How to Prepare Your Rewards Program for the Impact of Mobile Commerce

June 6, 2017
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Did you know that the average American checks their phone within 5 minutes of waking up?  By 2016, studies showed that 1 in 4 people were actively using a smartphone, and since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, more and more of our lives are being lived on our screens.  With these stats in mind, it’s no surprise that many of the tasks we perform are making the move to mobile, and commerce is no exception.

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Mobile commerce - or m-commerce, for short - has been picking up speed over the last 5 years and big brands are taking notice.  Earlier this year, Shopify revealed that more than 58% of their transactions are made on mobile, and this is just the beginning. Mobile payment transactions are expected to increase to $434,48 million by the end of 2021.  

impact of mobile commerce  mobile vs desktop shopify

With this much revenue on the line, it’s clear that the impact of mobile commerce will be felt for years to come.  Today, it’s no longer acceptable for any part of your online experience to be lacking on mobile devices.  In reality, those types of oversights are what will cost you new and existing customers, as consumers are twice as likely to talk about their negative experiences than their positive ones.

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In the past, a site that wasn’t mobile friendly was an inconvenience - today, it’s incomplete. The key, then, is to position your brand as an exceptional experience no matter where a customer interacts with it.

 

The Marketing Impact of M-Commerce

The key to any good marketing campaign is meeting your customers where they are which makes social media marketing an incredibly powerful tool. Luckily, applications like Instagram are designing new and innovative ways for brands to interact with their customers on mobile.  Tactics like this can cover the acquisition side of your marketing strategy but, as we’ve discussed before, acquisition is most effective when combined with an equally powerful retention strategy.  

impact of mobile commerce loyalty as acquisition

Retention strategies can take a number of different forms, including discounts, personalization, and exceptional customer service.  However, the best way to get the most out of each of these tools is by combining them into a rewards program.  Don’t take my word for it: research shows that mobile shoppers tend to buy items they’re familiar with and purchase regularly, making them the perfect candidates to join and benefit from a rewards program that rewards for repeat purchases.

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By playing to your mobile customers’ habitual behavior, your rewards program can create a sense of “stickiness” that keeps your customers choosing your brand again and again.  The trick, of course, is offering a rewards experience that meets all  of your customers’ mobile needs.

Luckily, we’ve got the answers you need.

 

Designing the Perfect Mobile Rewards Program

Building a rewards program for mobile doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to be executed properly.  With m-commerce on the rise, your rewards experience needs to rise with it - otherwise, your brand could get left behind. 

Let’s see what it takes to build an unbeatable mobile rewards experience.

 

impact of mobile commerce optimization subtitle

At the rate that m-commerce is growing, customers now expect your mobile experience to be a natural extension of your brand.  Therefore, offering a second-rate experience is one of the quickest ways to damage your brand’s reputation.  Research has shown that 30% of mobile shoppers abandon their transaction if the experience isn’t optimized, and 57% won’t recommend a brand with a poor mobile experience.

impact of mobile commerce abandon transaction optimization

Knowing what constitutes a bad mobile experience is the first step towards improving it.  Three of the biggest considerations are speed, design, and navigation.  On a mobile device, customers have significantly less room to explore and understand the way your store is laid out.  This means that large visual elements like product photography and logos can easily get in the way if not optimized for the device your customer is browsing with.  

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The best way to address this issue with your rewards program is to choose a solution that puts equal emphasis on your program’s mobile experience.  Lucky for you, there are brands that believe in the future of mobile commerce and want to help you seize the opportunity it holds. Smile.io (to pick a completely random example) is committed to helping your brand build a rewards experience that seamlessly translates from desktop to mobile.  With an infrastructure that can handle anything and an easy-to-locate launcher on both mobile and desktop, customers experience the same premium rewards experience no matter which device they’re shopping with.

impact of mobile commerce smile.io CTA

These considerations are sure to improve not only your rewards program but your customer experience as a whole, laying the foundation for unshakeable customer relationships.    

 

impact of mobile commerce enhance brand experience subtitle

Between 2011 and 2015, mobile etail visits grew by over 2000% as smartphones became more affordable and online stores became easier to set up.  Within this increasingly competitive and mobile landscape, customers began to adopt their mobile devices as personal shopping assistants.  

impact of mobile commerce mobile visits increase

With seemingly endless stores at their fingertips, customers found themselves with the power to compare brands, read product descriptions and reviews, and ask for recommendations in seconds.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve pulled up multiple stores on my phone or sent my friends a photo of a product in order to get their opinion.  I’m not unique in this regard, either, as 57% of millennials have reported using our phones to make purchase decisions.

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These interactions have become an invaluable part of my shopping routine.  The good news is, you can leverage these customer behaviors with your rewards program by rewarding customers for adding to these types of exploratory conversations.  Offering incentives for sharing your brand on social media, referring friends to your store, or leaving a product review is an excellent way to create conversations that amplify your customers’ excitement about your brand.  

impact of mobile commerce interiors online social earn

Phones can do a lot of exciting things these days, but they’re still ultimately for communication.  Leveraging these interactions connects your users to each other in enriching ways they couldn’t experience otherwise.  In addition, these profitable actions put a renewed focus on the community surrounding your brand, making it something your customers want to be a part of.  

 

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Your customers’ lives are extremely busy.  Between their families, work, and leisure, they’re looking for brands that are convenient and close at hand.  What’s more convenient than holding a brand in the palm of your hand? !  56% of all mobile customers made their purchase because they were already on their phone, demonstrating that shoppers are looking for experiences that they can discover inside the parameters of their preexisting mobile activity.

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This same principle extends to your rewards program.  Clearly, customers crave experiences that are easy to access and even easier to use, and as we’ve discussed in the past clear visibility is the best way to encourage engagement. 

However, the most important thing to remember is that shifting to mobile isn’t the end of your program’s transformation.  In order to deliver the best customer experience with every transaction, you need to make sure your program is actually meeting and addressing your customers’ needs.  That’s where customer feedback comes in.  Your customers are experts when it comes to your brand’s customer experience, so ask them what they’d like improved!  This is the best way to ensure your rewards program is actually meeting all of their mobile commerce needs.

impact of mobile commerce feedback loop

Opening the door to these types of conversations will ensure you’re always offering ways to earn and redeem that match your ideal shopper’s behavior.  These actions should also give you valuable feedback on your brand’s overall experience.  The better your customer experience, the higher your engagement and redemption rates!

 

Delivering Unbeatable Rewards Experiences with Mobile Commerce

If the past is any indication, it’s clear that m-commerce isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.  As more people shift their behaviors online, it’s clear that offering your customers an amazing mobile rewards experience makes your brand more valuable.  By offering more opportunities for customers to interact with you, you provide more opportunities for them to discover what sets you apart and how your brand can improve their shopping experience.  Features like an optimized experience, rewarding communication, and active feedback loop help you make every instance of your brand a rewarding one, making it irresistible to even the most skeptical of shoppers.

People want awesome mobile experiences, so make sure you can deliver them!