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Mobile Wallet Deep Dive: Loyalty Cards

Everyone knows the old rules of thumbs when it comes to loyalty, “80% of a brand’s revenue is driven by 20% of its customers.” And “the cost of acquiring a new customer is 5x that of retaining an existing.” These business stats were why brands across industries launched loyalty programs.

When first introduced, loyalty programs were game changers for brands who wanted to build a deeper connection with their customers and retain them for the long term. A sense of pride was born from these programs – pride for the brand feeling they finally nailed it when it came to a fantastic customer experience, and pride from members who feel like the brand truly cares about them as they benefit financially every time they make another purchase. And the results speak for themselves, as loyalty leaders in their industries can grow revenue approximately 2.5x faster than their competitors.

However, customer expectations have increased, over the past decade, and with them has their desire for more personalized, seamless loyalty experiences. The concern is that brands are not keeping pace with the rising expectations as only 19% of loyalty program members say a brand’s program makes them feel special and recognized. The volume and frequency of generic emails from brands only serve to emphasize this point with members each day.

In addition, consumer engagement with loyalty programs is hindered by members not knowing their points, rewards, or program status. Past surveys suggest that as many as 70% of members don’t know or are unsure of their points even though 93% would make a purchase or consider doing so more often if they received better communication from the brand. That’s because the process often requires logging into an account online or a mobile app and then searching for their points or manually activating rewards.

By making consumers ‘discover’ where they stand in a loyalty program membership can start to feel like more work than a reward. It's also clear why 30% of members haven’t redeemed their rewards for a year or more, leaving them as liabilities on a company's balance sheet benefiting neither the company or the consumer.

What’s Mobile Got to Do with It?

With mobile adoption continuing to grow, brands have a tremendous opportunity to overcome these barriers by reaching members in the one place they’re always connected to that they spend an average 5-6 hours a day on - their mobile phone.

With 97% of Americans owning smartphones, mobile engagement creates wider accessibility for brands to reach consumers on their most personal device in a relevant, non-intrusive way. So it only makes sense that the Loyalty programs that are most appealing to consumers and members are the ones that guarantee this personalized nirvana.

Plastic Is Not Preferred

Not only does mobile broaden brands' ability to personally engage consumers it also meets their desires for a digital experience. Seventy-nine percent of U.S. consumers are more likely to join a loyalty program that doesn’t require them to carry a physical card. If you pair this with the fact that 75% of loyalty program members would engage with a rewards program if they could easily access it from their phone, then Mobile Wallet is the obvious answer for brands who want to seamlessly enroll, engage and retain loyalty members.

Mobile Wallet has several unbeatable advantages like instant delivery of points and rewards, providing easy access to these details so consumers can actually take advantage of the rewards they have, and redeem them more frequently.

What Is A Mobile Wallet Loyalty Card?

A mobile wallet loyalty card is a digital version of a physical membership card. In addition to the loyalty card reflecting a member’s key account details, it can be regularly updated in real time to reflect account activity such as points earned, progress to a new reward and personalized, loyalty-specific content.

Unlike other mobile apps that consumers must seek out and download, Mobile Wallet is the summary term for the native apps, “Apple Wallet” and “Google Pay” built into all iOS and Android devices. They require no extra download or signup by customers to use.

By brands having the ability to dynamically update the content on the mobile wallet passes with new information at any time, it gives you a versatile, persistent, and visual way to continually engage with program members.

How Do You Deliver Mobile Wallet Loyalty Cards to Members?

Mobile Wallet was designed to help brands create a frictionless experience for their customers.

A mobile wallet loyalty card can easily be distributed through any existing marketing channel – from in-store signage, print and TV advertising, and direct mail to lower-cost digital channels like SMS, email, web, social and a mobile app.

Because Mobile Wallet is a native app on all mobile devices, a digital loyalty card can easily be distributed without requiring current members to download or sign up for anything additional.

Since 70% of consumers currently enrolled in at least one loyalty program say they would us a mobile version of their loyalty cards if they didn’t have to sign into a website or download an app, the possible reach that Mobile Wallet drives is tremendous.

What About New Member Enrollment?

Yes, Mobile Wallet can help with this too. 73% of consumers are more likely to join a loyalty program if their rewards and points are automatically visible and updated on a mobile loyalty card, so brands that offer this ability can expect to see an increase in signups.

Retain Loyalty Members with More Precise, Targeted Messaging

Mobile Wallet can track every action a member takes using their card, from the initial viewing of the pass to the transactions made both online and in person.

Since Mobile Wallet can be easily scanned or triggered through NFC this paves the way for a better customer experience and a deeper understanding of the business impact Mobile Wallet has on your brand. All while offering a clear path to ROI analysis of a brand’s Loyalty program.

And, since mobile wallet passes can be tracked down to the individual member level, you can also use this data for more targeted messaging.

Thanks to these tracking capabilities of Mobile Wallet, once integrated with a brand’s loyalty management system it enables targeting members based on purchases, whether they're active or inactive members, and any demographic data collected during the enrollment process.

As a result you can deliver content, rewards, and offers that are highly relevant to increase purchase frequency and reward redemption, while providing members experiences that make them feel more special and recognized.

Update Points Balances in Real Time

With loyalty cards that display points, rewards, and status in their mobile wallets members can always know their current standing and required progress towards their next reward. These types of account updates can be made daily, or immediately after a member uses their loyalty card.

In other words, members can always count on easy access to their most current account details right on their phone without repeated logins and cumbersome searches through an email or app.

Keep the Communication Going With Mobile Wallet Notifications

You can further improve reward redemption by delivering earned rewards and offers through Mobile Wallet, as well as by triggering reminders through lock screen notifications to nudge your program members to act when they might not have otherwise.

Just like a push notification a user receives from an app, Mobile Wallet can deliver a message to a user’s lock screen, giving you the ability to communicate with your members in a more relevant, timely fashion.

There are many types of Mobile Wallet notifications to activate, though when it comes to Loyalty cards time-based notifications are particularly impactful when it comes to redeeming earned rewards.

We’ve already touched on how dissatisfying it can be for a loyal member of your program to miss their window to redeem a reward, or worse, not even knowing they had any rewards at all. Mobile Wallet notifications can effectively alert members if they have outstanding points or rewards that are expiring with enough time to redeem.

These types of time-based notifications can be delivered manually or can be set up for automated delivery, whichever option you may choose (and you have the choice).

Let Mobile Wallet Help You Improve Your Company’s Finances

Beyond the expected increase in sales and customer satisfaction that Mobile Wallet drives, using Mobile Wallet means you’re printing less paper and plastic. Spending less and earning more is the name of the game with Mobile Wallet.

Mobile Wallet also helps remove any guesswork for members in finding out their reward balances by updating loyalty information in real-time, which can improve a program’s redemption rate. 

Finally, since outstanding program rewards and points are considered a company liability, getting members to redeem their loyalty points or rewards will improve the health of your balance sheet.

Why This Matters

Since today’s consumer and their trusty mobile device are connected at the hip, your brand has an incredible opportunity to always be at your members’ sides with Mobile Wallet – the passes are easily accessible, simple to use, and completely contactless, providing an ideal customer experience.

Consumers already know the benefits of using Mobile Wallet. Couple that adoption with capabilities like improved message relevance, as well as keeping members updated on their points balance, and program progress and available rewards through real-time reminders and you have the creation of a virtuous cycle of increased purchase frequency and member satisfaction. Ideally creating a brand experience that members not only want to continually engage with, but share with friends and family.

Consumers don’t just want a seamless experience with brands, they expect it. Through the power of Mobile Wallet as a channel, it’s never been easier for brands to exceed this expectation and gain a purposeful, personalized mobile connection with their most loyal customers.

Mara Miller — Director, Content Marketing | Vibes

Heather Zynzcak 
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