Building Loyalty: Properly Using the IoT to Promote Engagement and Foster Loyalty

by Carmen Apostu
Blog Post

The intelligence that a product can bring to developers once it’s been in the hands of users is astounding. The future of connectivity using this data will bring untold insights on buyer decisions and needs.

However, there are some potential roadblocks.

Using everyday products that are on the Internet of Things (IoT) has been a relatively recent development. The regular tech industry (computers, tablets, phones) has a cult-like following and even basic users are somewhat familiar with the inner workings of the items they use, but what about the rest of the consumer market?

When your lamp is keeping track of how much energy you waste and your car is keeping track of how well you obey traffic laws, people become naturally (and justifiably) concerned. They’ll begin to ask themselves questions like:

  • Why do I need this? (Is it really beneficial and easy to use?)
  • Who’s watching the food in my fridge? (Or anything really. You get the point.)
  • What’s in it for me? (Are there any real benefits to having more connected devices?)

Most product creators are beginning to see the potential of all of that data, but it will only be useful if you can prove you’re trustworthy. How?

Building loyalty and promoting engagement.

Without these two things, your products are in danger of becoming irrelevant and future iterations using data insights won’t be possible. We’re going to take a look at just how loyalty can be fostered using engagement.

Ready? Engage (ha!)

The Case for Engagement

Some product developers love the idea that computers on items will yield insights on how to advertise, create, and make products better. While this is a great benefit, it shouldn’t be the end of your IoT efforts (hint: it’s not even the most important).

Key Stat: A recent Gallup poll stated that customers who were “fully engaged” account for an average of 23% of revenue growth.

Revenue and User Engagement Chart

Revenue and User Engagement Chart

The way to really ramp up loyalty through connectivity is to create something people want (not just a data collector). To be clear we mean the user functions programmed that are used with the physical gizmo you’re selling.

If your engaged consumer base is bringing in the most money, it begs the reasoning that those users enjoy your product’s overall function (and thus can be deemed loyal). Hopefully, we’ve connected the need and the solution.

Now, we’ll give you our best tips to improve the loyalty of your app’s end users.

Give Them More Reasons to Want It

Oftentimes, developers implement a core function (for users) that makes a “traditional” item more useful through connectivity.

One use is a great start, but it leaves only a single point for engagement. The more ways your app calls for useful interaction, the more your users can benefit from it. It’s a great idea to think outside the box on this for a while (if necessary, ask others to help), but here’s a quick example.

Disney has implemented a connected device (called a MagicBand). It is used for multiple different functions.

  • At first, it was to allow ticket holders to no longer need tickets and gain entry through the wristband.
  • Almost immediately, it was used to save a seat on popular attractions using an app to go along with the band.
  • Next, it allows park guests to leave their credit cards in the room and can actually perform financial transactions.

Bonus Tip: One of the most valuable ways to increase engagement is to make your app more useful over time. If the data collected can be stored to offer greater insight for the user, the more they will rely on it. (Example: Your fridge tracks your most popular food items, tells how often your items spoil, etc.)

Gather Feedback and Implement Changes (Quickly)

Gathering data can make you feel like the Wizard of Oz. Sitting in a room, never interacting, just watching what is happening in your own IoT world.

Don’t do that.

Ask for feedback through various methods. Your customers who will be engaged are often waiting for you to make the first move. Here are a few ways to get you started.

  • Surveys: These are a great way to start. Your app may gather data without the need to ask, but asking is a great way to interact with the people who are using your stuff. If you’re worried that only a few will take it, don’t. The ones that do are most likely those revenue makers (80/20 principle).
  • Customize Offers: Use the data (quickly) for them in yet another way (see above) and send them offers that may suit their needs, or “just because” resources that users can utilize to better use their devices.
  • Call Them: Yes, you read that right. Pay no attention to the developer behind the curtain. Imagine getting a “just because” call from Tim Cook or another leader who created the things you use everyday.

Be sure to listen carefully and make a note to handle even the small things, but definitely identify major issues that need resolution (and act on them).

Loyalty Programs and Partnerships

There are reasons so many loyalty plans and programs exist. Whether you use them or not, they tend to be a “win-win” for many brands and customers.

Offering a way to build up to certain rewards offers a gamification element to your products, as well as an increased perceived value. You could build your own system to reward engaged users or use a third-party offer.

Further Reading: One of the hottest companies that is reinventing loyalty is Belly Card.

Another way (along the lines of loyalty programs) is to employ strategic partnerships that make a “win-win” a “win-win-win”.

  • What products are used in conjunction with yours? (Lamps need light bulbs.)
  • Where are your items sold?
  • What are the common interests and needs of my users? (Types of entertainment and activities, etc.)

Once you set up these partnerships (or loyalty programs) and craft the offers, you can make it fun for your client to seek out these new benefits.

Key Stat: 65% of smartphone users are likely to use beacons to access a coupon or offer.

Make it Useful in the First Place

While this should be a “gimme” answer, it’s far too often left undone. There are far too many product creators who choose data and money at any cost over decency and genuinely making the world a better place.

If you’re still reading this post, that’s probably not you.

However, even people with the best intentions can put out a less than stellar application. That’s why there are companies like Koombea in the world. We can write software and applications that gather data (for you) safely and ethically while creating something that is inherently useful.

Our team of skilled developers are ready to help you make your IoT products ready for world. Not only will they be useful, but engaging (helping you create the highly sought after loyalty). We’re ready to hear about your new project and show you what it would look like to partner with us.

by Carmen Apostu
Blog Post