Blog / Business, Marketing Tips / App Development

How to Strengthen Customer Loyalty with a Mobile Loyalty App

  • Rating — 5 (9 votes)
  • by Ivanna Denys
  • Updated on February 27, 2020
  • Read —
    6-7 minutes

Customer loyalty is a vital prerequisite for the success of every business. However, just providing high-quality services or selling good products is usually not enough to gain and retain it. People want to get some rewards for their dedication to a particular brand so companies need to develop customer loyalty programs. 

Traditionally, such programs have been associated with physical loyalty cards, but nowadays they are losing their relevance. As mobile payments are growing in popularity, more and more people are getting rid of wallets and everything they used to keep in them. Today, a mobile loyalty app is a much more effective way to increase the engagement of your customers and, thus, seal more deals.

In this blog post, we’ll explain why creating a mobile app should be a mandatory part of your loyalty program. We’ll also mention some key functions you’ll likely want to include in such app as well as show you some examples.

  1. How mobile apps benefit brand loyalty programs
  2. The functionality of a customer loyalty app
  3. Examples of the best loyalty apps
  4. Key factors that influence the costs of development

How mobile apps benefit brand loyalty programs

Building trustworthy relationships with customers is a long and rather complex process. In most cases, modern buyers have a wide choice of similar goods or alternative service providers. As a result, as many as 71 percent of American adults will likely choose another brand after just one disappointing experience with a certain business. For this reason, most customer loyalty programs are aimed at strengthening connections between a company and its customers. 

What do mobile apps have to do with this? Well, they may become a key pillar to build your loyalty program around. Let’s take a look at the main reasons why having a customer loyalty app is so important:

Loyalty app

People use their smartphones really often

According to the survey by Deloitte, an average US consumer checks his/her mobile phone about 52 times a day. This gives you an opportunity to stay connected with your buyers all the time and be sure that they’ll most likely read all your messages sent to them. 

It allows for personalization of your offers

The study shows that 62 percent of consumers expect that brands would send them personalized offers based on their purchase history. Also, almost half of buyers (i.e. 49 percent) have purchased products which they didn’t initially plan to buy after receiving a personalized recommendation from a seller. 

Customers appreciate the convenience 

With a customer loyalty app, buyers don’t have to worry about loyalty cards which might be lost. Neither do they need to check a brand’s website in order to find some discounts. The only thing that is required to get a reward is an app downloaded to a smartphone. It will also notify customers once you decide to make a special offer or start a sale. 

It lets your business grow faster

Loyalty apps allow brands to be flexible with their incentives and rewards. Since any ideas can be tested in practice straight away, you’ll better understand your target audience. This means that you’ll be able to tailor your marketing campaigns to their needs that will facilitate the growth of your business.

Functionality of a customer loyalty app

The feature-set of your app will depend on your specific requirements. But there are some popular pieces of functionality most brands want to include in their solutions. Here’s a list: 

Instant incentives 

This is the simplest yet the most effective type of customer loyalty program. By joining it, a buyer gets some points every time he or she purchases something from a brand. In addition, points can be granted when a user recommend a brand to someone else, share the company’s content, leaves a product review, etc. 

Loyalty app

Tier-based rewards

Another wide-spread way to increase customer loyalty is based on tiers. In this type of program, buyers get access to a certain set of rewards once they reach some predefined milestones (e.g. an overall number of purchases, spending a particular amount of money, using a service for a particular period, etc.). A loyalty app will automatically track users’ activity and level up them to the next tier when all the relevant criteria are met.

Location-based push notifications 

Location-based marketing is an emerging trend nowadays, so adding this feature to your application will definitely help you be a step ahead of your competition. Customer will receive a push notification from a loyalty app when they are in a specific geographical area, for instance, not far from the store. In other words, they’ll get your offer at the moment when they can take advantage of it in the easiest way possible.

Loyalty app booking coupon code september 2019

Repeat & recurring purchases 

To encourage customers to buy more from your brand, you may add features simplifying their future purchases to your mobile loyalty app. For instance, users may have an opportunity to save the items they buy on a regular basis to the list of favorites or set permanent preferences so that the search won’t show them irrelevant results.

Loyalty app

Integrated checkout redemption 

Collecting points and rewards makes no sense if customers experience difficulties in applying them to their purchases. That’s why it’s important to have an integrated checkout redemption in your customer loyalty program app. It will allow users to view their rewards at the checkout and redeem them to receive a discount on a particular order.

Loyalty app

Examples of the best loyalty apps

Customer loyalty apps have already proven their effectiveness in practice. So let’s take a look at the most famous examples you should know about. 

  • Starbucks. Starbucks has become the second most valuable food brand in the world not least thanks to its effective customer loyalty program. In the Starbucks app, users earn points when they make a purchase. After a sufficient number of stars is collected, a customer gets a free drink. In addition, an app grants its users some birthday rewards.
  • Sephora. Sephora is a beauty brand that uses a tier-based strategy to encourage customers to buy more. After users reach a certain spending tier, they get some benefits, for example, free shipping.
  • Chick-fil-A One. This food delivery app successfully utilizes a mixed customer loyalty program. The number of points users get per every dollar spent depends on their tier. In addition, each tier has a different set of rewards (e.g. giveaways, surprises, gift rewards to friends, etc.)
  • World of Hyatt. Hyatt Hotels’ loyalty program app is also based on point accumulation. Once a user gets enough points he or she can receive a reward, e.g. free night in one of the Hyatt network hotels. Besides, the app offers advanced settings for users’ preferences and the simplified process of repeated bookings.
Still doubt if your restaurant needs a mobile app? Check out this article!
Why Restaurants and Cafes Need Mobile Apps

Key factors that influence the costs of development

Like with any other custom development, the estimation of budget you need to build a customer loyalty app will depend on many factors. Here’s a list of the most significant of them you probably have to consider:

  • Product complexity (i.e. how many and what features it will include)
  • Seniority level of developers (i.e. senior developers will charge more than their junior colleagues, but they’ll also work faster)
  • Geographical location of a coding team (i.e. the US programmers are the most expensive, developers from Asia will change the least, Eastern European teams offer a supreme price/quality ratio)
  • Chosen platform (iOS, Android or both) (i.e. building an iOS app usually requires more financial resources. But to take the most out of your loyalty app, you should target both platforms)
Want to get more info about the estimation of costs for app development? Read this article!
How much does it cost to make a Starbucks-like app?


Companies are doing well only when their customers are satisfied and committed. That’s why having an effective customer loyalty program is an essential component of business growth. Building a custom mobile app is nowadays the best way to implement a loyalty program in practice. It will encourage people to purchase more, help you build a strong relationship with every customer, and constantly stay connected with your buyers.

Want to grow your business faster with a loyalty app?

Ivanna Denys Ivanna is a Content Marketing Manager of GBKSOFT passionate about tech advancements, marketing, and startups. Her dream is to make the virtual world a better place with the help of a written word.

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Michal Pecánek
Mar 20, 2020 at 9:23 AM

Loyalty apps are a modern digital form of the tried and true marketing strategy of the card loyalty program.


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