improve customer experience

How to improve customer experience in the aisle with third-party apps

Mobile app marketing offers an excellent opportunity to improve customer experience. A good app can assist customers with everything from discovering items to making purchase decisions. Customer rewards programs embedded in gamified apps can help to engage the consumer, while also incentivizing specific purchase behaviors.

Apps can not only improve the customer experience in the aisle, they can also be of significant assistance to brands and retailers. Through data collection, apps have the ability to provide feedback on areas where marketing makes the most significant impact, give insight on ways that impact could be improved, and offer a chance to reach a new audience of consumers when it matters most—as the consumer is in the shopping aisle. Third-party shopping apps especially offer a way for brands to travel with consumers and gain firsthand perspective on the customer experience. The right third-party app benefits both the customer and the brand, by acting as the customer’s GPS on their path to purchase.

Here are the things brands and retailers looking to improve customer experiences need to know about using apps and about partnering with third-party app platforms.

Incentivization Improves the Customer Experience

Mobile rewards program apps offer an opportunity for consumers to be rewarded for interacting with a brand. Often, these rewards come in the form of points, which might be redeemable for cash back, discounts, or gift cards. Redeemable points are at the heart of Shopkick, for example, which allows a consumer to collect points—or kicks—for a wide range of activities, from visiting locations to watching videos. To make the most of one of these programs, brands should seek out third-party apps that offer:

  • Rapid redemption: If it takes too long for a consumer to collect and redeem points, they will lose interest in the program. Brands and retailers must tread a fine line between making the program a challenge and creating barriers so high that the consumer loses interest.
  • Gamified interface: A good rewards program provides a game-like experience for the consumer, such as in the form of a digital scavenger hunt or a lottery-type program. Gamification provides a challenge and makes consumers feel they’ve truly earned something. As consumers engage more, reach new levels, and earn additional rewards, they’re also more likely to continue participating. The more a rewards program is like a game, the more likely the consumer is to interact with it regularly.
  • Multiple routes to rewards: Rewards programs should not use purchases as the only incentive: they must give customers opportunities to earn rewards via other avenues. Shopkick, as an example, rewards consumers for visiting locations, interacting with products, watching videos, shopping online, and referring friends. Incentivizing consumers for good behavior that costs them nothing increases purchase intent.
  • Ease of use: Roughly 53% of Americans cite ease of use as their primary reason for participating in a rewards program. When an app is simple to use, even those who don’t typically seek out rewards programs will be tempted to participate as the benefits far outweigh the time investment. A shopping rewards app might offer consumers the ability to scan products in the store to collect rewards points, as well as the option to store these points inside a mobile app and quickly redeem them later, for example. Streamlining these so the app is easy to use encourages participation.

how to improve customer experienceA rewards program that encompasses all these components will provide a user experience that gets people to download the app and to continue using it.

Retention is an important part of any app-based rewards program, so providing an interface that’s exciting, fun, and lucrative to the consumer will ensure adoption and encourage interaction with a brand. Also, data from app-based experiences can be used to gain insight into consumers’ perception of a brand or retailer.

How Third-Party Apps Help Brands Better Understand Customers

A study among marketers showed that one-third believe that the right data collection technologies are imperative to better understanding customers. Data acts as a route to customer insight and provides information on the path to purchase. A third-party shopping app can provide a lot of insight as it allows a brand or retailer to travel with the consumer and gain information on:

  • Incremental sales: Third-party shopping apps can provide a brand with an incremental sales lift. Above and beyond existing customers, accessing an external database of engaged consumers in a shopping mindset can have a measurable positive impact on a brand or retailer’s bottom line.
  • Product awareness: As a consumer uses a shopping app while in the aisle, they can collect points for discovering new products. This common shopping app feature allows a brand to track how their app-related marketing efforts are improving brand affinity.
  • Purchase funnel: A mobile app that allows a brand to track consumer groups from product discovery to purchase can help assist that brand in understanding its unique purchase funnel and enable them to leverage that funnel in the future.  
  • New vs. established customers: While acquiring new customers and increasing market share may be common goals for a mobile app marketing campaign, tracking repeat purchasers can be equally informative and can help the brand discover market influencers who can improve brand affinity.

Through third-party app-based campaigns, a brand can gain better insight into customer behaviors before purchase, empowering them to adjust strategies to improve the likelihood of a sale.

The knowledge gained from a mobile app campaign can help brands improve their customer experience. Marketers can experiment with rewards points to better understand how much is needed to encourage product interaction and adjust that amount to find the perfect marketing “sweet spot” to gain sales.

Mobile rewards programs can significantly improve the customer experience while also providing a brand deeper insight into their target markets. Through third-party app-based campaigns, a brand can gain better insight into customer behaviors before purchase, empowering them to adjust strategies to improve the likelihood of a sale.

Shopkick provides our partners with a gamified app which they can use to improve the customer experience in all parts of the shopping journey, from discovery to purchase. For more information, contact us.

Image courtesy of TeroVesalainen




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Dima Volovik

EVP of Product and Engineering

Dima Volovik is the EVP of Product and Engineering at Trax Retail — Shopkick.

Dima Volovik is the accomplished product and engineering leader who led teams to deliver innovative and commercially successful e-commerce products, marketplaces, and enterprise solutions for Amazon, Comcast, Fandango, and Universal Music. Before joining Trax, Dima was the Director at Amazon, where he led product development and Engineering for Amazon Appstore and Amazon Prime Video, CTO at Fandango, and Paciolan, head of technology at Golf Channel/Golf Now, and Global VP of Direct to Consumer Technology at Universal Music Group. Dima’s expertise includes developing consumer products, marketplaces, and enterprise solutions.

Dima grew up in Baku, Azerbaijan, where he received his MS in Electrical Engineering from Azerbaijan Oil Academy, and he currently resides in Los Angeles, California, with his family.