BOCA RATON, FL: There may be an app for it, but consumers like to keep things simple and use SMS when it comes to loyalty programs, research suggests.

According to mobile marketing company 3Cinteractive, 70% of consumers do not sign up for a loyalty program due to the inconvenience and time required to complete registration, but 72% of consumers said they would be more likely to sign up for a loyalty program if the process was simplified by text message.

The 2017 Mobile Marketing Planning Guide also revealed that consumers in a loyalty program have clear preferences as to the vehicle used to deliver mobile-enabled loyalty communications: 48% liked texts.

That compared to just 22% for email, 20% through app notifications and a mere 8% for direct mail.

But only 21% of the brands surveyed were using text messaging for such communications.

"Consumer appetite for mobile-enabled loyalty is outpacing the brands' ability to deliver," said Margie Kupfer, VP/marketing at 3Cinteractive.

"There is a first mover advantage to those who can get out in front of their competition on meeting the customer's mobile expectations," she told Mobile Marketer.

And with smartphones becoming near ubiquitous and being in people's possession nearly all the time, "it makes sense to optimize the mobile device with a loyalty program for a brand – in virtually any industry".

Coupon delivery (36%) and coupon redemption (19%) were the highest ranked mobile tactics and objectives for marketers in 2017 – as mobile coupons regularly produce redemption rates ten times those rate of paper coupons.

"The best way for brands to take advantage of mobile coupons is to also take advantage of the unique features and functions mobile offers – for example, location," Kupfer said. "With mobile, brands can engage with their customers when they are near or in a location, at their moment of need."

""No one leaves home these days without their phone," she added, "but they may leave a store without making a purchase because they left their printed coupon at home."

Data sourced from 3Cinteractive, Mobile Marketer; additional content by Warc staff