Do you prefer more loyalty cards?

Loyalty scheme – do we want it in good ol’ plastic or in mobile?

Jemmi Laaninen

That’s burning question nowadays for a retailer with a loyalty scheme.

As everybody knows, we Finns tend to like loyalty schemes and stick with them. The habit of going to that specific retail chain is fed from parents to children. It is taught from the first steps of how to handle your allowance. It is taught in non-verbal ways of how your parents always tend to go to the certain stores and to fill up the gas in certain stations.  Most likely they even chose your family’s insurances from the company that belongs to the chain of their preferred loyalty scheme.

Loyalty schemes are a perfect way to enhance returning visitor rate, to create more in-depth relationship with your customers and give them additional value. Customers are more likely to see your company in more positive light when they know your customer programme inside out.

So the interesting question is; should we go from having multiple different loyalty cards to having them all in one place – in your smartphone?


Benefits of mobile

We do everything with our phones. We have various different applications for payment from ApplePay to MobilePay to AndroidPay. We order and pay our weekly groceries via different applications. We pay our bills, pay for fuel and reserve anything from flights to movie tickets with our phones.

We do everything with our phones. Therefore it makes perfect sense of having loyalty card in your phone as well.

When you have everything in one place, there’s some sort of certainty that you are less likely to forget just that loyalty card home. We very rarely leave home without our phones. That underlines the definite benefit of having all the loyalty schemes somehow within your phone. You will never miss your discounts or the possibility of getting your bonus points when you have your phone with you.


Big, mobile players

At least all the biggest players seem to have their own apps – but not all the loyalty schemes work in the same way within the applications. HiQ’s masterpiece, S-Mobiili, is the most downloaded bank-related application in Finland with over 500 000 active users and over 100 000 single users on a daily basis. Award-winning application combines bank services with loyalty scheme advantages. Sounds brilliant, doesn’t it? Yet you actually can’t use it as your loyalty card. You can see all your loyalty scheme benefits from it, use S-Pankki with it and manage a couple of different things but that application isn’t applicable as a loyalty card.

Does S-Group rely on the fact that people are very used to their green card, which is also related to funny Finnish wordplay about green Escort?


Looking at totally different market, clothing giant Hennes&Mauritz has their own application too. This is loyalty scheme application; you show your digital loyalty card from the application at the moment of purchase and the earned points are registered to your digital account. Handy, right?

Even though these are two applications with markets differing from each other, the goal is similar. It is to make user-friendly application for loyalty customers and provide different kinds of benefits for loyal customers via that platform. This reduces the number of coupons they would have to send out for their customers. Let’s face it – less printing is way better for the environment as well.


But if somebody really still wants the physical card and the coupons?


Plastic is fantastic?

No matter what, some people want the plastic card. Selection of physical cards hidden in the depths of your wallet, ready to be pulled out, sorted and handed to the cashier when time is due.  Even though we live the great time of digitalization, it’s more than fine to still crave for something more real.

We do still have these, and our big players are all in for the good ol’ plastic too! Kesko still has their physical Plussa-card. One can also take the Plussa-card implemented to their credit cards, but you still need a physical card to collect the points and get the discounts.

The biggest issue of a physical card might be the way of delivering the loyalty scheme advantages for the customers. Should it be in printed form? Sent as an email? If via email, should they have something to print on their own then, to show the cashier they have this certain coupon for this certain product category discount?

Kesko has made this rather simple – you get your Plussa-points to your Plussa-account. When you have 5€ or more, the card reader at the cashier asks whether you want to use it or not. No unnecessary coupons for this anymore and that’s great!

Nevertheless it’s fair to mention that Kesko has their own Plussa – app in development. One version can already be downloaded for Android phones with NFC-capability and OS 4.4 or newer.


So what’s the beef?

Of course, loyalty scheme app isn’t any good if there’s no loyal customers using it. How do we fall in love with these schemes? What do customers want to happen in the app?

This is something where we can help you. We have our Crowsters ready in our application to answer what they would love to have in a loyalty scheme app of yours. Please, don’t hesitate one second to contact us when you’re in need of direct customer insights!