In the omnichannel marketplace, brands that engage with consumers as individuals stand a better chance of retaining customers. Loyalty programmes are a time honoured way of achieving this.

The first known loyalty scheme dates back to 1793 when a merchant in the US state of New Hampshire started giving customers copper tokens to collect and redeem against a future purchase.

In an age when people are in constant contact with their smartphones, retailers need to update from copper tokens to points on an engaging mobile app. Otherwise billions of their loyalty points will remain unclaimed.

The marketing firm, Bond Brand Loyalty recently estimated that $100 billion worth of loyalty points are unclaimed, either because the redemption process is cumbersome, or there’s no communication with loyalty members outside the purchasing process – so people just forget to use them.

Tech firm Comarch has brought out a white paper detailing some modern methods of developing successful loyalty schemes.

Comarch has worked with over eighty clients to build loyalty schemes and is a specialist in innovative customer engagement systems based on what it calls “gamification”.

The gamification (pronounced game-ification) market is predicted to be worth over $11 billion by 2020, but what is it?

Comarch says it’s taking strategies and devices implemented in games and applying them to business practices – creating engaging experiences that keep people coming back for more.

As examples, the white paper cites the following:

Walgreens, the American pharmacy chain, has linked its reward scheme to its members’ physical activity and wellness actions. For example, participants can: earn 250 points by linking a health app or device to the account; earn 20 points per daily weigh-in; earn 20 points per mile run, walked or cycled.

Samsung pay is a payment app with its own reward scheme. Samsung Rewards gives users of the payment app 10 points per purchase completed via the app. The reward catalogue is public, so even non-members can see what they could earn – rewards include a Gear VR headset for 12,000 points and a Gear Fit 2 for 16,000 points, or VISA / Sephora gift cards for fewer points. Members can also win prizes and get the chance to earn more points by completing certain goals in the Samsung Health app.

JetBlue’s TrueBlue loyalty scheme uses gamification. It rewards members for completed tasks, providing them with virtual and physical rewards. It rewards members by giving them the right to use their points towards the cost of any seat, at any time and by giving them six points per dollar when booking on jetblue.com.

And Disney uses a wristband – The Magic Band – for guests to wear throughout the theme park. They can use it to pay for shopping and rides, and in return, it provides Disney with data on the guests’ individual preferences and how people move throughout the park. It also enables characters to greet children by name and acknowledge when it’s their birthday. It’s connected to an app – My Disney Experience – where guests can plan their trips, book activities and make reservations.

Businesses create loyalty through developing trust, says Comarch. Without trust, it says, people won’t feel comfortable in giving the business access to their data, but with trust, mobile optimised loyalty schemes deliver excellent results for scheme members and businesses alike.