Mobile apps are the latest marketing tool to be picked up by businesses – and for good reason. On average, customers spend 10% more time on apps than they do on the on the web, and 70% of customers have at least 10 apps (Nuance). Location-based apps can help your business increase foot traffic in your store, heighten customer loyalty, and increase overall revenues.
The main function of location-based is to enable customers to check in to your business upon their arrival. This check-in can result in increased points or customer rewards; personalized service within the store; and social media posts proclaiming their current location to the world – and providing online advertising for your business to their friends and followers.
- Third-party apps like Shopkick Local, LoyalBlocks, Perka, and Fourquare enable customers to automatically or manually check-in to your establishment as soon as they walk in the door.
- Upon check-in, the apps can provide customers with mobile coupons for your store, alerts to special deals, and points towards their rewards structure.
Location-based apps are the next generation in retail rewards programs. 65% of marketers have implemented some kind of loyalty program, in part due to the fact that returning customers spend an average 67% more than new customers (Inc). Should you choose to utilize a third-party provider to set up your location-based app, you have several choices of loyalty rewards structures to keep customers returning to your business.
- Retailers using the LoyalBlocks app provides customers with rewards simply for checking in to the business.
- With the Spendgo app, customers receive award points for their purchases through your POS system. They can exchange these points for rewards once they reach a predefined spending threshold – much like many loyalty-card based programs.
- The Punchcard app takes over responsibility for managing customer rewards – making it easier for a busy retailer to provide a location-based app to their customer, although they miss out on customized rewards that come straight from their business.
Initiating a location-based app for your business is a marketing campaign in and of itself. Much like you would market your loyalty card program, you should promote your mobile app in order to achieve high customer involvement. However, once your customers are hooked on the program, the app can provide you with insight into your overall marketing strategy.
- Most third-party apps provide you with analytics that highlight customer demographics, spending patterns, and more. You can use this information to create targeted marketing campaigns over mobile, direct mail, email, social media, and more – thus bringing more customers both to your app and to your business.
Third-Party vs. Custom-Built Apps
You are not limited to solely those apps available on the mobile marketplace for acquiring your business’s location-based mobile app. You can also build a customized app from the ground up. In doing so, you can control every aspect of the app – its functionality, rewards, analytics, and more.
Keep in mind some special considerations in choosing between a pre-built app and building one yourself.
- Building your own app requires a large up-front cost for development, whereas third-party apps may charge a much smaller monthly fee. Depending on the program, they may or may not come with a usage contract.
- The more complicated an app you decide to build yourself, the more it will cost. A basic content app can cost up to $4,000 and a database-driven app can range from $8,000 to $50,000 (Forbes).
- Be sure to get a quote from your developer before committing to a contract, and put precautions in place to prevent them from going vastly over-budget on the project.
Mobile apps provide a variety of functions for businesses – from the practical to the entertaining. Make sure that the app you use has a well-established track record of positive ROI, that it appeals to your customers, and that it gives you as much control over your rewards structure and analytics as you need.
About Jakk: Jakk Ogden is the founder of Technology Blogged. 23, with a love for good writing, you'll find Jakk playing 'Drag Racing' on his Nexus 5 and rocking a pair of Grado headphones. If you love technology, be sure to subscribe to his feed for unique editorials. Find me on Google+. View author profile.