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Loyalty Program Apps: Our eCommerce Recommendation

April 22, 2020
4 Min Read
Loyalty Program Apps: Our eCommerce Recommendation

If you're considering an eCommerce loyalty program app, you're not alone. An integral part of a great inbound marketing strategy for eCommerce and offline retailers includes establishing and maintaining customer loyalty.

According to BigCommerce, it costs 5x less to convert existing customers than it does acquire new ones. Additionally, loyal customers spend up to 67% more than new customers.

Brands are better positioned that ever to capitalize on this opportunity for growth. However, they need technology and thoughtful strategy to gain traction. This is where customer loyalty program apps come into play.

Our Loyalty Program App Recommendation

Customer loyalty apps enable online retailers to reward customers based on predetermined criteria. These programs are designed to encourage repeat purchases and increase customer satisfaction and lifetime purchase value.

We encourage brands to take a strategic approach and choose a loyalty program app that will differentiate their brand from competitors. We're sharing why we highly recommend Smile.io.

What Is Smile.io?

Although there is never a one-size-fits-all solution, we frequently recommend Smile.io (formerly Sweet Tooth) as a customer rewards tool. We have implemented this tool for many clients and believe in its power to help businesses grow.

Smile.io currently powers approximately 25,000 active merchants using their software to increase customer loyalty. As a company, they work to help brands increase retention while decreasing dependence on ads and promotion.

Differing from other solutions in the space, Smile.io focuses its platform around three unique systems:

  • Points (to motivate valuable customer actions, like joining a program)
  • VIP (to engage your top customers by increasing rewards and status)
  • Referrals (to turn engaged members into brand advocates)

We had to opportunity to sit down with the loyalty experts at Smile.io to get their insights about what makes a program successful. We hope you enjoy their commentary below!

Insights from Smile.io's Steve Deckert

How Would You Describe Smile.io?

Smile.io gives retailers the ability to run their own loyalty programs that reward customers for their purchases and behaviors. As a result, Smile.io stores keep customers engaged and see an increase in orders.

We focus on fostering customer-company relationships that generate great experiences. Smile.io works with all types of companies from local stores to billion dollar businesses. 

How Was The Idea of Smile.io Born?

Prior to creating Smile.io, we (founders of Sweet Tooth) did custom eCommerce software development. We noticed that a lot of our clients were focusing on acquiring new customers, but weren’t able to retain their customers beyond a single purchase (this group usually checked out as a guest).

After talking to a few dozen retailers, we determined that there was a huge need for retention in the eCommerce space. So, we developed Smile.io and brought it to the eCommerce community. It was so successful that it is now our only focus.

Why Do You Feel Loyalty Programs Are So Important in eCommerce?

I think that loyalty programs - and customer retention programs in general - are an under-utilized strategy, especially in eCommerce. Online retailers tend to focus most, if not all, of their budgets on customer acquisition.

With a loyalty program, the customers you acquire will spend more per order, will purchase more frequently, and will be engaged with your brand over a greater time period.

They will have a higher “customer lifetime value.” This means that a loyalty program actually increases the ROI of customer acquisition spending.

Without a loyalty program, you have less sustainable revenue because you have to keep spending more to generate sales. A loyalty program increases profit and decreases the variance in revenue.

What Is Your Typical Merchant Profile?

Our typical client is a medium-sized retailer who wants to increase revenue and improve customer experience. Some clients have brick & mortar retail operations while some are online only.

They are usually frustrated with increasing costs to acquire a customer, especially on paid search. Our clients’ customers are usually capable of making repeat purchases over their lifetime, but it turns out that they are not or they are purchasing at a competitor’s store instead. Their customers are capable of referring their friends, but they aren't.

All of our clients want to have happy, loyal customers who love their brand and spend more at their store. Who doesn’t want this?!

Who Is The Right Fit For A Customer Loyalty Program?

Retailers Who Generate Consistent Orders

eCommerce loyalty programs work best when your customers already purchase at regular intervals. We liken this to the coffee shop loyalty punch card you might have in your wallet.

If you don't regularly visit the shop, the program doesn't offer much value. If you are not generating a steady stream of orders yet, you may want to bolster other marketing tactics to increase awareness and demand for your products.

Retailers With Price-Sensitive Customers

Price sensitive customers respond better to rewards than big spenders. However, that's not to say that brands with high average order values can't implement loyalty programs.

Ultimately, your brand should determine if customers will see value from the program you create. If your discounts or incentives motivate customers who otherwise wouldn't have purchased, we'd consider that a win.

Retailers With Several Competitors

Loyalty programs give your company the extra edge against your competitors. Specifically, they will help you stand out from your competition and give your customers a reason to remain loyal rather than shop with your competitors.

As the online marketplace becomes more crowded, brands should strive to differentiate themselves by offering added value. We often recommend loyalty programs because they offer clear incentives to remain engaged.

Do You Receive Any Common Push Back From Companies Starting A Rewards Campaign?

The number one objection that we receive from companies starting a rewards campaign is that they simply don’t have time to do this. It is a matter of prioritization.

Most retailers will agree that they want to have loyal customers that buy more often and bring their friends to buy, and most will agree that a loyalty program can be successful.

The problem is that they focus on short-term revenue goals instead of thinking about how their brand is going to be successful over a longer period of time.


If Smile.io sounds like a great fit for your company's needs, then we encourage you to explore it more as it has been a success with a variety of our clients.

And if it doesn't sound like something your business needs, then that's okay, too. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution to choosing a loyalty program app. However, we highly recommend incorporating a customer loyalty program to increase customer lifetime value and drive more conversions.

If you have any questions or are looking to explore how a loyalty program could fit in with your eCommerce marketing strategy, contact us through the form below.

Our team will be happy to walk you through additional examples, set up a demo and get you started on the path to increasing customer loyalty.

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About the author
Creative Director

Drew is the Brand Marketing Manager for Groove Commerce

Let's Grow Your eCommerce Business, Together.