, or before we turn the lights off for the night… in fact, all the time … See where we’re going with this? Yep – rewards programs matter and are a super-charged, highly effective way to attract and retain brand evangelists, what’s more, mobile is the single best vehicle for doing so. Bottom line? Including a mobile-first strategy in your plan for rewards domination is a no-brainer – unless you plan on not being around in 5 years time. 

Unlike the loyalty drivers of yesteryear, mobile isn’t going anywhere. You’ve only got to look around you to know that wherever we’re headed on this spinning cybernated sphere that our mobile devices will be coming with us:

  • The global mobile population amounts to around 4 billion unique users 
  • As of February 2019, mobile devices accounted for 48 per cent of web page views globally
  • Around 2 billion people made purchases from a mobile device in 2019,
  • With around 95% of consumers conducting research via their mobile device before completing an in-store or online checkout. 
  • About $1 in every $4 generated in e-commerce comes via mobile, with annual spending figure surpassing $35 billion.
  • Searches for branded restaurant apps which enable reservations, tracking orders, and discounts have grown 120% YoY.

In 2018, we Americans spent 140% more time using food and drink apps than during the two years before. Why? Well for a start, there are simply more food and drink apps out there, but we’re also a demanding bunch. We want convenience (with bells and whistles, thanks) and the restaurants are listening. 

Brands spend up to 11 times more on recruiting new customers than retaining existing ones (Brand Keys)

Being able to order ahead and being rewarded for our custom is a compelling proposition which we really really like. The apps that answer our convenience cries provide value, but they also provide a bridge between a brand’s physical presence and their digital one, which means that wherever we are, our favourite QSR brands can meet us right there. If you’re a QSR looking to drive repeat business and loyalty from your customers, it’s time to start steering the future of your brand in the winning direction: meaningful, momentous – and mobile.

What makes a QSR app a great  QSR app?

For a loyalty program to find an enviable level of success, there are a number of factors that need to be considered. Customers are generally happier with a rewards app when there are few requirements as possible at their side to accrue and activate their rewards and when the whole app experience is as quick as possible. These are non-negotiable standard elements of any app worth its salt. No one wants to be spending more time than they need to glean what they need from your app – gaming being the only exception. QSRs need to aim for a level of personalization that feels niche, not mass.

  • Personalization that feels genuinely personal, relevant and which feels unique to the customer.

Personalization is one of the most persuasive tools in a successful reward app – both for you and for your customers. For you, the enormous potential of reams of customer data around their preferences and behaviors means you have the golden ticket that allows you to tailor your brand experience to each of your customers – you’re happy, your customers are happy, and you’ll also have the intel to hand that allows you to innovate with new products and services that you know your audience is looking for.  

  • The ability for customers to accept or reject offers 

Again, it’s an intel thing. Providing your customers with a selection of rewards which they can either accept or reject, you learn what type of offers your customers prefer and those which they’ll actually use. Over time, you can fine-tune your offers, and your customers get more of what they like. That means there’s a higher chance of them using their rewards, powering brand loyalty and ensuring that stickiness the clever rewards programs are known for. 

  • Providing personal recommendations based on a customer’s purchase history

Not everything in life has to be free – sometimes a personalised recommendation goes a long way to building brand loyalty too. Got a new product that big data has told you will be a sure-fire hit with some customers? Pushing these recommendations via your rewards app will help drive sales – with money off the next purchase if your audience is willing to provide a review of said product (you’re welcome).

  • Being notified when new products or services are launched 

Akin to the personal recommendations above, the ability to notify customers when you launch new products or services can be a great way to engage your audience base via your loyalty app. These notifications need to be relevant – as a vegetarian, I probably don’t want to be notified when you’ve put that new Big Bison Burger on the menu.

  • The ability to view detailed information on products

This one seems a bit ‘meh’ – but bear with me. In a world where suddenly everyone’s taking a vested interest in what goes into the food that they eat, its provenance, production, environmental and sustainability credentials, you bet I want to know what’s in that dairy-free cream bun, and if I’m helping or hindering the planet by eating it. Not critical, but hey, we’re talking loyalty here and my loyalties are to cleaner, greener, transparent businesses that are vocal about their social responsibility. It may not be big now, but who wants to be a follower when you lead by example?

  • Redeem rewards on relevant products and services – that is, personalized!

Your loyalty app should allow customers to redeem their rewards via the app – on products and services that are relevant to that customer. There’s little point at all in amassing a shed load of rewards on coffee that as a tea-drinker  I’ll never purchase, or services that I’ll never use (like that discounted delivery service that feels rather pointless when I can walk to your outlet in less than 60 seconds).

  • The ability to order products and/or services via the app  

… and the functionality to receive updates about order status. QSRs by their very nature are fast when it comes to service. But today’s consumer wants everything yesterday and waiting in a queue for more than 60 seconds can cause symptoms ranging from mild irritation to murderous rage (I speak from experience). As such, it makes sense for your loyalty app to provide the twitchy customer with the ability to order in advance and collect when turning up. You win for being an easy brand experience, and your customer wins for avoiding an uncomfortable restaurant rage incident.

  • Make it easy to settle the check

Ordering to collect, then having to wait ten minutes to pay while your staff struggle with the lunchtime rush makes absolutely no sense at all. Not only will the customer lose all sense of that warm, fuzzy jump-the- queue joy they experienced by being able to click-and-collect, you’ll also risk losing their custom to the outlet that bothered to make the whole purchase experience a seamless, irritation-free ride.

  • Location-based offers 

Make sure that rewards are relevant. Giving your customers a choice of how to engage with you, whether it’s via mobile, social or another platform, increases the likelihood of engagement.

The results are in … as more QSR brands embrace loyalty, the customer experience improves. And as the technologies that power our digital lives continue to advance, allowing brands to connect with customers in truly value-add, meaningful ways, mobile will undoubtedly be a core driver of this new customer-centric approach to growth. Already, the big QSR brands are making bigger waves across their customer base with their rewards apps – growing revenues, driving loyalty and laying the foundations of a truly mobile future. Who’s blowing the competition out of the water, doing rewards right, and strengthening their position in an increasingly crowded space? Check back next week to find out!

What to do next

Kumulos award winning omni-channel messaging gives you the platform to engage your audience and create loyal customers. Send rich, interactive push notifications that are personal and relevant to the user. Target the right users, in the right location, at the right time and optimize retention. Book your demo today and see how Kumulos can deliver real business results for your app.

Read Part Three: ‘Who’s Smashing It’ here.

QSRs, Mobile and Customer Rewards | The threesome that’s redefining loyalty | 1/3

starbucks loyalty card

Part One: The history – and importance – of customer loyalty 

 

Megacity, small city, town or edge-of-town, few of us can step out of our own front door these days and walk but a short few steps before encountering an artisan coffee shop, pop-up pie stall or concept cake outlet. It seems everyone’s offering us a piece of their pie; but whilst many of these new cafe staples can bring tears to the eyes of traditionalists, competition for your loyalty to our new foodie overlords is fierce. It’s also just one reason why customer loyalty strategies sit at the very epicentre of their business models: if they fail to get your repeat business, wave bye-bye to that free turmeric latte next time you’re passing.

4 out of 5 people are more likely to engage with a brand that offers incentives (Loyalty360)

For cafés, fast food drive-thrus and other quick service restaurants, repeat business is critical for long-term success: it costs a business between five and twenty-five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to sell to an existing one. What’s more, existing customers spend on average nearly 70%  more than new customers. Key takeaway – customer loyalty matters — and well-planned, well-executed customer loyalty schemes will usually end up paying for themselves. 

But hold your horses – it’s not as easy as printing a few stamp-cards and waiting for the stampede (no pun intended). It’s just that that loyalty is getting trickier and trickier to acquire the more crowded the sector becomes. Sure, a one-off donut purchase is great, but it’s hardly going to pave your drive-thru with gold, and nor is it going to have customers banging down your door for bags of the things for the next 20 years. No – it’s your devotees who sustain your business, and this fact of QSR life isn’t likely to be usurped any time in the future. Let’s tarry here for a second to emphasise:

  • Loyal customers convert and spend more often with brands that they like than the ones they’re indifferent about (or of course, actively dislike).
  • Loyal customers spend more than brand sluts (hey, don’t blame me – it’s a thing).
  • Loyal customers tell anyone and everyone about positive – and especially negative – brand experiences … 

So what does reward look like for these loyal followers? Frequent purchase stamps, booking priorities, a free (extra large for me please) bag of fries or a custom-built 4-storey pizza of your choice – these kinds of loyalty programs are good at getting us back through the door for more, but how hard are they really working for the brands that run them, and could they be doing better? Hell, yes! A lot better!
According to GartnerL2 research, 82% of US adults say they’re loyal to certain brands. That’s a lot of loyalty, but although many QSRs believe that their customers are salivating to buy into every loyalty program on the go, the fact is that only just over a quarter of us ever do – and another quarter of us don’t bother with loyalty programs at all. What’s more, only 27% of us think that the offers we get through these loyalty programs are actually relevant to us. In fact, these miserable figures are enough to make a brand think that loyalty probably isn’t that important anyway. Surely you’d be better off investing in other more profitable areas of your QSR business? Well maybe not … 

A (very) brief history of loyalty …

Loyalty programs have come a long way since the Donny Osmond Fan Club’s purple lollipop giveaways to loyal fans circa 1974 (don’t ask me how I know). But if Donny doesn’t tick your boxes (what’s wrong with you?), what about Green Shield Stamps, Air Miles or the coupons on the top of cereal cartons and cookie boxes – all early(ish) examples of brands attempting to drive loyalty across their customer base, and all operating in an internet-less, mobile-void world. Today, the world around us is a different beast, driven by digital and a very new world order – though sadly minus Donny and his lollipops.

stamp saver book

… and Loyalty in 2020

In my purse today, a Target, Walmart and Starbucks card selection, and a drawer full of others at home. I’ve also got over a dozen coupons to use at various malls, restaurants and leisure venues uptown, but I’m willing to bet I’ll never get round to using any of them. Traditional loyalty programs like these might sound good on paper ( does anyone use that these days?) but in reality, they’re just putting obstacles in our path. Forgot your card? Too bad – it’s full-price coffee for you today. Didn’t remember you have a $5 off coupon gathering cobwebs in your wallet? Sorry, love don’t live here anymore. Small wonder these programs do little for their creators. Sure, your customers might still be spending money with you, or maybe they got a better, more valuable deal elsewhere. But either way, how would you know what your customers are doing without the intel these programs are meant to gather? 

91% of consumers suggest that omnichannel experiences are either important or critical, with 29% suggesting that companies should be where I want when I want, ready to share and communicate how I expect (CMO)

And yet, the well-planned, well-executed Loyalty programs work – for business, for customers and for the bottom line. The best of the bunch mix a robust understanding of customer behavior, a seamless brand experience across each touchpoint they’ll find you, and valuable, relevant rewards that give consumers a reason to stick with you. If you think loyalty’s for the marketing department with too much time on their hands, it might be time for a rethink:

You’ll find it easier – a lot easier – to retain and engage your customer base. Elements such as gamification through points and rewards will give your audience reasons to keep coming back to your app. It’s not all about the purchase – engaging your customers beyond a mere transaction is the name of the game. 

You’ll save money, and likely a shed-load.  As we’ve already pointed out, it costs a business far more to acquire new customers (five – twenty-five times more)  than it does to sell to an existing one. 

Over time, you’ll find you can stop competing on price – instead, this new playing field will see you enhancing the customer experience of your brand by connecting with them on far more meaningful, value-add terms. 

You’ll enhance your CLV – or customer lifetime value. The data gleaned from your rewards program will mean that over time you’ll be able to calculate the CLV for each and every one of your customers and build out a business model which focuses on strategies to engage and retain them over the long-haul.

And you’ll inadvertently create brand advocates – OK, so maybe not inadvertently, but word-of-mouth is the key factor for between twenty and fifty percent of all purchasing decisions (Branderati), and  73% of millennials feel it’s their responsibility to help friends and family to make smarter purchasing decisions (the pressure!), you better be on that list of recommendations.  

Convinced? You should be!  Loyalty programs have moved on,  now a crucial element of the successful QSR business model that’s delivering massive opportunities for growth and longevity in an increasingly crowded marketplace. The numbers speak for themselves – Starbucks rewards program has seen them add two million active users to the scheme in just twelve months; Chipotle’s loyalty program and accompanying app have seen the enterprise practically double its digital sales since launch, and Domino’s stratospheric leap up the app charts with it’s For the Love of Pizza loyalty campaign, has yet to be beaten. If you’re ready to bring the love to loyalty, check back next week to find out what mobile’s got to bring to the rewards party, and what your loyalty app needs to do to keep that love alive.

What to Do Next…

At Kumulos we understand what it takes to retain and engage users on loyalty apps. Our award winning omni-channel messaging platform gives you the tools to target the right users, in the right location at the right time. Book your demo today and see how Kumulos can deliver real business results for apps.

Read Part Two ‘Why Mobile – and what makes a good rewards app’ here.