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5 must-have features of a loyalty management software

by 
 
September 30, 2019

What to look for in a loyalty program management system? Features such as: dynamic customer segmentation, incentive personalization, and more.

5 must-have features of a loyalty management software

Consumers are sick and tired of irrelevant mass-offers they’ve been bombed with all day long. If you want to win their attention and increase your chances of winning their loyalty and support, your messaging has to be human and feel familiar to them. How to achieve this? All you need to do is:

  • remember some relevant facts and dates (and sometimes whereabouts),
  • offer some incentives,
  • deliver what your customers desire at the right time.

As you can see it is like being in a relationship - you remember about your anniversaries, invite your partner to dinner and offer to pay the bill. 

Do it regularly for both your partner and your whole customer base to build the solid foundations for a loyalty- and trust-driven relationship. 

Let’s drill it down a bit.

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What are the key features of an excellent loyalty program management system?

1. Dynamic segments & incentive personalization to stand out in the crowd

To connect your campaigns with customer attributes, you need to make your loyalty program management system aware of them. This means that you need to sync it with your CRM software. 

On top of that, the best reward program management software should be capable of storing other data relevant to your offered incentives. Having all this in place, your marketers will be able to see consumer profiles and their history in a unified customer view.

Such a view helps to create the right loyalty program incentives. By browsing the profiles one by one, your marketing team can come up with some personas and respective incentive scenarios. They learn how to leverage complete data to launch targeted campaigns. Then, the natural next step is to assess how many customers will be invited to your loyalty program - as you can manage an open-for-all program or a more exclusive campaign available only to the chosen customer segment . Dynamic segmentation gives marketers a way to achieve this; with the advanced set of filters, marketers can split the customer base into fine-grained groups like “dormant”, “offer X product”, “anniversary” and so on. This will then help them to evaluate the impact the loyalty campaign will have on customers, the very first step of A/B experiments.

But before we jump into A/B testing your reward programs, let’s talk about rewards. The crux of loyalty program management system lies in its ability to adapt campaign logic to business reality. It’s rewards that motivate customers and drive them to the next best outcome.

How does this translate into particular features? The loyalty program editor should support:

  • points - marketers should be able to define how customers earn points. The platform should support the most common shopping events, but also custom ones like points for social media activity or rewards for providing feedback/reviews.
  • gamification - the system should provide out-of-the-box milestones which marketers can use to build powerful loyalty programs. The milestones should be based on time, frequency, revenue, earned points or any other custom “currency”.
  • multiple rewards - as personalized rewards are the best engagement artifacts, the “your loyalty” software should cover several types, including coupons, gift cards, stored discounts, cashback, loyalty points, or any “currency”. However, to control the promotional budget, program designers should have the ability to limit the cart volume and structure or set the reward expiry date.

Needless to say, these parameters should be easy to tweak from the UI, so that marketers don’t have to bother the development team every time they want to modify anything in the loyalty program. 

2. Integrations & API to create an omni-channel experience for customers

Designing a loyalty program is one thing. The equally important next step is to deliver it to the customers to get their attention at the right time and in the right place. In today’s world, an omni-channel approach to reward campaigns isn’t an option anymore. Of course, sending general information about the loyalty program with an email newsletter is a must. But then there’s much more; in-app messages, dedicated landing pages, Google & Facebook Ads, push notifications, SMS. You probably use some 3rd party vendors to activate these channels, so it’s good that your platform can be easily integrated with them through a plugin, Zapier integration, or the API.

The API itself is a critical thing. Nowadays, when marketing teams have dozens of services supporting their job, the ability to integrate several systems is a must-have feature. The landmark example are BI tools. Attributing the loyalty program ROI and comparing members vs non-members behavior from A/B tests are the key tasks for every CMO.

Therefore, loyalty program management systems  should be equipped with a developer-friendly API. What’s developer-friendly API you ask? API with thorough documentation, an onboarding engineer, software development kits (SDK), and practical usage examples. Such a package reduces the time and effort of development teams which can account for more and more significant amounts of the CMO’s budget.

3. Always engaging self-serve customer portal & notifications

Apart from developer effort, running loyalty programs requires operational help from customer agents. Somebody has to answer dozens of customer questions related to terms of conditions and rewards. To reduce the load of this task, your loyalty system should provide customers with an easy way to monitor their performance and to redeem rewards. A self-serve customer portal integrated with your online shop or app, where the customers see their progress and previous rewards, is a smart solution. Because there’s a high chance people will be visiting it often, marketers can use this space to advertise other, relevant offers.

The last feature of an excellent loyalty program management platform are reminders. To cut through the noise and to avoid being accused of spamming your customers, you should send relevant and informational notifications about loyalty program details. What’s the point of getting a reminder about an already expired reward? Would you like to get notifications about earning points for products you will never buy? Yet, because of out-dated technology, it still happens. Smart reminders are based on real-time customer attributes and are timely displayed non-intrusively on a device of choice.

Key features of loyalty program management system [Infographic]

We have also prepared for you a quick infographic on these features if visual are more appealing to you.

Key features of loyalty program management system [Infographic]

Key Takeaways

To stand out from your competition and enrol customers into your reward program effectively, more and more personalization is needed. Without being able to segment and engage customers at the right time and in the right context, your loyalty campaigns will drop in efficiency. Before you launch your first loyalty program, sit down with your CTO and discuss how you can leverage your web application and CRM software to build marketing technology that will sky-rocket your campaigns.

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