“Loyalty” has always been something marketers – and businesses – care about. Why else do we tell each other (truthfully) that “it costs 10 times as much to acquire one new customer as it does to keep an existing one”? Because we understand, at least when we stop to think about it, that it’s just as important to hold on to our existing users or customers as it is to acquire new ones.

And why else do so many businesses spend so much money on loyalty schemes of one description or another? From the nakedly commercial (supermarket loyalty schemes) to more ‘soft’ loyalty progams (the local coffee shop remembering your name, or a bar offering you a free beer), in one way or another well run businesses have ways to keep you coming back. And if they don’t, they won’t be in business for long.

Enter The Mobile App

Of course in the digital landscape, we’ve become accustomed to seeing our competition as ‘one click away’ – and that has colored our whole approach to loyalty online. That’s why most digital businesses have a variety of more-or-less sophisticated techniques designed to keep customers engaged and bring them back if they have left (or appear to have left).

But the mobile app changes that. Let’s make it clear:

   The mobile app is the single greatest loyalty factor in digital business today

A bold claim for sure. But there’s absolutely no doubt it is true. Consider the reality of the consumer’s digital landscape today. To all intents and purposes, they have a small computer they carry with them all day, look at or use at least 100 times a day, and use to access almost every service they need at any moment in time.

They also display a marked preference for mobile apps, with app traffic now dominating mobile internet use to the tune of 5:1 or so.

All that creates a situation whereby if the provider of a particular service has their app on my home screen, it is almost inevitable that I will use that provider when i require the service. Whether that’s booking a table in a restaurant or a flight, ordering a taxi, or shopping for groceries – that should be obvious.

That in turn means the following:

Getting on, and staying on, the smartphone screen is the single most important thing your business can do to improve customer loyalty today.

Making It Happen

That’s the ‘good’ news. The bad news, of course, is that staying on that screen is hard. Of course it is, in a world populated by millions of apps, and where something like 20% of all app installs are used once, and it is not unusual to lose over 50% of all app users within a week of install. So although the huge amounts of acquisition spend we see in the market are justified in one sense (we understand how important the mobile app is to the business), in other ways much of it is wasted. We are spending money on new users who never convert into valuable customers.

That’s the challenge that, at Swrve, we help many of the world’s smartest app companies with. Fortunately for the rest of the world, we also share some of that knowledge – the ways to ensure mobile users DO stick around, in whitepapers such as our recent “7 Habits Of Highly Effective Mobile Marketing Campaigns.”

They make essential reading for anyone wanting to ‘stay on the screen’ and deliver true customer loyalty in today’s mobile ecosystem.