The Biggest Opportunity For CPG Brands On Mobile: A Killer Loyalty Program

Mobile is the new first screen. On average, people check their phones 150 times per day. More than one-third of consumers are “mobile-only.” 

With stats like this coming out daily, we (should all) get it. Mobile plays an undeniably critical role in the customer journey, and brands without an engaging mobile strategy will continue to lose loyalty and revenue. But for CPG brands, mobile presents a harder challenge than most other consumer-facing industries. Retailers like Target are providing fun and engaging experiences to make the in-store experience thrilling — everything from in-door mapping to disseminating offers as a person moves about the store. Sports and entertainment arenas are using beacons to help people find their seats or nearby food or restrooms. Hotels are letting people unlock their rooms with smartphones. 



Mobile innovation is all around us, except, that is, for most CPG brands. Apps draw the most engagement, but the go-to app for many CPGs thus far — a straight coupon distribution channel — fails. Without selling direct-to-consumer (online or physical), coming up with a creative enough utility app that people will use and talk about, like the Zyrtec AllergyCast App, is challenging. 

The biggest opportunity for CPG brands on mobile lies with loyalty programs. Loyalty programs lend themselves perfectly to mobile because they focus on building customer relationships, and, with mobile’s ability to be real-time and context-aware, participation, engagement, and advocacy in loyalty programs will soar. Marketers can’t simply bring an existing loyalty program to mobile; a winning mobile loyalty program will follow the below rules: 

  • Be Simple: Like us on Facebook. Check in at a partner retailer. Share this fun content. Watch a video. Take a picture of the proof-of-purchase. Mobile is about simplifying tasks, so whatever it is you’re asking your customer to do in exchange for rewards needs to be completed in a single step, swipe, or tab. 
  • Have Creative CTAs: Consider how you can leverage the uniqueness of emerging channels to engage with your customers. A healthy snack, for instance, can reward people on steps tracked on a fitness-tracking bracelet. A sports drink could reward people when they check into a gym or stadium. Identify the scenarios in your customers’ lives where you can organically participate, and the brand will be top-of-mind throughout daily activities. 
  • Be Context-Aware: Because mobile allows you to have an understanding of what is happening around a person, marketers have the opportunity to contextualize the experience by setting rules of engagement. Do you serve a different video when it’s raining versus sunny? Something as simple as tailoring the message to the time of day or complex as upping the offer value when the market takes a tumble will resonate more with the individual — driving conversions, engagement, and social conversations. 
  • Provide a Frictionless Experience: Connect to the mobile wallet for seamless redemption of offers and points management. If an offer is about to expire or the deadline is approaching to redeem points for a reward, remind your users via push alerts. Similarly, if an offer is redeemable at a specific retailer, draw geo-fences around locations to target people as they come close, luring them inside to redeem the offer today. 
  • Leverage the Coveted Place in the Mobile Wallet: Once a person has a loyalty card or offer saved in their Passbook, iBeacons can interact with the phone providing opportunity for engagement in the physical world. Partner with retailers that have beacon technology in their stores to remind people of offers in their Passbook or to disseminate product information or other specials as they move throughout the store. 

As more CPGs explore ways to build and strengthen customer relationships on mobile, loyalty programs will be one of the primary strategies pursued. To break through the noise, CPG brands must be able to automate contextually aware programs by setting up rules of engagement that dictate how a person should be treated in a specific situation.

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