Loyalty conference preview: Mobiles could be better utilised in retailers loyalty programmes
Retailers have largely failed to fully involve mobile devices in loyalty programmes, which is a mistake as they are widely seen as the glue that can connect the increasingly complex shopping journeys of todays consumers.By Glynn Davis
Ahead of speaking at the 4th Retail Bulletin Customer Loyalty Conference 2013 on June 12 Steve Moore, head of customer experience at Carphone Warehouse, highlighted the important role mobile can play in loyalty schemes.
“We are moving from a world where people have seen the web as another store to now seeing the online experience as something they can hop in and out of and the mobile is the glue [that links this]. Mobile devices are used before, during and after the transaction,” he suggests.
But despite this increasingly important role Moore believes retailers have generally not used mobile devices as integral parts of their loyalty programmes: “They are trusted for banking and for checking-in for flights etcetera but they are not used for loyalty.”
This represents as surprise to him as they are “probably the thing that we have most conversations with in a day, even more than with our partners and children”, he says adding that mobiles are therefore “not a bad place to have a loyalty conversation”.
This is particularly the case if people are now seeing mobile devices as a lens through which they “see people”. What would undoubtedly help mobile have a more prominent role in loyalty would be a greater utilisation of mobile data.
“If retailers just say ‘you’ve looked at this online, here’s a deal’ then people find it intrusive. It does not feel relevant to consumers because retailers [clearly] can’t recognise them. They do not see the mobile conversation as different to that on a desktop,” says Moore, which leads to a lack of context in the use of the data and it ultimately leading to a weak conversation with the customer.
But he says the data can easily be used to great effect and he points a mobile app that Carphone Warehouse is using to engage with its customers. The Bill Angel app measures people’s usage of their mobile and by monitoring the trajectory of their data usage Carphone can inform them if they are predicted to exceed the amount allowed within their data plan.
The company then has the opportunity to highlight this to the customer who can then pay greater attention to it or visit a Carphone store to discuss their plan. “It’s valuable as it provides the platform for a conversation. It’s an example of a bit of data that has no friction [with the customer] and could be the springboard to a conversation in-store,” explains Moore.
This multi-channel interaction, and the driving of customers into stores, is especially valuable to Carphone as Moore says most consumers prefer to undertake the final transaction in a store. “In our experience the end act by the customer is done in-store for the value of the products we sell.”
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