If ever there was a buzz-worthy word – and one that should never go out of focus – it is loyalty. Fleeting and fickle, loyalty is the backbone to every single successful company regardless of the industry and it seems as though mobile has started to erode it for some brands while others are starting to flourish. Why is this?
First of all, the fact that loyalty is important should be of standard thinking in business today. The idea that companies focus time, effort, resources and cash on customer acquisition is understood and necessary. The truly successful companies also put that much effort into their retention and loyalty strategies as well – something that the power shift from company to consumer due to mobile has brought to the forefront. It has never been easier for customers to move across brands without warning or thought. Mobile has opened up information that really puts the pressure on retention tactics and creating long-term brand loyalty. The walls have come down for many and their customers are jumping over them. Yet, for others, loyalty has flourished and they have seen their customer base grow. How is that? What is their secret?
Brands that get it also get the fact that mobile is an important tool in helping a customer move from sitting on their couch to their place of business. For much of the past decade retailers have been focused on allowing consumers to shop from outside their place of business inadvertently contributing the decline of their own brands. Ease of use, ease of acquisition and the diffusion of their logo has conditioned the consumer and this will take time – and the right strategy – to fix. That is where Shopkick helps.
In this episode Alexis Rask, VP & GM of Brand partnerships for Shopkick, walks us through how they help move customers to become brand advocates for their clients and offers a number of simple techniques that companies can start using today. Loyalty is about attention to detail and understanding how a customer thinks and deserves to be treated. The process Shopkick uses to help their customers deepen their relationship with their own customers is the starting point for success in commerce. We also talk about the process Shopkick uses to decide what features to add to their product, why Shopkick is at the hub of all mobile activity, where she sees this industry progressing towards and why she took the gamble to pack up from New York and head to the Bay Area to work with Shopkick.
Here is a quick reference of what we covered in the show. Click on the link and the video will take you to that clip
1. Why Shopkick is at the epicentre of mobile 2:30
2. Why is Shopkick relevant today 4:50
3. Why start Shopkick 6:00
4. Is loyalty fleeting due to mobile 9:00
5. What is the difference between deals and loyalty 10:00
6. What was the appeal to get involved with Shopkick 12:00
7. How does Shopkick shift consumers from home shopping to in-store shopping (e-commerce to m-commerce) 17:30
8. How does Shopkick help drive loyalty 19:42
9. How Shopkick drove footfall during Black Friday 21:40
10. How does Shopkick differentiate from the competition 24:15
11. How do you decide what features get into the product 27:00
12. The impact of new feature LookBooks (mini magazines) 31:15
13. Retailers need to focus on brand loyalty and engagement 32:00
14. How to personalize sales for VIP customers based on buying behaviour 36:45
15. How can businesses create loyalty 40:00
16. Solving the “Banana Republic” discount conundrum 42:00
17. How to use scarcity as a benefit for brand loyalty 46:00
18. What is the Shopkick future 48:00
19. Mobile retail is NOT about recreating the ad network 51:30
My key takeaways
Don’t move against the tide
This might sound counter-intuitive but if you think about where we are right now in the mobile industry you will see we are just at the outside of the fringe when it comes to understanding how to use this platform for your business. It also seems counter-intuitive to start building something brand new on this platform that doesn’t address the number one pain a business is feeling. The simple strategy for mobile with an existing business is to identify the pain that the business is feeling today and see if mobile can attack it.
Find your pain – is it customer acquisition? Is it customer retention? Is it education? Whatever it is, identify it then find a mobile solution that helps eleviate that pain. Go with the tide of your business, not against it. There will be time for revolution soon but don’t force your customers to learn something new and increase their pain. Solve the ones that are in front of them first.
Focus on incremental successes
This is THE key lesson to learn – there is incredible power in increments. It comes down to setting expectations and delivering on them in a way that businesses can see. Mobile has the power to change every industry, business, government, country and individual but it won’t do it over night. It will help educate those that had no access to any form of education and, over time, that will increase a nation’s ability to compete in the global marketplace and, in time, increase that country’s GDP. Mobile can bring a customer back to your store a second and third and fourth time, increasing dollars spent, basket size and that businesses bank account.
Finding a customer is a key metric but have your existing customers engage with you – trust you – more is the ultimate goal. Focus on having them walk through your doors one extra time per month – what does that do for your business? Focus on having them buy one extra item while they are already in your store – what does that do to your bottom line? These are incremental successes and deepen loyalty at the same time.
Know your audience – and how they use these tools
Business basics: Who is your audience. Only in mobile you also have to understand how they use their devices as it relates to your business. Do they sit on their couch at night and surf your stuff? Do they do it on the go, on the bus, in your store? Do they share? Do they buy from their device or do they want to order it for pickup? These are questions you need to be asking in order to make sure what you offer serves your customer.
Take a look at your analytics. If you don’t have a mobile site or app yet, what are you seeing from your website? Look for time of day, location data or exit pages. Those are key indicators of how your customers are interested in doing business with you. Also make sure there is a mobile demand – are you seeing growing activity of people visiting from tablets or smartphones? What are they looking at? That’s your starting point.
Understanding how and what your audience spends money on is one thing, understanding how they use their devices could be the gateway to their loyalty. Are you looking at the right metrics?
Re-emphasize the concept of discount and not the percentage of discount
Mobile’s first retail experiment was to discount the shit out of everything, everywhere. Check in and get a discount. Show up and get a discount. Be in line with product in hand and get a discount. Discounts became the norm very quickly and all of a sudden companies began losing their profits and losing brand loyalty among their most loyal customers. It wasn’t the act of the discount, it was the sheer size of the discounts for very little work on behalf of the consumer. Companies were giving out 40% discounts just because – throwing all the research that had been done on discount to distance traveled out the window. Before mobile and before this blip of faux-loyalty, humans would travel over an hour for the enticement of a 40% discount. Today? We expect it and if we don’t get it, we go elsewhere.
We need to get back to the place where discounts had value, where customers earned those discounts through loyalty because you can’t start a loyal relationship by discounting the very thing you expect loyalty for. Put emphasis back on the fact that there is a discount, not the value of the discount. Move customers towards a discount don’t start with one. Discounts are for your 5th visit, find something else for their first that will make them come back for their second.
This is not about using an ad network
Mobile is not an extension of the useless ad networks we saw dominate the web sphere. This is a highly complex and astoundingly effective sales and branding channel. Do the research and understand how this works and, please please please don’t think of this as another way to push ads out to unwilling customers. This will damage your brand and prove to be a waste of time and effort and money.
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About Alexis Rask
Jan Schöttelndreier is responsible for the business unit Marketing and Sales and the international roll-out of mQuest®. He originally comes from the banking industry where he can look back on years of experience in the area of product and innovation management. He has been part of the cluetec management since 2012.