Op-Ed: Mobile Will Finally Bring Loyalty Programs Up To Speed

Op-Ed: Mobile Will Finally Bring Loyalty Programs Up To Speed
Brand Activation & Immersion

Despite innovations in payment, retail loyalty programs are lagging behind—technologist David de la Peña makes a case for reinvigorating them with mobile

PSFK Op-Eds
  • 21 march 2018

Loyalty points. Contactless. Bitcoin. The way we pay is developing at a ludicrously innovative pace, but one element of the retail experience lags behind: loyalty. However, this may be about to change. Android Pay and Google Wallet have unified the user experience by merging into Google Pay, providing a platform not just for cashless transactions, but for a digitized loyalty experience that will finally kick loyalty programs into the future.

Google Wallet already had loyalty cards available, but it was essentially just a big old wallet on your mobile. With Google Pay, the app nudges you to redeem loyalty points—because how many times have you forgotten to scan your physical loyalty token at the supermarket, buried seven cards deep?

Digital is grossly underutilized in this arena. We’re still engaging with loyalty programs via paper vouchers, physical reward stamps and letters through the post, so something like this is long overdue.

Mobile wallets are where loyalty is really going to make an impact because you always have your mobile on you. When you go on a walk around the block, you might not bring your purse or wallet, but you’ll almost certainly bring your phone along. We rely on these devices to run our lives, and it’s here where digital is carving out the future.

Because digital is a tool, used to craft real experiences and massive frameworks. It’s not a distraction. It’s an integral part of everyday life and business. As such, digital can—and should—be used to further augment the real-life shopping experience.

Bink takes the promise of Google Wallet, but integrates loyalty and payments further. The app stores all of your loyalty cards on your mobile, links them to your payment cards, then allows you to physically shop as you normally would with your phone, picking up points every time you’re eligible. It boasts a user-friendly interface that lets you check in on your rewards and points, rather than having you fiddle about on the respective retailers’ websites trying to figure out which of your children/pets is your password this time around. You’ll never miss out. It’s a wonder why bigger retailers have never trialled something like this.

Loyalty schemes have to go beyond just transaction, like physical stores have done with immersive experiences. We need to look at how we can use the digital side to make the physical more rewarding and more convenient. When developing loyalty experiences, we have to ask how the physical experience can influence and improve the online experience. For example, how can AI harness our loyalty data, analyze it and do an even better job than we can do manually?

Proximity marketing is a go-to method here. Developers need to be thinking about getting to the point where your rewards change depending on where you fill your car up, through your car. Offers could be triggered by complementary brand purchases. The power of immersive, all-encompassing advertising and brand experience offers such an opportunity for this kind of activity.

For example, the London Underground’s new Elizabeth Line is being designed with advertising specifically in mind, with 10 new, OOH-heavy stations being built to support it. Transport For London is also hoping to enable its network with 4G and Wi-Fi by 2019, serving as the perfect opportunity for brands investing in the Elizabeth Line.

Only six brands will prevail in an exclusive partnership deal. Just think of that. One of six brands, privy to people’s movements on their daily commutes. Mobile payments are becoming increasingly common on the underground—you might lose your Oyster card, but your phone’s always closely guarded.

If brands can link all this information, where you went, where you’re going, how long you spend staring at posters and um-ing and ah-ing over whether to buy a coffee, then they can do incredible things with loyalty. If they know where you are, your schedule, your behavior, across a multitude of devices, then surely they should be able to offer you more in terms of points, promotions and rewards. And not just underground. Overground, on the street, on the bus, in the shops, online, in your home. Everywhere.

This will lead to a hyper-personalized loyalty experience. Not hyper-personalized in the sensationalist, marketing way—getting your name in the Alien: Covenant trailer was fun, yes, but it didn’t actually offer you much. When digital truly aligns with experiential, in-store offerings and everyday movements, the savviest retailers and brands will use AI to streamline offers and enhance in-store events and promotions. Consumers will consider targeted, personalized rewards the norm—something they’ll actively engage with and get excited about. Once this happens, loyalty schemes will transform from a nice-to-have into a brand’s ultimate marketing tool.

David de la Peña is head of technology at digital creative agency Dare. With 15 years of experience leading award-winning digital teams across a CV including Saatchi & Saatchi, Agency Republic and Isobar, David’s work revolves around shaping technical strategy, honing technical delivery processes and innovating within the digital space.


Lead Image: Jonas Leupe | Unsplash

Loyalty points. Contactless. Bitcoin. The way we pay is developing at a ludicrously innovative pace, but one element of the retail experience lags behind: loyalty. However, this may be about to change. Android Pay and Google Wallet have unified the user experience by merging into Google Pay, providing a platform not just for cashless transactions, but for a digitized loyalty experience that will finally kick loyalty programs into the future.

+advertising
+Automotive
+Brand Immersion
+Brand Introduction
+children
+cities
+contactless payment
+Delivery
+Europe
+financial services
+Frictionless Transaction
+Google
+home
+Marketing
+mobile
+Mobile
+op-ed
+personalization
+Personalized Loyalty
+Public
+retail
+Seamless Delivery
+Store Expression
+technology
+UK
+work

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