Loyalty + Wearables

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With the advent of the Apple Watch, Google Wear, Fitbit and other wearables - the trend has mainly been toward fitness. However, it may seem tempting to add these channels and devices to your loyalty program for the device geek or for your most avid customers. 

Simply adding a wearable version of your app won’t work, you must elevate the existing experience. And that’s really hard to do. 

So, here’s some brands who managed to break the mold and use wearables in a way that truly fits into the brand experience.

Delta + Clear: using your finger print to check into the lounge. [1]

Yes, our first example doesn’t use a device at all. The wearable is your fingerprint. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a Clear customer until I saw our managing partners skip the line into the Orlando lounge by simply using their finger print and smiling at the Delta staff. You may argue that this play is a much bigger deal for Clear (who’s target audience is the frequent traveler for whom TSA Pre isn’t even fast enough…), but for Delta - Clear is a perk of their most elite status and for lounge members - linking your Clear and Delta accounts couldn’t be easier. You also get a discount if you are any elite level and even base Delta members get a couple bucks off the annual membership.

It is important to note that this particular type of wearable and loyalty is reserved for the uber traveler - Delta’s implementation of the perk (using fingerprints) bypasses the need to have a specific app that would be downloaded and discarded by their customers who would not find value in what is being offered. 

Don’t make your guests use wearables, have your staff use them [2]

Adding a channel for wearables doesn’t necessarily mean adding an app for your customers. Viceroy has a brilliant approach when they launched a collaboration with Samsung and hospitality software Alice to provide devices to their hotel staff. Staff will be able to respond to urgent requests and communicate more effectively while retaining the use of both of their hands. 

Loyalty is ultimately about that personal touch. No one cares if you can order room service with your Apple Watch if your toilet is busted. Samsung-Alice are ensuring that staff are there when their guests need them - well done. 

Disney Magic Bands [3]

Few companies have a billion dollars to invest in creating their own custom wearable. But Disney does and that’s part of what it takes to create the Disney magic. Launched in 2013, the magic band has become an absolute mainstay of the Disney experience. Collectable, coveted and sharing the hype of a phone launch - Disney’s bet has completely paid off. 

Completely taking the guess work out of tickets, reservations, fast passes (Disney’s way to skip the line for rides) and the ability to pay anywhere in the park, Magic Bands truly contribute to the Magic. While Disney of course has the full suite of apps and other digital channels to support your experience, you want to use your phone for pictures - not to check in to the castle for lunch. 

So… our list of top loyalty wearable experiences involves none of the most common wearables. Given that Forrester, states the adoption of consumer wearables will grow 28% by 2022 [4]. We should probably include at least one app implementation that shows our loyal members the love. 

Starbucks' Rewards App [5]

It’s the easy answer and we wish we had something more hipster and less mainstream to say, but Starbucks continues to nail it with their extension of their award winning, killer rewards app. Because they keep it so damn simple. 

Starbucks revolutionized loyalty when they invented a new category of mobile payment using a loyalty program. Their wearable app? It does one thing, it lets you find a store and pay. That’s it. 

In summary, don’t just add a wearables app because you have a loyalty program app. Use the multitude of tools out there to extend an incredible brand experience. 

If you want our ideas on your brand, we’d love to help. Give me a shout at joe@persuadeloyalty.com or 612.230.1452.






  1. https://news.delta.com/delta-biometrics-launches-across-all-50-domestic-delta-sky-clubs-check-option

  2. https://news.samsung.com/us/samsung-alice-debut-new-smartwatch-solution-hotel-industry-hitec-2018-viceroy-hotel-group-will-first-implement/

  3. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/07/business/media/at-disney-parks-a-bracelet-meant-to-build-loyalty-and-sales.html

  4. https://www.forrester.com/report/The+State+Of+Wearables+2017+To+2022/-/E-RES135819

  5. https://www.starbucks.com/coffeehouse/mobile-apps/applewatch




"Alexa, tell Delta to cancel my Uber."

As loyalty marketers, we have to embrace voice. But it has to compliment the brand experience we have already built for our customers through all the other digital channels. 

As we pondered this here at Persuade, it really came down to a simple idea: we wish our apps talked to each other. 

As stewards of our loyalty programs we know we have to react to the explosion of Alexa, Google Home and their competitors.

According to Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends Report, Amazon Echo adoption grew from less than 5MM installed bases in 2016 to over 30MM installed bases at the end of 2017. There were less than a 1,000 Amazon skills in 2015 and there are over 30,000 skills today. [1]

We’ve seen hotels like the Wyn struggle with Alexa adoption by first installing them into all of their hotel rooms and then realizing that most travelers aren’t keen to login to an Alexa that they are only going to be using for a few nights. Hotels have worked with Amazon to pivot to an anonymous state that will allow Alexa’s to order restaurant service when on the road and charge you the same as for room service. [2]

While that’s cool, that’s not really what we want for the programs we manage and admire.  We want white glove treatment, exclusive perks and that feeling that we’re known and that we are special while we are interacting with these devices, just as we know we’ll be treated when we flash our elite status card at the front counter. 

So we compiled a list of things we wish Alexa and Google Home would do. We hope we get the chance to do it for our Clients or inspire someone else to do it. And its all based on the original premise: apps talking to each other. 

  1. When I check into the lounge at the airport, I’m anxiously checking my app as boarding time approaches to see if the flight is going to be delayed and therefore, I should hang in the lounge a little bit longer. 

  2. When my flight is delayed, I wish Google would call my car service automatically and let them know I’m going to be late. 

  3. When my flight is cancelled, I wish my Alexa would automatically detect and extend my stay in my hotel room. 

  4. If I have a meeting at 11 and it’s raining, my hotel app should call the front desk of the hotel and make sure there’s an umbrella for me to borrow on my way out the door. 

What’s standing in the way of this happening?

First of all, this isn’t a limitation of the device. Google, Alexa and the rest allow developers to build pretty much anything they want their applications to do. This is a limitation of apps themselves. Great loyalty programs are (in part) about partnerships. 

The fact that I can earn Uber Credits by using my American Express card is great, but American Express and Uber should extend that partnership to give their customers a fluid in app experience as well. This could be anything from login to being able to use either app to notify you where the lounge is when you land. [3]

Take our 3rd item on the wish list, Delta has a partnership with AirBnB. As part of their program, allow their developers to connect their apps together to notify the host that the guest’s flight has been cancelled so they can do their best to re-accomodate them. [4]

Ultimately our dream could be made possible by better partnerships within our loyalty programs. 

If you want ideas for partnerships for your loyalty program - give me a shout at joe@persuadeloyalty.com or 612.230.1452







  1. https://www.slideshare.net/kleinerperkins/internet-trends-report-2018-99574140?from_m_app=ios

  2. https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/hotels/2018/06/20/amazon-has-new-alexa-hotels-new-way-order-room-service/716900002/

  3. https://global.americanexpress.com/card-benefits/detail/uber-rides-with-platinum/platinum

  4. https://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/skymiles/how-to-earn-miles/hotels-airbnb.html#air