In my recent post, Loyalty Marketing in the Digital Age, I wrote about the real stuff of loyalty: That seminal brand connection beyond rewards and monetary incentives; the emotional connection that arises out of our individual brand interactions and experiences, rather than from deals and discounts.This past weekend, I found myself smack in the middle of the influential brand experience I describe above. Shopping on Sunday afternoon for a new winter vest, I strolled past an upscale apparel retailer, one that had never appealed to me in the past. I intended to pass the store, but with a quick glance in the window, something almost magical happened.
I was with my mini schnauzer, Gus, and we had just been barred entry from an outdoor goods storefront. As we came to the door of the upscale apparel shop, I noticed a small square decal on the door: The simply illustrated profile of a hunting dog with the words “Dogs Welcome” underneath. Without hesitation, we entered and were greeted by a warm staff. They immediately took notice of Gus. He was welcomed like a valued customer, offered a treat and granted run of store. He even had his picture taken atop a stack of dog beds, which the staff posted on the store’s Instagram account. Gus received as much, if not more personal, attention than I did, which of course pleased me greatly.
In the meantime, the store manager helped me with my shopping needs without being overbearing or too salesy. She took excellent care me, was polite and very knowledgeable; she provided me with relevant product information and several good options for a winter vest. She knew her store, her products and how to treat her customers.
From the moment we walked into this store, Gus and I (Yes, I am speaking for him) felt completely comfortable, attended to and taken care of. And, I found the perfect winter vest. Although I paid more for it than I had budgeted, I was so pleased by my shopping experience, the level of personal attention and the quality of product, that I was happy to pay a premium price. And, with the seeds of brand loyalty sown, I will definitely be shopping with this brand again.
So what does all this have to do with the role of mobile in Loyalty Marketing?
It’s simple, really. Mobile loyalty marketing needs to be much more personalized and interactive.
After I left the store I downloaded their app on my smartphone and there it sits; the neatly designed icon lined up in the rows of smartly designed and stacked app icons that fill my home screen.
Now, if that new app would just come to life; if it would begin to interact with me; if it could just take care of me like the in-store staff did … Oh, what a wondrous mobile world that would be!
Instead of sitting idle on my smartphone or tablet, perhaps it could serve up relevant lifestyle information based on my purchase patterns; suggest places of interest near the retail locations I frequent; even weather reports for destination travel and more. In short, I want a mobile app that is interested in me!
It would pick up where the store staff left off; it would my enhance in-store experience and extend my brand interaction once I have left the store. And yes, it might even offer me deals, discounts and rewards. But the sum total would be a positive brand experience that begins before I next step foot in the store and continues on long after I leave; right in the palm of my hand.
I think Gus would agree.