When you think of Millennials, what comes to mind first? If it’s a young person with their eyes glued to their smartphone, tapping out a tweet, a status update, a text or a search — you’re pretty close to the truth.
Millennials’ attachment to their devices creates a huge opportunity for retailers — especially in the form of incentive and loyalty programs that keep customers informed, engaged and most importantly, shopping.
Millennials (as well as many Generation Xers and even a few Baby Boomers) are increasingly using their mobile devices for just about everything. According to web content management company SDL, those 18- to 36-year-olds check their smartphones, on average, 43 times a day. And Forrester recently said that mobile devices will account for about 29% of online consumer purchases in 2014, which is up from 21% in 2013.
So, it makes sense for retailers to tap into increasingly mobile-centric behavior. Yet, retailers too often use their mobile apps merely as store locators when they can do so much more. One such way merchants can get better results and drive sales with apps is to tap into customer loyalty initiatives.
A recent study conducted by Thrive Analytics and Local Search Association found that U.S. smartphone users ages 18-29 were significantly more likely to interact with companies to receive deals and rewards than any other age group. And statistics from Punchtab noted that — if given incentives — 63% of Millennials would join a consumer loyalty program.
Perhaps the most telling data regarding Millennials’ affinity for mobile incentives programs was released by Bond Brand Loyalty. It noted that 68% of those ages 20-34 would change where they shopped if it meant getting more program rewards, and one third reported buying something they didn’t need or want just to earn points or increase membership status.
The mobile loyalty revolution is upon the retail industry, and now is the time for brands to build top-notch incentives programs to maximize the potential of their Millennial audiences.
While providing consumers with a mobile app version of the familiar loyalty “punch” cards is a great starting point, investing in a multi-functional incentive platform allows savvy retailers the ability to harness the power of geo-location and highly targeted analytics to deliver the right offer to the right consumer at the right time.
Merchants can build social and mobile-enabled loyalty and rewards programs that track customers’ identity, behavior, purchase history and favorite incentives — even across channels.
What’s more, segmentation and customization capabilities allow retailers to target incentives to key customers by spend, frequency, loyalty program score and even SKU. Existing marketing automation and analytics tools can be integrated into the platform for incentive targeting and sharing with third-party stakeholders, too.
The opportunity for merchants to build relationships with Millennials can lay the foundation for capturing a greater share of wallet as the generation ages and gains even greater buying power. Utilizing mobile to build loyalty with this burgeoning segment now is the key to keep them coming back.
*This blog originally appeared on the Retail TouchPoints blog. You can access it here.