Oftentimes, when organizations look to create an application, it is for the benefit of their own internal processes, or to improve the experience had by their customers. However, a recent trend in the mobile world shows that these programs don't have to be either/or - they can be advantageous for both clients and the company.

Ditch the loyalty cards for a digital forum
In the past when businesses established a loyalty program, it more often than not involved the use of a stamp or punch card that rewarded the holder after they made a certain number of purchases. These days, however, customer loyalty initiatives have gone digital and can offer much more than a paper card ever could.

According to ZDNet, research shows that loyalty programs are now increasingly popular among small companies, and that more than 50 percent of smaller organizations will implement such an initiative by the end of the year. While the small business world is taking advantage of customer loyalty programs at a rapid pace, even large, well-established companies can benefit from them.

"If you know who they are, what they bought, what they spend, you can give them a more personalized experience," said Mitch Harper, co-founder of BigCommerce.

While there are several third-party apps currently available for customer loyalty programs, businesses will see the most benefits from a mobile program they create with their specific client base in mind. The Wise Marketer noted that not only would this kind of customized app help retain current clients, but a loyalty app could also help attract new buyers as well.

But the benefits don't end there. Such loyalty programs can also help organizations foster better relationships with their clients, as well as turn casual buyers into brand advocates.

"Advocates are so satisfied and pleased with your offering that they tell their friends and associates," The Wise Marketer editor Peter Clark wrote. "To most people, a personal recommendation is far more convincing that any amount of promotional material they receive - even if they already trust the brand."

What to include in customer loyalty applications
There are a number of aspects and features that can make a customer loyalty application a success. Providing a list of current specials being offered either online or at the company's brick-and-mortar location, along with the items these discounts include, is one way to ensure customers know about the promotions being offered.

Including special discounts just for loyalty program members is also key. This will show these clients your commitment to them as they support your brand.

Overall, a key element to consider with any application being created is the component suite. As the information and specials provided through a customer loyalty app will change on quite the consistent basis, a flexible coding language is key. HTML5 form can not only help developers create a program that will operate across all devices customers use, but the language also makes any additions or changes to the application that much faster and easier. Since only one version of the update needs to be established for all operating systems, HTML5 form is ideal for these kinds of apps.