If you are one of the 2.6 billion people who own a smart phone, you are familiar with apps. You use them every time you are on your phone to do things like access your bank accounts, your social media platforms, your music library, or your cloud storage. You also use them to read the news, watch TV shows, play games, or even order your next cup of coffee.

Apps are an integral part of smart phones, and therefore, it should not come as a surprise that more businesses are turning to apps as a way to foster customer engagement and loyalty. Especially considering that smart phone owners spend as much as 80% of their smart phone time in an app.

So as a business owner, how can you leverage your app to deepen your customers’ loyalty? The options are endless, but we have a few suggestions you can try right away:

1. Gamification
Add some gaming elements to make your app more fun— We’re not saying you should turn your app into a game, but if you include some gaming interactions, your customers will come back again and again to keep experiencing the fun. Some examples include a rewards system for check-ins, an augmented reality experience when your customer is in the app, and even a social media challenge.

2. Use Social
Speaking of social media, incentivize your customers to share their experiences— There is no avoiding the predominance of social media, and Marketing 101 will teach you that word-of-mouth is the most effective form of advertising, so take full advantage by combining the two. Use your app to encourage customers to share information about your business on their social media platforms. Not only will you build your customer base, but you will also engage your current customers in their own experiences more fully.

3. Communication
Use your app to communicate, communicate, communicate— No single technological innovation has made it easier to reach your customers than apps. With a few clicks, you can send mobile-exclusive discounts, early-access promotions, or even a push notification coupon to customers whose GPS’ place them within a certain radius of your location. Your app can communicate with your customers in a thousand different ways, and keep them in touch with you with almost no effort.

If your business does not yet have an app, you are falling behind your competitors at an alarming rate. But it’s not too late. Create your AppOn account and build your own fun, engaging, and communication-friendly app in moments!