A box office hit for Regal Entertainment Group

A reimagined moviegoing experience increased in-app ticket purchases by 290%.

The Work

With 7,307 screens in 564 theaters, the largest movie theater chain in the U.S wanted to re-envision its customer loyalty program—including its apps for Android, iOS, and tvOS. Regal partnered with WillowTree to bring the magic of the movies to mobile.

The Challenge

Movie aficionados loved the Regal Cinemas experience, and Regal had a vision to enhance its loyalty program to reward them. Regal partnered with WillowTree and began reworking its approach to customer loyalty in all channels—including digital.

The Process

Loyalty is more than just tiers and rewards—it’s the result of an extraordinary customer experience.

Regal Entertainment Group and WillowTree performed in-depth research on Regal customers: identifying key personas, mapping customer journeys, and drawing out strategic insights from the process. We also performed ethnographic research, heading to the theater to complete on-site observational interviews in urban and suburban cinemas. And we distributed surveys to over 3,000 Regal loyalty club members.

Using our proprietary process to analyze user behaviors, we were able to segment the personas based on how often they go to the movies. By understanding the customer’s experience, Regal improved its data integrity and reduced the number of duplicate loyalty card sign-ups. Plus, it ensured that moviegoers will receive a better experience, with more Regal Crown Club points and rewards.

Once we identified our behavior-based personas, we aimed to get low-engagement personas registered in Regal’s loyalty program. So we focused on optimizing the registration process, making sign-in workflows simple and quick. To aid in the process, we drafted a user journey map, which outlines the 10 steps in a typical journey through the cinema, along with user sentiment at each step. The next goal in the loyalty journey was to convert registered users into regular customers. We plotted 10 steps, identifying at each point an area for improvement in the new loyalty program. For example, many occasional moviegoers said they didn’t understand how to get to the next level in the program. So in our designs, we clearly emphasized the steps to leveling up, incentivizing users to visit Regal Cinemas more often.

Finally, we added design touches that incorporated the very latest Google and Apple mobile design guidelines. These beautiful interactive elements help bring the loyalty process to life, allowing customers to play with digital jewelry to see their level. The designs also gamify loyalty, incorporating progress bars so that users can watch their points climb.

Its easy-to-use features and superior design quality led Apple to feature the Regal Cinemas iOS app in its store.

"Can't stop using this app. I like watching my points grow and having control on what I can spend them towards. Fun, fast, and easy to use."
—Evelyn M., 5 star review

The Results

The app proved incredibly successful, garnering 4.5±star ratings from customers in both the Apple App Store and Google Play. Its popularity led to Regal exceeding its business goals:

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