Mobile Loyalty Apps vs. Text Message Marketing

I found myself in a restaurant recently where the cashier asked me to join their loyalty program. She said “You get points for every meal. You might as well, you are already paying for it and when you get to 50 points you get $5 off. All you need to do is enter your phone number in the tablet.” I thought sure, let me see how it works, so I punched in my mobile number.

But that wasn’t all I had to do. The cashier then told me to scan a QR code to download the app. I opened the scanner app (how many people still have this app?) and scanned the QR code. It took me to a sign up page asking me to confirm my number, create a password and download the app.

You Lost Me at the QR Code

At this point I was done with the program and no longer interested in signing up. Not even my marketing curiosity propelled me to take another step. I just wanted my food and to sit down with my family. This loyalty program required way too much effort and too many steps on my part just to get signed up. I bailed!

If you don’t make it dead easy and fast for a customer to sign up to your loyalty program, they won’t. And if they don’t sign up, there’s no loyalty program.

If you’re looking to integrate a loyalty app into your business keep reading…

Mobile apps are often considered an easy solution for loyalty programs, but they may not be as easy as you think. And they aren’t the right option for every business.

Here are the pros and cons and how mobile apps compare with text message marketing.

Mobile loyalty apps for business

Mobile Loyalty Apps

Loyalty apps are most often used by restaurants and retail stores. If your business doesn’t fall into one of these categories (and even if it does) you may wonder if a loyalty app is the right choice for you.

Here are some statistics that may convince you otherwise:

  • One out of five mobile apps is used only once. Many apps are deleted from a user’s phone after little use.
  • Customers are wary of downloading yet another app onto their prime smartphone real estate due to app fatigue.
  • Branded loyalty apps are expensive to implement. A branded mobile app can cost $20K or more to develop.
  • Non-branded or general loyalty apps come with a learning curve for you and your customers.

How Do Loyalty Apps Work?

To use a loyalty app, a customer has to show the app, show a card, enter information or provide a number when ordering. And signup often requires an in-store tablet or extra technology. Without these tools at point of sale, the app might not get enough subscribers and won’t be used frequently by your customers.

Also, loyalty apps usually send promotions through push notifications, not SMS text messages. Promotions are usually triggered by a customer’s activity or by achieving a reward level within the app. As a result, customers must have your loyalty app installed and use it often before they’ll see any messages for your brand. This seems like a lot of effort before the marketer can actually reach the customer.

Apps Need Dedicated Resources

General apps can add more work for your staff. Also, gaining new users is a serious challenge, especially if your customers don’t often visit your physical location. Onboarding will require dedicated resources as well, because your app is yet another program with hardware or software that must be learned. Be ready with technical support if your customers run into problems.

On the upside, these apps can provide detailed sales metrics, like what customers are ordering and when they last visited your store. However, your program needs to attract enough users for this data to be of use.

Remove Barriers with Text Message Marketing

One of the main benefits of using text message marketing is that every smartphone has text messaging integrated as a core feature. This means there’s no additional hardware or software for you or your customers to learn. Also, texting is easy and fast for customers who want to subscribe. They send a text and they’re in. A marketer can start sending offers immediately to subscribers. You won’t lose out on customer data either, as text message marketing programs can collect email addresses, names and more.

Easily Notify Your Customers About Promotions

Loyalty apps can be helpful in collecting data, but come with a learning curve and need extra time to implement. This can create some difficulties in your goal of building loyalty and sharing promotions. Text message marketing cuts this learning curve and eliminates the low participation rates that affect many apps.

With text messages you can send out promotions according to your schedule or on days you want to boost sales. You can also use any of your advertising or marketing efforts to promote your text messaging program. Just add the call to action to your ads, social media profiles and posts (“Text MOMARES to 65047,” for example).

To recap, text message marketing:

  • Is available on all mobile phones
  • Allows for fast and easy sign up
  • Doesn’t depend on extra hardware in store
  • Has a high participation rate compared to apps
  • Doesn’t depend on customers being in store to sign up
  • Is easily promoted in your marketing or advertising campaigns
  • Provides redemption rates between 5% and 12% for text offers

These are just a few of the differences between text message marketing and mobile loyalty apps. The benefits of text make it an easy win for most businesses. And it’s an easy-to-use solution that will guarantee high participation rates.

Apps are trendy right now, but the ease of use can’t compare to text messaging. And you can’t build loyalty program if customers don’t sign up.

If you’re ready start with your own mobile marketing campaign, contact us or call (305) 505-­5393 for help.

I’d love to hear what you think in a comment or email me at support@momares.com.

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