Mobile Web Advantage #6: The Mobile Web Builds on Existing Customer Relationships

September 22nd, 2011 by

This is the last post of the Mobile Web Advantage series that we kicked off recently.  In this final post, we will examine the final benefit, that the mobile web builds on existing customer relationships. Customers who already know and love your products and services will be happy to see you are on the “small screen” and willing to interact with your brand on the mobile web.  According to a study done by Hipcricket, 40% of consumers would subscribe to a mobile loyalty club with a brand they already trust.  This receptiveness enables marketers to enhance their existing loyalty programs, thus extending their level of engagement with existing customers and attracting new customers via special offers and promotions.

Some brands work to build their brand loyalty with existing customers through frequent promotions, and others through exclusive special offers.  Adding the mobile web to this process enables brands to increase their customers’ participation in these promotions and maintain stickiness with the loyalty program.  Since customers do not always have their PC’s with them, it is imperative that brands provide a method for users to interact with their loyalty programs while on the go. With a mobile website such interactions are quick, seamless and build on existing customer habits. For example, PC-based customers are accustomed to a one-click connection between a special offer’s link and its landing page. Delivering this same experience to your customers via their mobile device is essential.

One way to do this is with email. Marketers have been sending email-based loyalty correspondence for years. With the addition of a mobile-optimized site to an email, customers who open these communications on their mobile device can view and act on an offer immediately. This is especially important for time-sensitive promotions, which are designed to encourage spontaneity  and impulsive behavior. To illustrate, let’s take a look at daily deals and flash sales companies who drive their members to buy deeply discounted offers before either the inventory sells out or the clock strikes midnight. Both Groupon and Gilt.com are great examples of this use-case. When you open their daily emails on your mobile device and tap on any of the offers, you will be seamlessly redirected to the corresponding page within their mobile website, where you can review the offer details, check out the pictures and quickly purchase. If Groupon or Gilt didn’t enable quick action, the customer would probably forget to buy the deal, miss out on the offer, and  switch to a competitive site the next day. After all, what’s the point of receiving email offers if you can not act-upon them?

Loyalty programs can also be enhanced with SMS notifications, which typically point customers to a campaign-designated mobile site. There, consumers can retrieve a coupon, enter a sweepstakes, or access a special offer. This enables companies to attract new customers, as well as build a deeper relationship with existing ones. Large consumer product brands, such as Coca-Cola, have begun to take advantage of this. Their My Coke Rewards program allows users to text in number-code obtained from the purchased bottle. Consumers can then access their loyalty account on a mobile website, and use the points to purchase rewards, donate to charity, or enter a sweepstakes such as the current “To the Extreme” ski vacation contest, which requires 3 loyalty points (e.g. 3 bottles of Coke) to enter.

In addition to email loyalty programs, direct mail catalogs have also been effective instruments for nurturing customer relationships. They can leverage the mobile web as well, via QR codes.  Take Bloomingdale’s, for example, who periodically sends their customers catalogs with information about special in-store events and the latest fashion trends. The upscale retailer, recently  started sprinkling its pages with QR codes, which direct shoppers to the Bloomingdale’s m-commerce site, as well as to a variety of campaign-oriented mobile sites that feature how-to videos, picture galleries and sweepstakes opportunities.

Bloomingdales QR campaign

So however your brand loyalty program is delivered, the mobile web builds on existing customer relationships when they are on the go. With a mobile website, your loyalty program will continue to provide a quick, seamless, one-click connection to your offerings. Compare this to a mobile application which requires time to download and install, as well as multiple clicks to open and navigate to your offering. With competitors constantly vying for your customers’ loyalty, there is simply no comparison. Fail to provide this one-click standard and existing customers may become distant, or even worse, disloyal!

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