While loyalty and other incentive programs have proven quite successful for businesses, smartphone apps have the potential to take these marketing platforms to a new and more effective level, according to a recent report in The New York Times.

With program features tailored specifically to the needs of the small business sector, owners can have access to the finely tuned apps that were once the purview of big business, including data analytics to evaluate the effectiveness of marketing campaigns built around customer loyalty.

The report suggests that building loyalty platforms rather than isolated loyalty programs is the doorway to greater opportunities for those businesses that engage in this new trend in marketing.

This evolution of app-powered loyalty programs has one significant advantage over mailers and other types of hard copy in that the smartphone will not be left at home, making offers always available for use. And, when linked with social network programs, not only is word-of-mouth is enhanced and a better understanding of customer habits gained, but an increase in returning customers is also realized.

According to Jitendra Gupta, an engineer with the application development company, Punchh, mobile loyalty programs can expand the marketing opportunities and options for small businesses, enabling the dissemination of scratch-off programs, games, and achievement level incentives that encourage customers to participate and then visit to obtain different rewards.

In addition, when loyalty apps are downloaded onto a smartphone, location monitoring provides further opportunities for marketing, allowing businesses to notify customers when they are nearby and invite them in for other opportunities and rewards.

The key element in all of this, however, is understanding the fine line between friendly offerings and aggressive oversaturation – contacting customers often enough to remain in front of them, without driving them away through a constant barrage.


Grossman, John. “Using Smartphones and Apps to Enhance Loyalty Programs,” The New York Times; Jan. 28, 2015.