Retailer loyalty programs (LPs) are pervasive in grocery retailing. However, participant spending and redemption typically wear off over time and traditional communication has not revealed very effective at maintaining program engagement. We study the impact of in-app mobile push notifications on consumer participation and reward collection in store-loyalty programs. Using a unique data set covering consumer spending before and during such a program, we estimate the effect of push messaging on expenditure and reward redemption during the program. We report positive effects of push messages on spending, and even stronger effects on redemption, relative to a control group not receiving such messages. Due to the savings dynamics, the total spending impact is larger for messages sent early on rather than late in the program, while the opposite holds for the total number of stamps redeemed. Conditioning on observable consumer characteristics, we allow for heterogeneous treatment effects and find that the spending and redemption effects of push messaging increase with high levels of pre-program spending. Our findings reveal which loyalty-program stakeholders benefit the most from mobile marketing campaigns, and help to formulate rules for campaign scheduling and targeting.
- loyalty programs
- mobile marketing
- field experiment
- heterogenous treatment effects
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