Today, the average household has joined 29 loyalty programs, but only actively participates in 12. Some merchants are going the mobile phone loyalty app route. But consider that there are over 1.5 million apps out there. Mobile users only download really important, relevant apps. On average that is 20-50 apps per phone. And users delete unused apps. With these hurdles, how does a smaller, less known or less frequented business get into loyalty without being one of the 17 abandoned loyalty programs or deleted apps?
The key to starting any loyalty program is enrolling members. If it is too hard, they won’t enroll. Asking customers to download an app for any merchant other that Starbucks or Walgreens is asking a lot. Maybe early adopters will hurdle the obstacle. But what about the other 90% of the customers who want to be loyal, but are unwilling to make the effort to download?
And once enrolled, declining engagement is a serious problem for loyalty programs. Does that customer really want to take 4 steps to earn points?
- Pay, then
- Pull out phone
- Open the merchant’s loyalty app
- Show the mobile loyalty app to the clerk or scan it
That is a lot of work! If earning points and redemption is too hard, the app is getting deleted.
There is a better way . . . linking the customer’s own payment card to the merchant’s loyalty program. Loyalty should be part of simply paying. Every time a customer pays with the customer’s own credit or debit card, they should earn points for that merchant’s loyalty program. Redeeming the merchant reward should be as simple as paying normally with the enrolled credit card.
It has to be easy. That means no app. That is card linked loyalty.