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Mobile Loyalty

How to Replace Loyalty Cards with a Loyalty App

Written by 
Michaela Ward
May 22, 2019
Loyalty Programs

Are you running your customer loyalty program with a paper or plastic card? Have you been considering the transition from paper to a digital loyalty program, but are unsure of how to go about it? Well, the good news is it’s much easier than you think!

Below, we’ll take you through the process of replacing loyalty cards with a digital loyalty app and answer some essential questions. 

Our aim is that by the end of this article, you feel equipped to start your digital loyalty app journey for you and your customers, which will boost engagement and drive retention in the process. 

Step One: Choose a Digital Loyalty Program Provider

An image of the Stamp Me app interface

The first step to your digital loyalty transformation is to research and choose a digital loyalty program provider that meets your business’ specific needs and the needs of your loyal customer base. Keep in mind that 53% of customers want loyalty programs that are easy to use, so choose a reliable provider. Key features to look for are a user-friendly interface, customer data management, and mobile app integration. 

Image of the Stamp Me app interface and Merchant Console homepage on a desktop.

If you’re on the lookout for a digital loyalty provider that elegantly combines all these desirable features, and many more, then Stamp Me is the solution for you. As part of your transition from paper to a digital loyalty program, our platform features digital loyalty cards, which makes it easy for your customers to collect straight from their smartphones.

With Stamp Me, you can communicate directly with customers through push notifications and SMS, and gain valuable insights through customer data. Not just that, our platform offers seamless integration with email or CRM platforms such as Mailchimp, spicing things up with the thrill of Scratch & Win games. 

Step Two: Spread the Word About Your Digital Shift

Graphic of a mobile with notifications and various mobile graphics (bell, heart, comment button).
Image source: Canva

Transitioning from traditional loyalty cards to a mobile loyalty app can significantly improve customer experience and engagement. However, it’s essential to communicate this change effectively to ensure your diverse customer base is on board. 

For the younger, tech-savvy generation like millennials and Gen Z, social media platforms can be your go-to communication channel. In fact, recent studies show that 60% of Gen Z in the US use Instagram to discover new brands, products and services. Consider announcing the change with engaging posts on the benefits of the new loyalty app, like convenience, personalization, and instant rewards. They’re likely to appreciate the digital shift and adapt quickly. 

For old generations like Gen X, the transition might need a more personal approach in order for them to make the transition from paper to a digital program. Consider sending informative emails, or even in-store demonstrations by your staff will help them understand the app’s functionality. Focus on the benefits they’d value most – like easier tracking of rewards or the elimination of carrying a physical card. 

By tailoring your approach to suit each generation, you can ease the transition and make the new loyalty app a success across your entire customer base. 

Step Three: Educate Your Staff

A room of people sitting on chairs, one person gesturing to one raising their hand.
Image source: Unsplash

Educating your staff members about your new digital loyalty program is pivotal, as they are the first point of contact for customers and help to convey your program’s value and ensure your brand is being well-represented. 

With the right training, they should be able to assist customers with sign-ups, explain how the program works, and address any questions or concerns. The importance of this step can’t be overstated, as nearly half of consumers say they’ll abandon a brand if employees aren’t knowledgeable

Stamp Me understands the importance of educating your staff when transitioning from paper to digital, so we make sure to supply our merchants with plenty of helpful guides and downloadable training materials directly from your Merchant Console

This training could come in the form of incentives, training sessions, or encouraging your staff to download the app themselves, which all work to ensure there’s no inconsistent messaging, lost opportunities, or disengagement. 

If you’d like more details on the different ways to educate your staff, check out this article

Step Four: Phase Out Paper Cards and Collect Feedback

A laptop keyboard with fingers typing, graphics of online reviews laid overtop.
Image source: Canva

It’s vital to initiate a gradual phase-out of paper loyalty cards, giving customers enough time to adapt to the new, digital program. During this phase, consistent reminders about the ongoing transition can be beneficial, encouraging customers to explore and utilize the savvy features of the digital program. 

For your older customers, who might be less familiar with technology, consider initially running the digital program alongside the paper ones. This allows them to choose their preferred option and transition from paper to your new digital program at their own pace. Eventually, you’ll come to find that a majority of them will move to digital. 

Once the program is launched, collect feedback to gauge customer satisfaction and see where there might be room for improvement. There are numerous ways to get feedback, whether in person, or an email survey, but a great way to incentivize customers to provide it is by offering bonus stamps or rewards to their account.  

Step Five: Run Transition Promotions to Boost Excitement (and Enrolment!)

Dice arranged to spell 'limited time offer'.
Image source: Unsplash

If you’re looking for a creative way to get your customers onboard with the digital change, consider running transition promotions. These promotions help to foster enthusiasm for the new platform, incentivize the shift, and ensure that the transition is seen as a beneficial upgrade and not a forced change. 

An example of a transition promotion could be offering bonus stamps or exclusive rewards to customers who register for the digital loyalty program during a specific period. 

By offering a sign-up reward, your customers can see there’s something positive in it for them, which means they’re less likely to have a negative opinion about the transition from paper to digital. As well as this, sign-up rewards give your customers a sense of what your digital loyalty program is about and they can see the direct appeal of signing up. 

As you’ve seen, transitioning from a paper to a digital loyalty program involves careful consideration of your customers, staff, and business needs. But let’s take a moment to answer some common questions for businesses making the shift. 

How do I go about implementing a digital loyalty program in my business? Do I need any software, tablet or POS integration?

Some loyalty platform providers may require you to have a tablet or integrate with your POS system, but not ours! 

Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for our merchants to implement a digital rewards program, so that's why we offer multiple options that are suitable for either an online store, a brick-and-mortar business or even both.

Stamp Me has two easy ways for customers to join your loyalty program: The first is through a Stamp Code or QR code, which customers can scan via the Stamp Me app to collect stamps. This code can be easily accessed and printed form the Merchant Console to place near your register or check-out area. Alternatively, you can directly add members from the Merchant Console. Once a customer has downloaded the Stamp Me app, simply create a member profile in the ‘Members’ area of your console, and they will be automatically added to your stamp card(s). 

This is a great option because it can be done anywhere and only requires your member to download the app; the easier the better! 

How do I transfer the customer's stamps from the paper punch card to the rewards app?

If you are using Stamp Me, you can manually apply stamps to your customer’s account through the Stamp Me Merchant Console. This makes it easy for customers to transition from paper to your digital program, as their current member status will be updated. 

Here is what we recommend you do:

Step 1: Instruct the customer to download the app, register their details and join your offer. Promote your sign-up reward as an incentive. 

Step 2: Collect their paper punch card, assuring them that their stamps will be transferred to their Stamp Me account. 

Step 3: Log in to the Stamp Me Merchant Console. In the ‘Members’ area, click ‘Give Stamps’. Select your location and the relevant stamp card. Search the customer’s name or email address, click on their profile, and then ‘Give Stamps’. Input the location, stamp card, and number of stamps to apply. 

Step 4: The next time a customer visits, they will see their existing stamps applied to their account and can continue as they are working their way towards the reward!

Is it Really That Easy?

Stamp Me is the ultimate, simple customer loyalty program solution that is 100% digital. 

Stamp Me goes beyond simply digitizing traditional paper cards. It redefines the loyalty experience by adding ‘Scratch & Win’ games, personalized campaigns, and enhanced communication, all easily managed from your Merchant Console. Balancing simplicity with modern features, Stamp Me facilitates a transition from paper loyalty programs to a digital one, promotes customer retention and offers businesses an innovative solution for customer loyalty. 

Ready to make the switch from paper to digital and revolutionize your loyalty program?

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