Although I’m sure you have the best customer service and products around, to your customers, doing business with you is not a reward unto itself. In 2013 your customers have more options for finding what they want purchase than at any other time since the invention of “99 cents”. With all of these choices your customers feel like they’re doing you a favor by giving you there business; and truth be told, aren’t they? It’s important for you as a business to show appreciation for your customers choosing you.
That’s why loyalty programs should be an integral part of your marketing plan. However, the “business card bowl” or the buy 10 get 1 free punch card will no longer due. The good news is there are several quality mobile apps to help you out with this. Keep in mind, these are apps that you control, I’m not talking about something like Foursquare orYelp! I’m talking about apps that were developed to enable you to engage your customer’s in entirely new ways to encourage their loyalty and frequency of purchases from your business. So without further ado, here are the best customer loyalty apps for currently available:
1. Perka Cost: $35/month
If you’re running a coffee shop, perk level one might garner your customer a free muffin, were as level 10 might get them a week of free coffee. All of this of course in completely up to you as you have the full power to customize your offering via Perka’s web portal. Whereas competing check-in programs reward customers for simply showing up, Perka provides an incentive for customers to actually spend money. This is an extremely cool app and one of my favorites, no doubt.
2. Belly Cost: $79/month (Free trial available)
3. PunchCard Cost: Unknown
What I appreciate most about Punchcard is that they seem to “get” the importance of word of mouth and social media when building a customer loyalty strategy. When asked about the importance of social sharing, Punchcard CEO Andy Steur says:
“Consumers maintain a huge influence over the behaviors of their friends online. Businesses that embrace this fact can take advantage of word of mouth marketing by asking their customers to tweet about their loyalty programs or post about their experiences on Facebook. As an added incentive, businesses can offer to reward their customers with bonus points when they share their check-ins and reviews with friends through social media.”
4. Social Twist Cost: Unknown
- Social solution for couponing and in-store discounts
- Use online strategies to drive offline sales
- Make coupons the incentive for referrals, rather than give them away
- Work with your retail partner to drive more in-store traffic and purchase
- Geo-target specific markets and locations
- Use the SocialTwist social referral platform that comes pre-packaged with workflow and analytics
Social Twist is the logical evolution of “Like Us On Facebook”. It provides a distinct and focused approach to rewarding the people that are advocates for your business. For a more in-depth breakdown of the Social Twist method see the image below.
5. Paywith Cost: Unknown (Free trial available)
“Ultimately, we ended up creating an entirely new type of mobile card (mCard) that has many of the benefits of credit and debit cards, with none of the security concerns or new technology hurdles” -David Strebinger, PayWith founder
These mCards cards can be created by merchants for their customers, by organizations for their members, by groups for their followers and even by individuals for their friends and family. The “mCard CREATOR” can track the purchases, spend, frequency, visits, marketing message, and communications that took place and led to the end consumer transacting in-store or online. I’m not sure that I’m totally sold on this idea of mCards quite yet, however I do applaud Strebinger and his team for being bold and changing the game.
6. SpotOn Cost: Unknown (Free trial available)
SpotOn offers a consumer-facing loyalty platform and a merchant-facing marketing machine. For consumers, SpotOn eliminates the need to carry multiple punch cards with a seamless digital check-in to access rewards and perks. Using SpotOn’s tablet-based dashboard, merchants now have an entirely new and simple way to connect with their customers using social, mobile and email marketing. With one click, merchants can learn more about their customers by viewing typical spend and campaign redemption activity. SpotOn was founded by serial entrepreneurs with decades of experience helping local businesses increase profits with technology solutions.
SpotOn has proven to be wildly popular with customers and businesses large and small. SpotOn’s tablet-based loyalty and marketing technology is already being used by more than 250 business chains in 800 locations, such as Dairy Queen, Chick-Fil-A, and L&L Hawaiian Barbecue restaurants. What I particularly love about SpotOn is that SpotOn provides users with a card that they can then scan at any member merchant to log their visit. When merchants sign up for the service, SpotOn installs a tablet at each location. Customers can then check in while they’re checking out, making it easy, fun, and convenient.
7. Key Ring
Loyalty deserves to be rewarded. As a business owner in the most competitive consumer age the world has ever seen, you need to do whatever it takes to make a first time customer a long term friend of your business. By signing up and using the apps I’ve shown you today, you’re taking big steps towards customer reward success. If you have questions or comments about customer reward strategies, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org