Establishing long-term relationships with clients is a must-have for the development of any business. You should create not only products or services appealing to the target audience but also find ways to constantly hold their interest to encourage repeat purchasing. For this purpose, there are loyalty programs - comprehensive marketing activities designed to enhance the attractiveness of a particular commercial establishment in the eyes of regular customers by giving them exclusive benefits, such as discounts or bonuses. Such programs have been around for a while, but now they are available to representatives of any business, from a multinational company to a small coffee shop. The terms and mechanisms for providing privileges depend on the specifics of a particular institution. Still, the goal remains unchanged - to drive brand commitment and encourage customers to seek your services.
This article is dedicated to the IT Loyalty project, a loyalty program for information technology workers that has got lots of followers, including "non-IT" city residents. We will tell you about the project background and team’s mission, as well as what has contributed to its success and what plans we have for the future.
Ihor Tomych, an ITOMYCH STUDIO founder, together with Kharkiv IT Cluster, initiated the creation of IT Loyalty in 2018. The original idea was to facilitate the “informational navigation” of IT workers through a single application that would contain expert digests about city life. They were meant to cover major events, services, workshops, recommended establishments, educational courses, and anything else that might be useful and able to help an IT professional to ensure quality rest and professional development. Besides saving time by providing topic sets, the app also helps reduce costs thanks to a discount system.
The slogan of the project is "Download IT Loyalty and get a cheat code to your city!" as the application allows "hacking" Kharkiv by always staying tuned for the best entertainment and professional events, as well as the best commercial options. Such notions as "cheat code" or "hack" are inherent in the gaming world, so the ITOMYCH STUDIO team decided to develop a design concept that reproduces the graphics of pixel art indie games. They, in turn, were influenced by the games produced in the ‘80s and ‘90s and stylized as 8- or 16-bit images. This is how AL, the mascot of the project depicted on the mobile app logo, appeared.
We intended to involve partners, the institutions loyal to the IT community, which will offer promotional offers and discounts to all the participants of the program. Initially, we developed an iOS version of the product, added just a few partners, and launched the app in test mode. Since the release, we have issued six updates, each of which provided for the emergence of new features and deepened customization. At the beginning of 2019, IT Loyalty became available to Android owners, with "Coupons" and "Calendar" appearing in the app. Moreover, we broadened the range of partners offering up to 100% discounts.
The development team has created four elements of the IT Loyalty system:
When we were launching the application, we considered our target audience to be IT professionals. Of course, we dreamed that the project would become widespread among the "non-IT" part of the city because the planned content could be useful to every Kharkiv citizen. So, two types of accounts were created: an IT and a basic account. The IT account requires registration through a corporate email. It is intended for the employees of the companies constituting the part of Kharkiv IT Cluster, as well as of IT Loyalty partner companies and provides:
The basic account offers lower discounts and access to fewer offers from our partners. However, it can be created by anyone from any email, regardless of their affiliation with the information technology world.
Each user has a personal digital card with a number. The transaction conditions are very simple: you need to place an order and give the last four digits of the card. The app allows reviewing all transaction details. Therefore, such a digital solution eliminates the need to carry a physical card, simplifies the process of servicing users, and, in general, makes it more comfortable and up-to-date.
The results we have today have exceeded our most ambitious expectations, as the number of application users is growing in proportion to the range of services and city hacks being provided. More than 3,500 people currently use it, 40% of whom don’t work in the IT sector. We attribute the popularity of the app to its real usefulness and interestingness for our citizens, who recommend it to their friends and relatives.
Another factor contributing to the popularity of the application is the blog on the IT Loyalty website. We regularly publish thematic write-ups, reviews of new establishments, and tips on where to eat the tastiest dishes, have the most fun and work productively. To ensure the highest quality of our digests and make them as informative as possible, we interview industry experts, entrepreneurs, food bloggers, influencers - those who are the most knowledgeable about the particular topic.
Currently, the app has 50 partners, 11 of whom joined just in February this year. Cafes, educational courses, barbershops, beauty studios, fitness clubs, travel agencies, dentistries, hotels, quest rooms, and many other types of institutions cooperate with us. Recently, there has been real competition among those who want to become our partners, as businesses are competing for a solvent audience and understand the power of word-of-mouth marketing. The IT field includes a large number of young and forward-minded people, who visit the mentioned facilities, use a wide range of services and communicate a lot, thus becoming a significant factor in the promotion of any business they get to like.
It is worth mentioning that employers who are members of the IT Cluster have a more extensive discount program within IT Loyalty, which appears to become an additional perk for their future employees.
Over the past year, IT Loyalty allowed users (at that time, 3,000 people) to save a total of about UAH 100,000. However, we’d rather illustrate this achievement by the examples of the "impressions" our users received thanks to the program. Thus, in 2019 there were:
Certainly, this list is far from being exhaustive. In addition, the beginning of 2020 was marked by a positive trend that proves that the application usage is only gaining momentum: 500 new users and 650+ transactions in February - a good guarantee for the expansion of our product and the acquisition of new followers.
September 2019 marked the anniversary of the launch of the project, which coincided with the release of a new series of Apple devices. Our entire team gathered at Planeta Kino to watch a full-screen presentation of Apple technological devices and then discuss the achievements and prospects of IT Loyalty scaling. This is how the tradition of brainstorming started, which results in highly technological solutions aimed at bettering user experience and improving the overall product.
Our current goal is to create even more diverse content for the blog, cooperate with new partners and, of course, expand and improve the functionality of the application. One of the most ambitious future-oriented plans is to cover the geography of the whole country: cooperation with businesses in different cities, relevant topic sets, and, as a consequence, the attraction of users from different parts of Ukraine.
P.S If you are still not a member of the IT Loyalty program, don’t hesitate to download the app, diversify your leisure time, and save money with us!