When was the last time you went to the grocery store, visited a library, attended a sporting event or commuted to work and didn’t see someone on a mobile device? Can’t remember? Neither can I.
Mobile technology has become a critical component of American life, and banks have wisely leveraged consumers’ growing affinity for all things digital by offering banking services through online portals and mobile apps. Fewer, however, are maximizing the power of mobile to influence their loyalty programs. In fact, research by Forrester Consulting indicates many are missing out; as of 2016, just 28 percent of banks had integrated mobile apps into their loyalty programs, and a mere 41 percent said they were planning to do so.
Yet the 2017 Bond Loyalty Report makes it clear consumers are ready and willing to embrace the marriage of mobile apps and loyalty: 57 percent of loyalty program members say they would like to be able to interact with their program through their mobile devices. What’s more, numerous organizations outside the financial services industry are already using mobile apps to allow customers to interact with their rewards programs.
If a bank’s mobile app doesn’t allow customers to engage with the institution’s loyalty rewards program, the bank is missing a stellar opportunity to build loyalty, deepen engagement and enhance customer satisfaction.
Americans have embraced mobile technology, including mobile banking. According to the 2016 Federal Reserve Consumers and Mobile Financial Services report:
What does it say that use of mobile devices to interact with loyalty programs doesn’t show up in the Fed’s report? Clearly, the report was meant to focus on how consumers use mobile technology to engage with their financial institutions. Yet mobile loyalty interactions appear to be overlooked.
Now consider these insights into the loyalty landscape from the 2017 Bond Loyalty Report:
Mobile loyalty apps offer numerous advantages for consumers and loyalty marketers, including:
Now, let’s revisit three compelling stats mentioned earlier:
If banks want to maximize the value of their loyalty programs, integrating rewards into their mobile apps seems like an obvious route.
Most banks have apps that allow customers to perform basic banking functions, from checking balances to a growing assortment of payment functions. Some have even begun borrowing a page from FinTech disruptors and now allow customers to at least begin loan application processes through a mobile portal.
For financial institutions that have already embraced the value of mobile technology, incorporating it into their rewards programs should be an organic, logical evolution. The good news is, retail operations like Starbucks and Nike have been successfully using loyalty program apps for years, and financial institutions can learn a lot from what’s worked for other industries.
Here are some best practices to help financial institutions build loyalty program mobile apps:
Consumers have embraced mobile, and most banks have responded by offering transaction-driven mobile apps. In fact, mobile banking has virtually become business as usual for many banks and consumers; as the Fed’s report notes, use of mobile banking continues to increase.
Taking loyalty programs mobile through an app is the next logical — and imperative — step for financial institutions.