Loyalty apps like the Starbucks app have become very popular, however, the market for these apps is highly competitive. Entrepreneurs planning to launch such apps should know the right features of a great loyalty app user interface, therefore, I will explain what they are in this article.
What drives the popularity of great loyalty apps?
Loyalty management has a large market, and the global market for it will likely reach $7.035 billion by 2022, as experts estimate. However, you need a great app to capitalize on this lucrative market.
Starbucks has a really popular loyalty app, and a study found that it’s the most regularly used loyalty rewards app among restaurant chains. The study also states that digital engagement is the main reason for its popularity. Read more about this in “The success of Starbucks app: A case study”.
You can better understand the importance of digital engagement if you consider the high rate of mobile app abandonment. A report found that as of Q1-2018, 21% of users abandon a mobile app after using it only once! You can learn more about this in “21% of users abandon an app after one use”.
A number of reasons drive mobile app abandonment, however, a difficult-to-use “User Interface” (UI) is prominent among them. Users simply can’t find and use the app features, when the UI isn’t helpful enough. Read more about this factor in “10 reasons why people abandon your app”.
Examples of popular loyalty apps
Let’s review a few examples of successful loyalty apps so that we can understand what features they offer in their UI:
1. Starbucks App
One of the most successful loyalty apps, Starbucks App is available on iOS and Android. The elegant UI makes it easy to access its features:
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- Customers can pay easily with the mobile app.
- They can order their favorite food and drink from the app.
- App users can tip the restaurant staff, moreover, they can also identify the songs playing in Starbucks stores.
- They can easily track their reward points, furthermore, finding the nearest Starbucks store is easy with the app.
- The app makes it really easy to join the Starbucks rewards program.
2. Loyalty App
Operating in Western Australia, “Loyalty App” is a free app for reward programs. The key features of this platform are as follows:
- The app is available on Android and iOS.
- It offers an easy-to-use UI.
- Users can earn and spend loyalty app dollars with hundreds of merchants in Western Australia.
- The seamless integration with different loyalty programs is another advantage.
- Tracking loyalty dollars is really easy with this app.
- App users have access to many lucrative and fun offers.
3. Sephora app
Sephora, the beauty services provider has a successful rewards program called “Beauty Insider”, and a mobile app to support it. Its key features are as follows:
- The app has excellent integration with the company’s stores and its website.
- Sephora has retail stores inside JCPenny, and the app is integrated with those too.
- Customers use their email address to log in, and they accumulate reward points with their purchases.
- The UI is appealing, moreover, it’s easy to use.
The key features in a loyalty app UI
I will now explain the key features in a loyalty app UI, which are as follows:
1. Ease of sign-up
As an entrepreneur launching a loyalty app, you need to keep in mind that users would download the app to sign-up for one or more loyalty programs. This is the most important feature of the app, therefore, the UI should let users focus on this, removing other distractions.
The UI should enable users to sign-up for loyalty programs in the following ways:
- It should display the loyalty programs on offer prominently.
- The app should give due importance to sign-up functionality.
- The “Call To Action” (CTA) button for sign-up should be prominent, and the UI design should direct the attention of users towards it.
- The app UI should minimize zones of friction such that users don’t find it hard to sign-up for loyalty programs.
- The navigation should be simple enough, moreover, it should assist users to find loyalty programs and sign-up for them.
Read “Mobile UX helps in improving customer satisfaction & loyalty” to get more guidance on this aspect.
2. Display promotional offers
Customers sign-up for loyalty offers since they are looking for great deals. Naturally, a loyalty app user will look for great deals, right after signing up for a loyalty program. A great loyalty app should do a good job of displaying relevant promotional offers.
The app UI should facilitate customers to find one or more of the following offers:
- Coupons: App users can earn discounts on their favorite products.
- Gift cards: Customers get monetary rewards for their purchases, therefore, this is a very effective and straight-forward loyalty program scheme.
- Product discovery: This is turning out to be a great way to build brand loyalty.
- Experiential rewards: This helps customers excited about the brand.
Read more about this in “Incentives and recruitment”.
3. Security features
Now that you have got users to sign-up for loyalty programs and displayed various offers to them, you would want to convert them into buyers! However, don’t forget that today’s online world is full of scam stars and hackers, and online users are increasingly wary about them!
App users need the confidence about the security features of your app, therefore, the app UI should clearly demonstrate the relevant security features, e.g.:
- The app needs to comply with the “Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard” (PCI DSS).
- Robust data encryption features must protect sensitive information belonging to the users.
- User management, user onboarding, etc. should follow the relevant industry-standard security features.
Read “Loyalty card software built for your enterprise”, to understand the importance of this feature.
4. Display merchants, stores, and offers relevant to the users’ location
A loyalty app needs to show merchants, stores and offers considering the location of a user. This increases the chance of conversion since users are more likely to respond to an offer when they are near the store.
Examples of businesses using this strategy in their app are as follows:
- Dunkin’ Donut;
You can use the geolocation capabilities while building your mobile app and offer this feature. Read more about it in “How to leverage geolocation for your mobile app”.
5. Deliver personalized offers
Consumers are no longer interested to receive one-size-fits-all offers since this is the age of real-time, personalized offers. Your loyalty app should also show such personalized offers to app users.
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This involves the following:
- You need to gather customer behavior data, and more importantly, important insights from that.
- The amount of data is quite large for this, and as a new business, you might not even have it.
- Obviously, this requires a partnership with analytics firms that can provide key insights for customer behavior data.
- Subsequently, you need powerful analytics engine to distill these insights on a real-time basis, and deliver context-sensitive, personalized offers to your app users.
You can read “Turn to real-time, personalized mobile offers to win customers”, to understand the importance of personalized offers.
6. Offer seamless integration between offers/businesses
As a follow-through of delivering personalized offers, your app needs to provide seamless integration between merchants and offers. An example of this could be flying to a destination, and subsequently using the frequent flier miles for a car rental.
This also requires robust analytics solutions, as follows:
- You need to anticipate the next move of your app users.
- The loyalty partnerships you have with merchants need to offer seamless integration, catering to the specific needs of customers.
You can understand this feature better if you read “How to improve customer loyalty through user experience”.
7. Seamless integration between the loyalty app, stores, and eCommerce providers
You would want your app users to buy from the merchants/businesses you have partnered with in your loyalty app business. Customers need a frictionless buying experience for that.
The app should offer the following:
- The loyalty program should integrate seamlessly with stores of participating merchants.
- Participating eCommerce provides should see to it that the loyalty program works smoothly when app users buy from them.
- The integration should cover shopping, accrual of loyalty points, redeeming of loyalty points, and the other applicable functions.
I have explained the importance of this earlier in “How to build a loyalty program app?”.
8. Clear, concise instructions to users
The loyalty app needs to provide clear and concise instructions to users with regards to the various functionalities. Small snippets of text, called “micro-copy”, are very important for this.
Such instructions are invaluable when customers fill up forms in the app or try to use other features. Considering the limited screen space on mobile devices, careful design of micro-copy is absolutely essential. You can read more about it in “UI design ideas for loyalty programs with great UX: 6 tips”.
9. Use animations, however, employ them judiciously
Using animations in the UI of your loyalty app can make it really engaging to the app users. Animations help in capturing the users’ attention to important aspects of the app, and this can help in attracting users.
However, you need to use animation judiciously, so that they don’t slow down the app. You also don’t want too much distraction. Read more about the importance of animation in “Transform your web design with functional animation”.
10. Build a natural flow of interactions in the app
A loyalty app users login to the app to sign-up for loyalty programs, explore offers, buy stuff, and redeem their reward points. In order to build a successful loyalty app, you need to provide a natural flow to the app users, in order to subtly lead them from one activity to the next.
11. Social sharing
Using social media purposefully is an important component for the success of your loyalty app. For businesses too, social media integration is crucial for their loyalty programs to succeed.
Your loyalty app should make it easy for app users to share their experiences on social media. You can read more about the importance of it in “Why the best loyalty programs use social media”.
12. Push notifications
Push notifications are increasingly important for the success of any mobile app, and your loyalty app is no exception! This feature helps as follows:
- You can stimulate user engagement.
- Re-engaging users, and retaining them are easier when an app features push notifications.
- Timely messages help you in improving your conversion rate.
- Location-specific push notifications are very helpful for personalized campaigns.
- You can alert customers about last-minute deals and offers using push notifications.
- Push notifications are less intrusive, therefore, you can use this feature to deliver useful content to your app users.
- Deep links in messages can guide your app users to important actions of features in your app, and customers find it helpful.
Read more about the importance of push notifications in “6 stats that prove how crucial push & in-app messaging are to your app’s success”.
A few important resources for the loyalty app UI design
I recommend that you use the following resources while designing the UI for your loyalty app:
- You should consult the “Human Interface Guidelines” for designing the iOS app UI.
- Android uses the “Material Design”, and you should consult this guide for the Android app UI design.
- Our guide “Mobile navigation menu examples” can help you to choose the right mobile navigation menu pattern.
- Consult “8 trends in mobile app color scheme” before you select the right color scheme for the mobile app UI.
- You can find useful best practices for mobile app UI icon design, in “How to design the perfect icon for your mobile app?”.
Planning to launch a loyalty app?
While this guide offers useful insights about the features of a great loyalty app, the development of such an app can be complex. You will need to choose the right platform, tools, “Software Development Kits” (SDKs), “Application Programming Interfaces” (APIs), and frameworks.
I recommend that you engage a professional development partner for managing such a project from end to end. Read our guide “How to find the best software development company?” before you do so.
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