The big news in retail technology this week was the launch of Harvey Nichols loyalty app.
It has been written about almost every day – and the comments have been many, mostly about the rewards which according to the Evening Standard include botox when the customer has spent a sweet £8900. Loyalty cards are old news – what makes this so interesting is that Harvey Nichols have chosen to exclude physical cards altogether – their new loyalty program is limited to smartphone users.
Forrester and Harvey Nichols’ own research estimates smartphone penetration reaching 90% so it seems a logical choice to focus solely on digital.
The high-end department store has undoubtedly stirred up a debate amongst its competitors, who are still mainly stuck with the complicated plastics of the last millennia. One could argue that by choosing only one medium the company lose out on a chunk of their customers; Harvey Nichols argument is that digital loyalty is the future, allowing instant communication with customers in a modern and personalised way.
So why is Harrods edgier cousin investing in digital loyalty now?
Because consumer loyalty has changed drastically over the last few years. From choosing where to shop over preference or, perhaps most importantly, convenience, consumers now have all the power. So brands are desperately trying to win them back and make them stay by showing customers how the brand is loyal to them – through personalised offers and communication.
Gone are the days where location was everything, here are the days where reputation and customer doting is everything. Customers want relevant, timely communication from shops in a manner that is convenient for them (let’s be honest – how many people open generic marketing emails these days?) – Harvey Nicks is hoping a mobile app is the answer to keeping their customers engaged.
Our opinion? Well, Loyalzoo’s loyalty app was created because we (as consumers) were sick of paper and plastic cards filling up our wallets. So naturally, we think apps are a great way of running loyalty – it is convenient and simple for both customer and business. But the same rules apply as for traditional marketing; make it relevant to the user, don’t spam, and reward your loyal customers. If there’s nothing tangible in it for them your app is unlikely to earn a spot in your customers phones for long.