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Top 10 mobile loyalty activations of Q2

Brands in industries including retail and hospitality raised the bar for smartphone-based loyalty this past quarter, leveraging strategies such as proximity-based rewards, Apple Pay integrations with store credit cards and one-to-one mobile request platforms.

Marketers including Banana Republic Factory, Kohl’s, Expedia and Marriott all triumphed in rolling out customer-centric rewards programs that furthered usage of their mobile or social platforms while simultaneously driving sales. Mobile loyalty has moved beyond simple punch-card systems used to reward frequent customers, and has transformed into a must-have CRM tool for any brand seeking to raise revenue, especially among millennial consumers.

Forward-facing technologies such as artificial intelligence and proximity-based messaging also permeated the mobile loyalty sector in the last few months, although their widespread proliferation will likely occur in the next year.

Here are the top 10 mobile loyalty activations of the second quarter of 2016, in alphabetical order.

Banana Republic Factory pilots mobile loyalty, chat to enhance in-store shopping
Banana Republic Factory is currently rolling out a new mobile rewards program called Perks! to 40 of its bricks-and-mortar locations, showcasing the brand’s dedication to enhancing in-store shopping experiences by communicating with customers via digital loyalty, chat and artificial intelligence.

The apparel marketer joined forces with customer experience app flok for the pilot program, which kicked off on Father’s Day and offers consumers a digitized version of a loyalty punch card. When consumers join the Banana Republic Factory rewards program on the flok app, they will receive a message from the brand thanking them for their participation and encouraging them to begin a chat at any time if they have a question or want to submit feedback.

Flok also enables its merchant partners to offer proximity messaging triggered by beacons, thereby allowing retailers to send relevant and enticing messages to shoppers already inside a store.

Why 80pc of California Pizza Kitchen’s loyalty members engage via mobile
California Pizza Kitchen has seen more than 80 percent of its Pizza Dough Rewards members interact via mobile apps, thanks to the program’s ability to motivate individuals to visit more frequently.

The restaurant chain’s points-based loyalty program allows customers to earn a $5 reward for every $100 spent. Members can also check-in upon arriving at the restaurant, monitor reward balances and receive relevant messages on their smartphones.

The brand recently added real-time geofenced messaging to the loyalty program, a move that lets it reach consumers while they are likely deciding where to dine with a message created to prompt them to choose California Pizza Kitchen.

Coborn, Foodtown value personalization for mobile rewards push
Regional grocery marketers Coborn and Foodtown maximized loyalty personalization through mobile rewards apps that target users based on their preferences, real-time location, and previous purchases.

The loyalty programs have been integrated within new apps that loyal shoppers can download to save personalized information. They will retain users’ purchase histories and target in-store shoppers via beacons placed around Coborn and Foodtown stores.

Rewards are sent to consumers based on information such as previously purchased items. The programs are also available across multiple digital channels.

Expedia leverages mobile to bridge direct communication between hoteliers, guests
Expedia facilitated direct dialogues between guests and hoteliers by allowing the former to reach out to resorts’ front desks via the PartnerCentral mobile app to request specific services or amenities, resulting in more personalized stays.

Consumers who have a question about a particular type of room or available service can simply enter their inquiry into the app and circumvent the need to call the hotel’s front desk and potentially be placed on hold.

Conversely, hoteliers can also use the service. They may confirm and manage submitted requests, offer guests information regarding on-site amenities such as spas and restaurants, bolster experiences by providing check-in details and make an overall better first impression.

Kohl’s integrates loyalty with Apple Pay for greater in-store relevance
Kohl’s is the first retailer to integrate its private label credit card and loyalty program with Apple Pay for in-store use, underscoring the rising influence of mobile payments on the omnichannel customer journey.

Shoppers making in-store purchases will now be able to experience a one-tap checkout while accumulating their Yes2You loyalty points. Individuals can add their Kohl’s Charge card to Apple Pay, allowing them to leave the physical credit card at home and simply hold their mobile device up to a contactless reader stationed by the cashier.

Members can also add Yes2You to the Wallet app on their iOS 9 smartphones to begin collecting rewards via Apple Pay.

Fandango expands reach of mobile tickets with scanner-free, swipeable option
As it ramps up to make mobile movie tickets available at additional theaters, Fandango is getting rid of the need to scan smartphones with a new format that lets moviegoers swipe an unduplicatable ticket image on their device to gain entrance to a film.

Fandango’s new technology eliminates the need for QR codes and bar code scanners, thereby simplifying the movie-going experience.

With this new capability, the company also plans to roll out “super tickets” that will offer moviegoers the ability to attend special screenings, pre-order digital downloads of films still in theaters and catch up at home with franchise installments before going to a theater to view a new release.

Marriott scores 69pc mobile engagement rate with social-enabled loyalty campaign
Marriott revealed the results from a recent campaign that asked San Francisco residents to snap a photo of its Super Bowl-themed bus and upload it to Twitter in exchange for extra Marriott Rewards points.

The campaign, which garnered a 69 percent engagement rate, asked individuals to look for the bus in areas around the city, grab a picture of it and post it onto Twitter via the #MRpoints and #50to50 hashtags.

Each time a user activated a social trigger by using the hashtags, Marriott Rewards’ official Twitter account personally responded to that person with a mobile-optimized link to the Chirpify-powered campaign site, where they could claim their rewards points.

McDonald’s builds local push on mobile via teacher appreciation incentives
In May, several regional McDonald’s restaurants commemorated Teacher Appreciation Day by offering local educators a mobile coupon for a complimentary beverage and encouraging them to participate in a Twitter contest for school supplies funding.

Teachers were encouraged to take a photo with their free beverage and post it onto Twitter via the #TeacherTuesdays hashtag, an action that entered their school into a drawing to win money for school supplies.

McDonald’s led the pack of brands rolling out mobile coupons for Teacher Appreciation Day, highlighting its dedication to promoting the importance of education on social media.

How MGM Resorts leverages in-room tablets to fuel impulse purchases
An MGM Resorts executive at Forrester’s Marketing 2016 Forum detailed how the hotel brand uses in-room tablet devices to serve trigger and time-based messages to guests, providing them with personalized content and encouraging last-minute purchases that enhance their stays.

MGM Resorts’ initial loyalty program was specifically geared toward casino customers, which resulted in a missed opportunity to reach a majority of other hotel guests. Its ARIA resort in Las Vegas now contains the largest installation of advanced touchscreen devices in the world.

The devices’ welcome screens and feeds are personalized based on guests’ reason for visiting, such as attending a bachelorette party. Individuals are also rewarded with the ability to use the tablets to control their room temperature, television sets, do not disturb requests and lights and drapes.

PREIT taps mall-wide mobile loyalty for greater personalization
Shopping mall organization Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust adopted a mobile rewards program through the Spring platform, enabling shoppers to collect points from all retailers within its malls. This allows customers to be rewarded for the shopping they do in every store, rather than just one.

New Jersey’s Cherry Hill Mall is the first to implement the program, which lets users leverage their smartphones to monitor accumulated rewards while shopping on the go. The Spring app will send shoppers contextual offers in real time, based on the transactional data stemming from their purchases.

The customized offers also bring attention to retail stores at which consumers may not have shopped before.