Integrate mobile payments and loyalty programs into an app
July 02, 2013

With more consumers than ever before using smartphones and tablets to make a payment or keep track of their digital coupons, investing in electronic payment systems can help small and medium-sized businesses generate sales online. Mobile payments can get a boost from marketing initiatives, but SMBs can go one step further by integrating their loyalty and gift card program with a mobile app. According to a new report, there may be more than 160 billion apps for consumers to download by 2017. SMBs may want to consider integrating their payment systems and loyalty programs into an app to drive revenue.

Apps about to take off 
According to Mobile Marketing Watch, Juniper Research recently released new estimates about the consumer app market. Juniper projected there will be a sharp upward trend in the number of available apps by 2017. Currently, there are 80 billion apps on the market, and Juniper expects the number will rise to more than 160 billion in just a few years.

The study analyzed 2,000 data points and provided insight into how businesses may strategize their marketing in the near future.

The reason for the app spike may be more affordable smartphones and tablets entering the market and more businesses investing in app creation. Juniper also estimated that the increase may take mobile network operators, or wireless service providers, out of the equation.

Siân Rowlands, the report's author, said businesses may see more revenue and benefits from developing apps compared to MNOs.

SMBs may want to consider merging mobile payment options and loyalty programs in one accessible app. The online and offline environments continue to overlap, and it may be a good idea for SMBs to develop an app to generate sales in stores and on the web. Apps also help make the shopping experience more personal for customers who use a loyalty and gift card program.

While it may be a bit expensive for many SMBs, investing in an app has numerous benefits. The retailer will be able to upload digital coupons straight to the app and allow customers to reload their gift cards through their phone without even having to pull out the physical card. SMBs can also put daily deals on their app as an alternative to an email or mobile marketing campaign. 

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