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When a good idea comes along in retail and digital there are soon many, many start-ups getting in on the action.

Take loyalty apps for example. Loyalty is a big beast. Many types of company may consider it part of their remit, from digital payment solutions, to social-style check-ins, to group buying sites, or indeed a retailer’s own app.

I’ve previously looked at the state of apps in retail and found that using loyalty schemes is pretty much the major rationale for customers using a retail app.

Whether customers will settle on retailers’ own apps or on a generic loyalty scheme provider (perhaps lumped with payment) remains to be seen.

But of those tens of consolidated loyalty apps, which are the best? Here’s the list of five I think are most interesting. Whether mobile wallets such as PayPal and Google Wallet will buy them up remains to be seen but the space seems set to get richer before it gets poorer.

shopkick

6m people use shopkick, which makes it the most used shopping app. Of course, the term shopping here refers to physically shopping in store.

Shopkick already partners with Macy’s, Target, Best Buy and JC Penney, as well as with payment providers like Visa and MasterCard, and brands such as P&G and L’Oreal. Shopkick has more than 150 partners in total.

Users get points (called kicks) for entering a store and further kicks scanning items and purchasing. Rewards come in the form of gift tokens for the store in question.

The app does a lot more than rewards, too..

What makes it interesting?

The feed

Items you might be interested in nearby appear in your feed. These items can be bookmarked for later and selecting an item with suggest other things you may like.

From the feed you can look at stores nearby, both at their wider catalogue and at what will garner you rewards. 

shopBeacon

Location based loyalty taken to the next level with shopBeacon. The system allows favoured items to be flagged to the user when they are in an appropriate area of the shop. 

Belly

Belly has over 6,000 merchants, so like shopkick it’s one of the bigger loyalty players out there.

It’s a purer experience than shopkick, concentrating on loyalty and driving new business, though there is the option for merchants to use an email program, too.

 

It is different however in that it’s run from a store tablet. This could be a potential drawback for some merchants but it also gives the customer some degree of autonomy, not having to rely on interaction with a customer service bod. 

Users place their paper loyalty card or app QR card over the tablet camera and this updates the merchants database and qualifies customers for rewards.

What makes it interesting?

The proposition and user experience is clean and clear.

Belly Bites are little freebies sent to your app which you can save and redeem in store. This is a great way of drumming up new business.

Pirq

Pirq used to be in the daily deal business but launched nationwide in the US as a loyalty platform late last year.

Pirq doesn’t require the use of a tablet in-store, like Belly and others do. Instead, users scan a merchant tag in-store, often hung around a customer service bod’s neck.

What makes it interesting?

Facebook integration allows merchants to target different demographics with different deals.

With a background in deals, one can expect Pirq to provide tasty offers, in addition to the punchcard loyalty programmes.

Juengo

Juengo points can still be redeemed for merchandise, like classic loyalty schemes, but the points are won with actions, not through purchasing.

So signing up for a newsletter or scanning a QR code at an event or upon entering a store may earn you points. At the moment, it’s only available in the US and Greece.

 

What makes it interesting?

While it isn’t something for nothing, the idea of disrupting the loyalty model and offering rewards for doing should appeal to a particular set of customers, arguably those most engaged.

You can also earn ‘Juengos’ by being one of the top scorers on Piggy’s Revenge. If that’s not good, what is?

What makes Juengo different is the Juengo marketplace where one can see the rewards that can be claimed. These appear to be fixed gift card rewards and make the whole experience seem more prize-oriented and gamified than simply small rewards for regular visits. The rewards can be claimed, it seems, no matter where the Juengo points were gained, so the scheme is a little broader than single-store loyalty.

However with only 14 rewards on there at the moment, it may be struggling in a newly competitive market. 

FrontFlip

A not dissimilar concept to Juengo, with QR codes scanned and then ‘scratched off’ on your phone to reveal offers. The offers are time sensitive and often deliver free gifts such as a free pastry with your café.

What makes it interesting?

FrontFlip has partnerships with some big hitters in food like McDonald’s and Burger King. The proposition is clearer than Juengo and the adding a time element to the incentive makes it a compelling offer.

Here’s their flabby explainer video, but don’t be put off.

Ben Davis

Published 23 January, 2014 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is a senior writer at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (11)

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Vanessa

This is really helpful but is a bit yanktastic - are any of these in the UK or what are the big ones in the UK?

Thanks

over 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@Vanessa

Good question. In the UK many payment systems have a loyalty aspect e.g. PayPal, Droplet, Google Wallet.

Fidel has a nice website though I'm unsure on the spread of stores involved, and Stocard seems to be the other main one.

over 2 years ago

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Adam

@Vanessa
@Ben

Another one to add - Streetlike is a mobile loyalty provider based in the UK

over 2 years ago

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Kenny T.

@Vanessa I think Juengo is launching a UK version soon

about 2 years ago

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Lilia Stephens, Marketing Assistant at Second Cup International Inc

Thank you Ben for the article.
Are any of these apps available internationally?
If not, what are some loyalty apps that cover the Middle East and Europe?

Lilia

about 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@Lilia

Good question. Another roundup is in order!

about 2 years ago

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Guy Douglas, Consultant / facilitator at Connected Places UK

Definitely too US heavy. Check out http://uk.molorewards.com/reading/

An interesting portal-led approach that brings loyalty, couponing together with a community e-commerce platform, e-receipts and QR/NFC posters, linked in to local bus operator smart card scheme.

about 2 years ago

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Ali Paterson, Marketing at Marketing Man

If you're looking for UK loyalty apps then Loyalzoo is a very popular one where I live in London.

almost 2 years ago

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Sami Mäkelä, Head of SEO at iProspect Finland

Another mobile loyalty app that is available internationally (all EU countries) is Studio.intellipocket.com --> free to try for 30 days. Completely customizable loyalty apps for SME's

over 1 year ago

Chloe Angyal

Chloe Angyal, Editor at Freelance

Thank you for another great article Ben. I'm working on a piece on the mobile loyalty space in the UK to be featured as part of the upcoming Loyalty Awards. Found lot of your info still very relevant. One company that seems to stand out from the crowd right now in terms of looks and usability is Fidel (http://www.fidelapp.com). What are your thoughts?

about 1 year ago

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Danny C, Owner at Denim Industries Inc

I have done extensive research into most of the above mentioned platforms... but i found that going the custom app route made much more sense for my business. BTW, Belly was the worst company i have dealt with. If anyone is looking for a great company to deal with, then try Mass Mobile Apps, http://www.massmobileapps.com/

They don't take on just anyone, because they work with your business to ensure success...so there is an application process, but if you get to work with them, it is totally worth it. I love my app, and i love the amount of support and help i received and still receive. If you want to check out my app, just search "Denim Industries" in either the Apple app store or the Google Play store. Mass Mobile Apps is the best App maker on the market!!

12 months ago

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