How Digital Payment Transforms Customer Loyalty Programs

Digital Payments Transform Customer Loyalty Programs

A Guest Post by

At the Intersection of Loyalty, Digital Payments, and Mobile Apps

Barry Kirk and Ashley Tate, VP of Loyalty Strategy for Maritz Motivation Solutions and Director of Marketing for BigDoor, respectively, were interviewed by Clark Buckner, podcast host for TechnologyAdvice. In this interview summary excerpt, Kirk and Tate discussed digital payment options like Apple Pay and Google Wallet and how these transformative technologies will change customer loyalty programs.

The Convenience of Digital Payments in Loyalty Apps

Tate said, “Apple Pay and other similar mobile payment strategies [are] really going to shape the way that customers not only redeem their points, but how they earn them.” Because of its ease of accessibility, brands that opt to use mobile apps in their rewards programs stand to win more customers. Essentially, such loyalty consumers are carrying a brand’s loyalty program with them wherever they go.

Kirk echoed Tate’s thoughts, noting that his phone is less often in his pocket than it is in his hand. With such quick, direct, and consistent access, loyalty program brands that don’t currently have a mobile app ought to be considering developing one soon. Kirk mentioned that he’d been using mobile payments for the last year through Starbucks’ mobile app. He appreciated its ease of use and the fact that he could both pay for his coffee and redeem his rewards from the same app.

Tate said that “Google Wallet is getting close to making [physical] cards obsolete,” though Kirk cautions that such non-proprietary mobile apps could cause brand dilution because a company is placing their cards within a “bunch of other stuff in [a consumer’s] wallet.” 

The Necessity of a Mobile App for Loyalty Programs 

Both Tate and Kirk agree on the high need for loyalty reward brands to have their own proprietary apps, noting that mobile-friendly sites typically aren’t visited and are often useless when it comes to earning and redeeming rewards on-the-go. Tate describes how such loyalty mobile apps are highly beneficial:

I think mobile apps have been one of the greatest tools that brands with loyalty programs can leverage in order to help keep their program members up-to-date on what’s going on—not just with their program but with the brand as well.

Kirk agrees, but brings the need for a mobile app back to an essential part of every loyalty rewards program: increasing loyalty.

 Don’t forget what this was all about in beginning—tightening my relationship with your brand so that loyalty is furthered …. Don’t lose the essence of your brand by adopting some technology that is more third-party and is not really reflected back on who you are and the message you want to send in the first place. 

In other words, a customer rewards program looking to create an appealing and useful mobile app needs to design it with both the brand and the customer always in mind. The end goal ought to be better engagement for increasingly more loyal customers. 

To learn more about customer rewards programs and how open currency plays a role in today’s loyalty programs, listen to the entire TechnologyAdvice podcast.

TechnologyAdvice provides expert software comparisons on gamification platforms, top customer loyalty solutions, employee engagement tools and much more. Also, be sure to check out their Technology Conferences Calendar.

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