The estimated reading time for this post is 6 Minutes

Introduction

The article “Apple Card Review: A credit card that Will Lock You to iPhone Forever” is written by Raymond Wong and published by mashable.com. It revolves around Apple, a large tech industry that designs, develops, and sells hardware and software. Apple’s latest product is the Apple Card, a Goldman Sachs credit card issued by Mastercard. The article provided evidence about how the new Apple Card acts as a marketing ploy to strengthen its customer loyalty and get consumers to spend more on Apple products and services. The company does this by designing an exceptional, personalized customer experience and offering rewards for using its payment service, Apple Pay.

Body

Hsu et al. (2017) stated that customer loyalty is a deeply held commitment to re-purchase products from the same brand regardless of the varying product availabilities in the market. Sustaining current customers and increasing their loyalty is important in gaining a competitive advantage. According to Mascarenhas et al. (2006), there are 3 types of loyalty. Behavioral loyalty can be measured by the consumer’s purchase and usage behavior. This often relates to customer satisfaction. Attitudinal loyalty is expressed as the relationship of a customer to a brand. It depends on someone’s preferences towards a brand and their significant others. Last but not least, situational loyalty is subject to chance. It is determined by the purchasing or shopping situation and the least effective. Apple, for example, designs its products to create memorable experiences for customers which improve customer focus within the company.

Findings from the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (2018) show that Apple has ranked first in loyalty rates since 2017 with about 80-90% of customers upgrading from one iPhone to another. With global competition on the rise, companies have begun to offer personalized user experiences, which Aggarwal and Arora (2013) believe is the best way to retain customer loyalty. The Apple Card’s world-class UI does this by using machine learning to personalize purchase habits and categorize merchant names. This makes it easier for customers to set their budgets. Each transaction includes a picture of the place where your purchase was made, its location on a map, and the number of rewards gained. Wong (2019) emphasized how the Apple Card’s best feature is its user interface which makes it easy to track transactions.

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On the internet, various articles about the newly launched Apple Card talk about its practical software as an appealing quality and how it beats other banking apps such as Chase. This shows how Apple has won over customers by directly connecting with its users and addressing their needs. Aside from personalization and utility, Apple’s beautiful design also proved to attract new and existing users. By being willing to replace any card that loses its shine without additional charge, Apple stresses the importance of the card’s appearance. Wong (2019) admitted how the laser-etched and numberless design on the card tempted him to get one himself, despite not needing a new credit card. The Wallet app’s interface also affected him psychologically in a way that made him feel bad when accumulating debt and compelled him to make more payments whenever he could. He also found himself opening the app to look at his credit card statements more often.

Hsu et al. (2017) conducted research and found that product design generates positive psychological responses toward a brand which then leads to greater attitudinal and behavioral brand loyalty. This trend is present in social media where dozens of Apple Card users show off their sleek new cards online. In today’s hectic lifestyle, added convenience is a valuable bonus to our lives. Signing up for the Apple Card happens entirely on the iPhone and generally takes less than 3 minutes. It involves entering your name, phone number, address, date of birth, annual income, and the last four digits of your Social Security number. Once approved, the new card will immediately be available for use. The easy registration and unnecessary waiting for a physical card indisputably beat other banks with long application processes. Wong (2019) mentioned that the younger generation today will sign up for the Apple Card simply because it’s just a few taps away from their iPhones. According to Benoit et al. (2017), previous research has also shown that service convenience has a positive correlation with customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction then leads to various lasting perks, including increased customer loyalty and financial gain. This signup feature increases the number of people willing to try out the card and sequentially, Apple’s customer base.

The Apple Card is essentially a way to reward customers loyal to their brand. Apple isn’t charging any late, annual, or international fees on the Apple Card. They also give instant cashback whenever the Apple Card is used. The rewards program is 3% on any Apple purchases, 2% on all Apple Pay transactions, and 1% on everything paid with the Apple Card. Even though other companies have better reward programs, Apple believes the simplicity and immediate cashback will appeal to customers who dislike complicated reward points. Wong (2019) wrote that getting cash back after transactions enticed him. Because of this cashback system, people will be more likely to spend on Apple products. Instead of Spotify, users subscribe to Apple Music. Instead of Dropbox, users buy iCloud storage. One technique in maintaining customer relations is to further reward customers for their loyalty and show their importance, stated Aggarwal and Arora (2013). This is shown in Apple’s cashback approach. So what’s in it for Apple? People are questioning if this new product will be able to turn profitable. However, Apple might not be aiming to gain profit with the Apple Card. Instead, it prioritizes making consumers gain benefits to create satisfied and loyal customers. By introducing the Apple Card, Apple conveniently ties money and tech together, capturing more customers and making it harder to leave the Apple ecosystem, claimed Wong (2019). With figures from the International Data Corporation (2019) showing Apple’s 30% decline in iPhone sales this year, the Apple Card might be the solution to protecting the weakening iPhone.

Conclusion

The Apple Card is an exceptionally clever business move made by Apple. It builds on incredible ease, customer satisfaction, and value. All of this directly contributes to increasing Apple’s customer loyalty. So while the benefits sound appealing, anyone who signs up for the Apple Card will be shackling themselves to Apple for a long time.

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