You’d think something as simple as a digital stamp card app would be easy to find. However, if you’ve done any searching on the web, you’ll find that the options for small business owners are surprisingly limited. Why is this, and is there anything you can do about it?
What Is a Punch Card App or Mobile Punch Card?
A “punch card app” or “mobile punch card” refers to the digital version of your standard paper coffee card. You know the one I mean. Get a stamp for every coffee you buy, and the 20th is free. A “punch card app” or “loyalty stamp card app” replicates the function of these simple paper coffee cards, but you keep a digital version of the card on your phone, either online or on an app.
The Different Types of Punch Card Apps
While all punch card apps provide the same basic mechanic with respect to the design of the card and the concept of earning stamps per visit, however, there is remarkable variety in the way these stamp cards operate. Some apps like Stamp Me will use a special NFC dongle to add stamps to your customer’s digital stamp card. Other apps try to use beacon technology to do the same thing. My company, Flex Rewards, prefer to keep things simple, and staff just type a 4-digit PIN onto the stamp card, or ask their customers to scan a printed QR code.
Benefits of a Digital Punch Card Loyalty Program
There are 2 main reasons why businesses are migrating to digital stamp card apps:
1. Customer Engagement
One thing a digital stamp card can do which a paper card can’t is SPEAK to customers. With an app installed on your customer’s phone you suddenly have the ability to issue reminders, push notifications, small messages, and alerts. You can even get bookings and customer feedback through the app. This 2-way communication channel directly with your customer is, frankly, priceless.
2. Customer Retention
Let’s face it, customers are bombarded with choice. With the average american spending more than 5.8 hours per day on their phone, people are flooded with Facebook and YouTube ads that are trying to tempt your customers away. How do you get your customer’s attention, and fend off all the competing noise?
The answer is clear. Know your customer. If you have the names and emails of your customers, there’s a surprisingly huge amount of custom audience targeting you can do on digital platforms like Facebook and Google. Instead of fiddling with demographic and location parameters on your Facebook or Google Ads settings, you can literally upload your customer list and get your brand in front of your audience on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Not only that, you can also target “lookalike” audiences to reach new customers that match the demographic and interest profiles of your existing customer base.
Thus, digital punch apps are really a tool to get customer data, so that small businesses can start competing more effectively in the digital arena.
Cons of Mobile Punch Card Apps
Cost. Yep, nothing is going to be cheaper than printing paper punch cards and handing them out willy-nilly.
However, this is changing rapidly. Companies like Stamp Me offer basic limited membership plans starting around $29/month. Others, like Flex Rewards start at $36/month for unlimited member numbers and features. At close to $1.00 per day, these stamp card apps offer a remarkable amount of value for a fairly small price to pay.
Is a Mobile Punch Card Program Right for You?
This really depends on how fierce your competition is. If you need a competitive edge quickly, then implementing a digital loyalty program with a virtual stamp card app is very “low hanging fruit”. Costs are marginal for the benefits you should be getting. At the very least, you’ll get customers hooked on collecting your loyalty stamps. At the very best, you’ll be able to use the data you collect to do a better job of boosting customer activity and growing your ultimate audience.