November 16, 2018
Loyalty Card Apps for Data-Driven Brands
Companies are turning to branded loyalty card apps to create an amazing experience for their customers and with good reason — a branded app (when done correctly) is a powerful way to cement long-term customer loyalty and improve 1-to-1 communication with patrons.
See below for the complete press release
Let’s get one thing straight – traditional loyalty card apps fail
Somehow, most brands that launch their own apps have trouble launching one that actually works. Extensive point-of-sale software integrations prevent brands from launching their own loyalty card app on any reasonable time frame, but that’s not even the biggest issue. Simply put, the experience consumers have to endure to use traditional branded mobile loyalty card apps is preventing widespread adoption.
Here are somes examples of the types of traditional loyalty card apps failing in the market:
As a customer, here’s what a business using QR codes is asking of me to experience their loyalty program:
- Remember my phone/make sure it’s charged.
- Find my phone in the cavernous expanse of my purse
- Pull out my phone in the middle of a transaction/meal/shopping experience
- Unlock my phone
- Navigate to the correct branded app
- Find the camera/QR code within the app, adjust the brightness of my phone, make sure it’s on portrait orientation, etc…
- Scan/snap a picture… every time I visit! Nobody loves this experience. That’s why you see QR code-based loyalty programs lose 60% of their customers in the first three months.
Check-ins are just as bad. The entire process is similar, except it’s way easier for the consumer to cheat (e.g. checking in without making a purchase). This bad experience is why 25% of apps are used only once and then never used again.
Both check-in and QR code systems suffer from a dearth of data, arguably their worst sin. Without knowing how much a customer is spending, there’s only so much intelligence a business can derive from their data.
Scanning Credit Card Receipts
Brands are asking their most loyal customers to upload a picture of their receipts to their phone — Every. Single. Time. They. Visit.
Does anyone know people who have ever done this? Do consumers even want printed receipts any more? This is why only 23% of downloaded apps are actually used on a regular basis.”
In the age of apps and mobile engagement, digital communication IS customer service. Improving digital communication is a tactic brands cannot ignore.
Companies cannot afford to settle for low-quality apps and accept a bad customer experience
Every time a merchant erects hurdles in front of customers, they forfeit huge potential revenue (a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profitability up to 75%+, according to Bain). But, it’s not just current customers who feel the negative effects of bad apps. Poor app ratings actively weaken a brand’s online position.
Put bluntly, poor app store ratings can severely damage a brand. It says, “We don’t really care about customer experience. We don’t care about your time.” This is a non-starter for customer acquisition in the modern age.
Thanx performed a survey of over 150 branded apps and found that their average rating was 2.9 stars. That poor rating would never be acceptable to businesses on a platform like Yelp, where a half-star difference in rating can account for a 40%+ increase in sales.
Here are just a few examples of real reviews from branded apps within the app store.
Source: Apple App Store
These are from real customers about real experiences. Bad app experiences don’t just drive away repeat customers, they scare off first-time customers and actively hurt brands’ reputations.
Merchants must protect their brand from low-quality apps
There are 3 standards merchants MUST consider before investing in a branded mobile app:
- I.T. integration must be headache-free (or better yet, non-existent).
- Customer experience must be effortless.
- Data analysis is mandatory; data paralysis is unprofitable.
The Thanx Branded App makes loyalty effortless — for both consumers and merchants
Thanx has addressed these three core standards and made owning a loyalty card app profitable, brand-building, and effortless. Here’s how we did it:
Eliminate the I.T. hassle
Thanx is and always will be strongly against implementing additional hardware, making customers scan their phones, forcing customers to type in their phone numbers and “check-ins” of any sort.
The Thanx Branded App requires no hardware installation — the entire experience works via card-linking, so both customers and merchants are spared the hassle of scanning phones against hardware.
Additionally, customers should be able to order however they want — in-store, online, in-app, on the phone — and the loyalty experience should remain the same.
Effortless customer experience = happy customers
Ultimately, a useful app needs to improve customers’ lives.
Thanx Branded Apps require no additional action from consumers beyond signing up. In exchange for this, they receive rewards from their favorite businesses just by paying as they would normally. That’s an app worth keeping on your phone.
Our merchants have made the decision to put time back into their customers’ days, which is why they’re seeing 5% same-store sales increases. There is no other branded app experience that comes close to this level of elegance and effortlessness.
Customer data is accessible and actionable
While a good customer loyalty program keeps customers coming back — a great customer loyalty program does that while collecting valuable data.
Merchants who have a branded app with Thanx are able to get valuable data in real-time, then deploy profitable “1-click” marketing campaigns automated by this data.
Since our Branded Apps are built on top of our award-winning retention marketing platform, our merchants get all the benefit of Thanx analytics and data science. This means they can launch campaigns with incredible results (e.g. Winback regularly nets our merchants 566% ROI).
There’s no point in gathering great customer data unless you’re going to use it, which is why we’ve made our data actionable.
Create true loyalty by building an incredible branded app experience
We’re proud to have created the best loyalty experience on the market. Our merchants love that they’re able to customize their app to fit their needs (with food ordering functionality, push messaging for product availability, and beyond… if you can dream it, our Silicon Valley engineers can build it).If you’re curious to see the results our merchants get from building a loyalty program app through Thanx, take a look at our Branded App Case Study.
Full text of the press release below:
Thanx Launches Branded Mobile Apps for Restaurants and Retailers,
Touts 5% Same-Store Sales Increases
The Thanx Branded App gives multi-location businesses all the sophisticated mobile and retention marketing capabilities of a massive scale enterprise — at a fraction of the cost.
SAN FRANCISCO — April 5, 2016 — Thanx, the Sequoia-backed company that solves customer loyalty for multi-location merchants, today announced the public release of the Thanx Branded App. Building on five years of experience delivering data-driven retention marketing tools to restaurants and retailers, the new offering equips larger businesses with Thanx’s complete suite of mobile marketing tools — complete in a fully-branded package. Featuring a 5-star rating guarantee, the Thanx Branded App offers a top-notch mobile experience and effortless consumer loyalty program at a fraction of the cost of traditional, enterprise-level loyalty solutions and custom mobile applications.
Thanx is rapidly launching Branded Apps for merchants in a wide-range of verticals all across the country. Some of the first partners — all live this week — include SusieCakes, a West Coast specialty bakery chain, Lou Malnati’s, the Chicago-based deep-dish pizza legend, and 2nd Time Around, a Boston-based apparel and fashion curator with 40 boutiques across the East Coast.
“Over the last five years, Thanx has deployed industry-leading retention marketing and customer analytics tools for merchants all across the country. We are proud of single-handedly driving up to 5 percent annual same-store sales growth for merchants using Thanx. Now we are offering a fully-branded mobile application on iOS, Android, and mobile Web built on that same platform,” said Zach Goldstein, founder and CEO of Thanx, who will announce the new Branded App offering live on stage at the Restaurant Leadership Conference in Phoenix.
“Some of the most discerning enterprise brands have wanted to engage their customers on mobile for a long time. But they weren’t prepared to settle for a poor quality product, or force consumers through a loyalty experience that would be a hassle. Now — they don’t have to. Our apps are developed entirely in-house by our elite San Francisco-located engineering team, and the Thanx loyalty experience is just as effortless for consumers as always.”
Marketing That Drives Measurable Revenue
Along with the new Branded App product, Thanx revealed revenue growth metrics from its existing merchant partners, including a remarkable 49% success rate reactivating churned customers using the proprietary “Winback” product. Merchant partners who have activated Winback for a complete year report 1-3% same-store sales growth — directly attributable to Winback — and as much as 5% overall growth, stemming largely from 25-54% increases in visit frequency from loyal customers.
Merchants using the Thanx Branded App automatically capture and utilize customer marketing data in real time, and without any hassle. The loyalty technology requires no change to the way merchants process payments, as Thanx eliminates costly point-of-sale integrations and requires zero additional hardware to install. Customers pay as usual without hurdles like scanning barcodes, “checking in,” or searching for plastic cards, and the app reports on progress toward rewards without ever having to leave a pocket or purse.
Beyond a custom loyalty offering, the Thanx Branded App offers mobile ordering integration with select providers and proprietary “1-Click” marketing campaigns, including:
- VIP: Tailored mobile experience exclusively for highest-value customers.
- Winback: Automated re-engagement for previously loyal customers with a personalized incentive to come back.
- Integrated NPS and Feedback: Effortless surveys and feedback for 1-to-1 customer dialogues.
- Thanxgiving: Targeted new customer acquisition with incentivized referrals from top customers to first-time visitors.
Merchants partnering with Thanx had this to say on their decisions to go with the Thanx Branded App:
“We evaluated a number of loyalty solutions on the market, but everything we looked at forced consumers to participate in extra steps. We didn’t want to complicate the experience. Rewards should be easy and fun — and that’s what Thanx delivers with our custom SusieFavors program,” said Susan Sarich, founder and CEO of SusieCakes. “The app allows us to easily identify our most loyal guests, connect with them directly on their smartphones, and thoughtfully reward them for their support.”
“We needed a world-class partner to take our decade-old loyalty program to the next level — and that’s exactly what we found in Thanx,” said Mindy Kaplan, Senior Director of Marketing at Lou Malnati’s. “Previously, our customers had to carry around a plastic card — which most forgot to do. Now all they have to do is pay as usual and the Lou Malnati’s app automatically informs them of their next reward. In addition, Thanx made it easy for them to quickly identify nearby locations and even order a pizza right from within the app.”
“At 2nd Time Around, we are constantly searching for ways to connect and engage with our customers BETTER—across every touch point. And, through those interactions, learn more about the customer so we can simply serve them better. The Thanx Branded App connects us to our most loyal customers through direct one-to-one mobile communication,” said Kristin Kohler Burrows, President and CEO of 2nd Time Around. “With the Thanx Branded App, we benefit from actionable data, on-demand push notifications, real-time Net Promoter Scores (NPS) tied to customer lifetime value, and detailed customer segmentation. It’s important for us to know exactly how much money each customer spends and precisely how satisfied they are after each visit… and now we actually can.”
To download the SusieCakes, Lou Malnati’s, or 2nd Time Around applications, visit the iOS App Store or Google Play this week.
Thanx makes marketing effortless for multi-location merchants. Through the Thanx platform, merchants have access to real-time actionable customer data, allowing them to identify, engage and retain their best customers. Consumers shop as usual, accumulating personalized rewards at their favorite businesses via real-time notifications to their mobile phones – but without check-ins, loyalty cards, or other added steps at checkout. Effortless for both merchants and consumers, Thanx delivers immediate increases in revenue from existing customers. Founded in 2011 and based in San Francisco, Thanx is backed by Sequoia Capital, SoftTech VC, and other elite Silicon Valley investors. For more information, visit thanx.com.