One of the biggest hurdles to consumers joining and participating in retail loyalty programs is that their wallet is filled with cards and keychain is already jammed with tags. However, several new and emerging applications could help overcome that objection.
By digitizing store-branded membership cards, these platforms help consumers manage their cards and offers on their smartphones, and enable retailers to provide personalized offers in a channel preferred by a growing number of shoppers.
The most successful digital card program to date is CardStar, which allows iPhone users to store and retrieve their membership and loyalty cards from a list of more than 200 merchants, including Blockbuster, Best Buy, CVS, Petsmart and Staples. The CardStar platform is designed to replace the cards in a consumer’s wallet. To digitize a card, consumers just enter a merchant name and the barcode number associated with their loyalty membership. At checkout, consumers pull up the onscreen barcode and use. CardStar’s unique SyncScan technology to renders one-dimensional (1D) barcodes.
Through CardStar, merchants can send coupons and personalized offers to consumers at the right time, at the right place, and on the right device. In addition to the iPhone app, CardStar is also developing the same app for Android and Blackberry customers.
Loyalty As A Service
While CardStar mobilizes the loyalty cards for already establish programs, the new Mobile Loyalty Solution from the Enterprise Mobility Solutions division of Motorola, can act as an extension to an existing retail loyalty program or serve as an alternative option for retailers looking to create a new program.
Delivered as a managed service, the solution is designed to provide customers with a more convenient shopping experience by offering access to the best offers and discounts on products that interest them.
Compatible with most mobile phones in the US market, the Motorola program is designed to enable retailers to proactively send offers and incentives to the customer’s mobile phone.
By mobilizing the card, Motorola is hoping retailers will have the opportunity to increase program participation, and shoppers will be rewarded with special offers, more convenient access to customized coupons and a quicker check-out experience.
Customers can opt in to the Motorola program online or in the store by text messaging a short code to indicate interest in receiving offers on their mobile phone. Customers then receive an application with a bar code on their mobile phone that acts as the shopper’s unique identifier or mobile loyalty card and can be scanned at the point of sale. Unlike most loyalty programs, which are tied a home phone number, the Motorola program is designed to be attached a mobile phone number for enable offers down an individual level as opposed to a household.
The solution is designed to approach loyalty with a ”closed-loop” system that allows retailers to maintain a database of shopper product interests, purchase habits and preferences. While Motorola manages distribution to the program members, retailers can focus on creating relevant marketing messages, as well as determining how frequently coupons and offerings are sent.
“Consumer use of the mobile phone is evolving, and its importance during the shopping experience is increasing significantly,” said Dana Warszona, Global Lead for the m-commerce portfolio within Motorola’s Enterprise Mobility Solutions division. “With a growing number of smart phone users and the enhanced capability of their operating platforms, an era where a constant digital connection via a mobile phone enhances the consumer’s shopping experience has begun.”
Epicor Software, a leading provider of retail CRM applications for retail, recently introduced Epicor Retail Mobile Marketing, offering an interactive and personalized marketing channel to target mobile consumers.
Delivered via a partnership with mobile messaging and technology provider Impact Mobile, Inc., the Retail Mobile Marketing program is designed to enable retailers to deliver customized messages, coupons, and promotions to mobile device users.
The solution can be used in house by retailers to support SMS (text messaging) campaigns, distribute mobile coupons, and support a wide range of additional types of promotions. Additionally, Epicor’s Retail CRM Services team will team will be available to assist retailers in creating, managing and launching mobile marketing campaigns via the Epicor Mobile Marketing solution, which can augment existing CRM initiatives or be incorporated as a part of the turnkey execution and management of ongoing CRM campaigns.
“Over the past 18 months this vision has begun to take shape as we have seen a major uptick in interest from retailers in mobile marketing and this unique, rich, one-to-one interactive marketing experience,” said David Henning, Executive VP and GM for Epicor Retail. “As consumers continue to embrace mobile devices, retailers are rushing to leverage mobile marketing because it is extremely timely, customizable, measurable and cost effective, and has a relatively high response rate as compared to other marketing channels.”