February 16, 2012, 3:44 PM

Canadian rewards program debuts a redesigned mobile app

Air Miles improves design and usability, and frees the app from its mobile site.

Lead Photo

Consumers can use the app to earn points at participating travel companies and retailers.

Rewards programs are all about loyal consumers. The typical mobile app user is a brand loyalist. That’s why companies with apps need to put their best foot forward when they launch an app, to cater to their very best customers.

Canadian rewards program Air Miles, operated by LoyaltyOne, has redesigned its mobile app with its loyal members in mind. The new app, with versions available for iPhones, BlackBerrys and Android devices, provides more information, enhanced functionality including a GPS store locator, and new features, including a check-in game. The company worked with mobile commerce technology provider Plastic Mobile to develop the app.

Air Miles members earn points by making purchases at participating travel companies and retailers and by using affiliated payment cards. The name Air Miles stems from the company’s origins 20 years ago as a frequent flyer program. Over the years it has significantly expanded its scope to include retailers, grocers, pharmacies, gas stations and credit card companies.

Air Miles says its new design will lead to greater consumer engagement. And in the two weeks since its unveiling, it already has, the company reports. For example, the new app features a game that challenges members, which Air Miles calls collectors, to check in at locations during the course of a month. A customer selects Check In within the app and the GPS technology senses she is at a participating merchant. When she checks in, she is entered into a monthly contest that awards the 50 members with the most check-ins double the points they earned that month. Check-ins are up 700% during the last two weeks compared with the weeks leading up to the launch of the new app, Air Miles says.

The company also has almost entirely freed the app from previous connections with its mobile site. Previously, to get select additional information on the 1,200 items in its rewards redemption catalog, consumers would be linked from the app to the mobile site. Now the mobile app contains all product and account information except for transaction history. Transaction history requires consumers to enter a PIN, which can be securely handled through the mobile site. Air Miles says transaction history will be available in the next version of the app.

Also new is a GPS function that enables consumers to locate participating merchants nearby. This will help members plan their shopping as they are on the go and enable them to earn more miles, says Ali McQuaid, digital marketing specialist at Air Miles.

“From a design perspective we transferred over the features our collectors liked and built on the ones they indicated through feedback they wanted to see improved,” McQuaid says. “For feedback we looked at the reviews in the app stores, we looked to our community forum where we solicited feedback, and we tracked comments through our social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.”

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