We’re living in a mobile-first world, in an age where e-commerce has fused with mobile.
It’s a tricky time for brands, in an age where the customer really does know best (and if you’re not the best, they’ll happily go elsewhere).
This combination of e-commerce and mobile provides new ways for consumers to purchase from brands and curate their brand relationships. This shift of control to the individual mobile user puts brand loyalty and engagement at front and centre.
Keeping a customer loyal over mobile isn’t a walk in the park – thankfully here are 7 ways you can increase brand loyalty using m-commerce.
1. Make It As Simple And Easy For The Consumer As Possible
“The medium is the message” – Marshall McLuhan
Media don’t just provide information, but shape that information. It’s not simply a case of transferring your brand to mobile, but adapting it to how users experience that medium.
The mobile experience is simplified, frenetic, and fast. Customers expect things to be easy, simple and quick – including the brand experience. The attention span of users is even shorter over mobile where opportunities to switch between apps, pages and activities is all too tempting.
If you place a hurdle in the way, or include unnecessary steps, you will lose business.
Key to engaging and keeping loyal customers over mobile is the ease and simplicity of your mobile experience, subscription process, online forms. Make it easy and make it simple – or users will go elsewhere.
2. Consumers Need To See Real Value, Quickly
“If we don’t receive anything for our loyalty soon we will take our loyalty elsewhere” – Adam Goran
Again, speed is key. Consumers don’t want to have to wait for you to deliver. If they have bothered to engage with your brand they want to see value and ROI.
This means making loyalty schemes worthwhile. Tell consumers in concrete terms what they will get for their loyalty and how to go about it. Make a mobile app with direct, worthwhile and enticing offers.
If you need to conceal the practicalities of your loyalty scheme in order for it to seem alluring – you are deliberately conning your most loyal consumers and they will sniff you out. A loyalty card with ambiguous offers is no longer enough.
3. M-Commerce Isn’t An Option, It’s A Must
“44% of people booking a restaurant for the first time, use mobile devices to make a reservation” – Bookatable
M-commerce is here to stay and now there truly always is ‘an app for that’. It’s no longer an option or a luxury to engage users with a bespoke mobile experience – it is a must.
Just being on mobile or having mobile-specific features is not enough either. The entire customer experience needs to be rethought in order to engage customers anew based upon uniquely mobile activities. This means having an m-commerce platform, app or otherwise that speaks to mobile users on-the-go.
This means giving users the ability to cash-in discounts and loyalty rewards via an app, scan items in-store for more info and pay-on-the-go.
If you fail to capitalise on the growth of the “mobile wallet” you will lose out to smarter competitors that see m-commerce not as an supplementary add-on but integral to their business.
4. Big Data Requires ‘Big Emotion’
“Big data is not enough on its own. Big data needs big emotion” – Kevin Roberts
While having a large database and metadata insights are incredibly valuable, using such a database to churn out automated offers without a sense of brand personality is a wasted opportunity.
Brands sometimes see doing “extra” as muddying the waters of conversions and sales, confusing adding extra content with creating unnecessary, additional steps.
On the contrary, a large database isn’t enough to win loyalty or customers. Customers want to see a complete experience that encourages them to engage more often with the brand.
This means not just having an app that allows you to browse, order and pay, but one that also shows personalised bonuses and a bespoke experience, not simply a one-size-fits-all app.
A restaurant may offer loyalty discounts unique to students, to families, or to couples. This can be broken down even further into buyer purchase history. It’s about leveraging big data to connect personally with the consumer.
5. Tell Your Story Using Mobile
“A brand that delivers what people love is going to win every time” – Kevin Roberts
It’s not just important to connect on a personal level, but to show you are giving a complete experience to the user.
If you use the mobile experience to offer a limited experience, under-deliver and overprice, you will get seen through immediately.
M-commerce should be treated uniquely in itself as an integral aspect to the brand story. It’s essential that it isn’t seen as a something required by brands but desired.
Consumers want to see the whole story when they go on mobile, not to be treated as an add-on themselves.
6. Communicate With Your Audience
There is a need for customers to develop a personal journey with your brand
With the mobile consumer firmly in control of their brand experience, and in the age of social media, brands need to acknowledge that the brand-consumer relationship is two-way.
Brands need to actively engage with their audiences, not just treating them as consumers. Brands need to be asking questions, listening to feedback, actively engaging with users through social media to deliver a complete experience.
Social media and the bespoke curation of users has leveled the playing field, blurring the categories of celebrity, journalists, and everyday users.
Brands need to acknowledge that users no longer see them on a pedestal; they should act accordingly.
If brands don’t interact genuinely with their audience, they will seem stale and remote. Two-way relationships are key to delivering a complete and meaningful mobile experience and increasing brand loyalty.
7. Consider Brand Partnerships
Partnerships reinforce individual brands
Brands aren’t in a bubble when it comes to m-commerce. Existing popular loyalty schemes (Nectar) provide brands with the opportunity to connect to new audiences and utilise tried and tested loyalty schemes.
Apps such as Unidays provide brands with opportunities to target specific demographics with bespoke offers, without the need of app or platform development time.
Partnering and being alongside like-minded brands through these loyalty platforms further allows for brands to cement their unique image in relation to disparate products, targeting and unifying once separate products with defined audiences. For example, a fashion retailer partnering with a coffee outlet.
These kinds of partnerships further reinforce the brands as being both cooperative and genuine, and providing an understanding of their audience’s different needs as consumers, thinking beyond the bottom line.
These 7 strategies are key to increasing brand loyalty in an m-commerce world, in which the consumer is more right than ever, with control like never before over what brands they engage with. What ties these seven brand strategies together is their emphasis on ensuring you make user experience as easy and simple as possible, and that the content you produce is engaging for your target audience. Get these two right and you will increase brand loyalty using m-commerce.
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