Modern consumers are constantly bombarded with advertisements, promotions and information. In an age where everyone seems to be screaming for attention, we encourage businesses to consider a more strategic approach.
Loyalty programs are an effective way to differentiate from competitors and engage your customers. When implemented correctly, these initiatives can increase lifetime customer value and drive more conversions.
The technology behind customer loyalty programs is really where the magic happens. In this post, we review factors you should consider when choosing a customer loyalty program platform, as well as recommendations based on our client experience.
Choosing a Platform
With several options to choose from, how do you know which loyalty software provider is best for your company? Here are a few things to consider when deciding which loyalty platform to utilize:
As with any project, it's best to identify available funds early in the process. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is your budget?
- How much will the program cost to maintain?
These questions will help you narrow loyalty platform options that will work for your company. Remember that scope and scale are both factors that influence price, so we recommend keeping an open mind as you go through the research process to identify options that fit your company best.
Not all platforms are created equal. When researching loyalty programs, clearly define the level of customization you business needs to achieve your goals.
Customization can range from point systems to tiered programs and many formats in between. As you go through the evaluation process, ask any platform providers specific questions to ensure their functionality will work best for you and your customers.
Overall, loyalty programs aim to enhance customer experience through meaningful relationships.
What is Smile.io?
Although there are several loyalty platforms on the market, we typically recommend Smile.io based on our client experience.
Smile.io (formerly SweetTooth Rewards) creates loyalty and rewards programs, with over 25,000 active reward programs and more than 50 million participating program members.
Based in Canada, Smile.io focuses on fostering customer-company relationships that generate great customer experiences. Smile.io works with all types of companies from local stores to billion dollar businesses.
Smile.io offers three main types of loyalty programs:
We will go into each of those programs in order to really understand the technology and strategy behind them.
A points program is the most common way to structure a loyalty program. You can reward your customers at three common stages: join, engage and share.
You can encourage membership by offering rewards when your customers join and make purchases.
Also, you can increase engagement with your customers by offering points for things like writing reviews or celebrating birthdays. Lastly, you can encourage your customers to share your brand by rewarding social shares and referrals.
Your customers will use their points to earn things like percentage discounts, free shipping, dollar discounts or free products.
To really engage your customer in a timely manner, you can enforce settings like points expiration, rate limiting or earning conditions.
VIP programs work because they promise future perks. You can increase customer engagement by offering additional rewards and status the longer a customer stays with your brand.
Customize your VIP program by setting the milestone type, such as revenue or points. You can also customize milestone duration based on a 365-day period or customer lifetime with your company.
The biggest difference between VIP programs and point programs is that VIP programs focus on connections with your top customers, while point programs benefit all customers equally.
Referral programs offer points and rewards for customers who refer and share your brand. In this scenario, you can encourage referred customers to join your program.
Smile.io gives you control over the platforms your customers can send referrals from. Most importantly, they make it easy for your potential customers to claim and use their rewards.
From platform to program, make your loyalty program work for your company and, most importantly, your customer. Get excited to establish those relationships and enhance your customer experience.
Have questions about customer loyalty program technology? Please reach out through the form below!
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