How retail apps can improve user engagement and retention: 9 ways to increase customer loyalty

Max B, CEO
Max B, CEO
May 3, 2024
15 minutes
We strive for quality service… well. In the last article, I was only at the end able to formulate why I am sharing with you ideas for improving the retail application. Of course, I began to write it in order to amuse my pride. Today, after all, this will not surprise anyone. And I ended with the thought that I somehow already offered to implement all of the above points to the clients of my development studio
But really, I just moved on after. I plunged into the world of food tech and decided I want to make it better. Better in everything. And I started with the quality of service that retailers provide to their visitors. In this part of the article, I will continue to tell you how it can be upgraded. For example, in terms of building loyalty.

Reviews about the store/seller/product

You, as the owner of a large business, can wear rose-colored glasses for a long time and not even know that visitors are dissatisfied with something. How to establish this communication channel? How to influence the smiles of sellers, the cleanliness of the hall and the quality of the goods? And on the other hand, buyers who also often want to say a couple of flattering and not very words about the service. The book of complaints and suggestions is obsolete. Yes, and in 140 stores — this is already 140 books. Straight collected works, which Shakespeare would envy.
Therefore, I will again talk about the experience of a client who has implemented reviews in his application and now receives all the information about how his business works.
Just imagine 81k customers registered, 20k orders processed per day, 10k daily app visits and 46k customer reviews left in a year.
This is undoubtedly a huge step in terms of increasing audience loyalty and the quality of the service provided. This is the only way to get rid of low-quality products, rude employees and attract more customers.

Loyalty program (cashback, discounts, gifts)

The smartphone loyalty program is convenient not only for the consumer, but also for the seller. It allows:
• quickly deliver new promotions and special offers to users;
analyze your target audience better;
• test new marketing tools and formats;
• sell additional services and increase points of contact with the client;
• quickly change the terms of the loyalty program without high costs;
• change the design and functionality of loyalty cards without reissuing the entire circulation;
• motivate users to make more purchases from a smartphone and increase the share of mobile sales.

They are of several types:

Point system: the customer makes purchases and points are awarded to him. With these points, the user can partially pay for the following purchases.
Discount system: low prices for goods, groups and categories of goods, special prices depending on the season, trend and events.
Cashback: consumers receive part of the money spent on purchases on their card or personal account and decide how to use it later.
Individual loyalty program: the discount program is tied to the interaction of offline stores with partners, it has an element of a cross-program, or you want to give your partners the opportunity to collaborate within a cross-program.
Important! Do not overthink the rules of the loyalty program and visualize it as much as possible in the application so that users do not write 100 times to the support service with questions and do not torment sellers.

Family group

When discount plastic cards were in use, it was not convenient to pass them on to each other. In some cases, this could deprive the privileges of the card holder. They were replaced by discounts on phone numbers. It became a little easier to exchange bonuses, but it was necessary to request a confirmation code from the owner of the discount. One of our clients, the largest Belarusian chain of fish and seafood stores “John Dory”, went the other way. In their loyalty program, you can and should join family groups in order to save and spend bonus points together.
The example turned out to be contagious and since then the possibility of joining in family groups has become a familiar option in the application for the retailer, which we offer when compiling the project requirements.

Support Chat

Contacting support to resolve any issue is 100 times easier than dialing and calling. Therefore, chat is increasingly appearing in applications. In it, you can clarify whether there is any specific position in the nearest store, write what you liked, or, on the contrary, complain about some problems. In a word, somehow get closer to the brand.
When you can write to a call center, you rarely bring it up. But when there is no such option, rage knows no bounds. Or the case with chat bots. Of course, we are for the automation of processes, but, unfortunately, these “robots” are still far from perfect and, instead of saving time, they first annoy users, and then send them to wait for a free operator.
Do not do it this way! Make a normal support service that will reduce the number of calls, which will be able to solve pressing issues and really help. This will increase the loyalty of your customers and set you apart from your competitors.

Gifts and free bonuses

In fact, it is difficult to get into trouble in this matter. Stimulating demand with gifts or “every fifth business lunch” as a gift is probably one of the oldest ways. He just moved online. We accumulate miles, liters, collect marks in order to eventually get a freebie. Every business has its own. But it is the one who makes you choose your store, and not the neighboring one.


I can already hear sarcastic laughter. But no. Notifications can’t always be annoying. Imagine that someone in the family group adds a product to Favorites and you receive an alert. What for? For example, to make the dreams of loved ones come true. Or understand what you need to buy during the next trip to the store.
I see that you, as a business owner, are in doubt: “How will this increase your profits?” You can complement everything with special offers built along the sales funnel to give people something that they did not plan to buy.
All this is done based on the analysis of the user’s basket for the previous period.

Shopping list

It seems to me that only the lazy did not dream of such a thing. It is clear that there are special applications for this, notes on the phone or at least a piece of paper. But I suggest thinking more broadly — by creating a shopping list right in the application, a person immediately sees great deals, promoted products, etc. Can book at this price and then buy at the end of the week all together with something.
And you, as a businessman, get access to data:
• average check;
• decline rate;
• frequency of purchases;
• seasonality of purchases;
• the categories of products you are interested in;
• delivery and pickup addresses;
• preferred delivery and pickup time.
All this information can be used for your own marketing purposes or sold to other companies.

Maximum personalization

The era of Black Fridays and mindless sales will soon sink into oblivion. Personalized offers are being replaced. Do you love fish on Thursdays, fry burgers with your family on Saturdays, and go to the sauna with friends on Sundays?
Okay, then for you on Thursday, 2 packs of tartar sauce for the price of 1, the best offer in town for premium coal for BBQ and a special discount from the store partner “Sauna on the wood”.
Do you think I will visit the store more often after this? Of course, because they did not offer me a discount on cat food. Because they know that I am a dog person. Of course, this can scare someone: “They know so much about me.” But you already order on the Internet, buy at the checkout, etc. It’s just better now. It’s as if someone unfamiliar took care of you.

Additional services

Usually, these are the services that the store does not officially sell, but at the same time can offer the user in addition to the order. For example, shipping, packaging, extended warranty, or additional activities related to the sale of a product, such as a free workshop on how to use a new product. In certain sales segments and for certain categories of clients, this may even be a personal manager.
That’s all for now. As always, you can add something to this list, ask in person, discuss in social networks. And I went to write the third and final part, in which I will tell you how the store can go from offline to online. All of a sudden another pandemic hits.