How to Choose the Best Loyalty Program Software for Your Business in 2021?
Choosing a loyalty program software. How to manage a loyalty program? Looking for top features of the best loyalty program software? Easy integration, personalization, and affordability are a great start for every loyalty program.
How to Choose the Best Loyalty Program Software for Your Business in 2021?
Selecting the best customer loyalty software is a tall order, but luckily there are a few features to look for to ensure that you’ve made the right choice.
These are the top features of best loyalty program software:
- It’s easy to integrate and implement within your current framework.
- It’s quick and efficient in testing.
- It’s scalable and manageable.
- It lets you personalize rewards, eligibility criteria and timing of your incentives.
- It respects legal norms and is compliant with personal data policies.
- It can be integrated with your messaging channels, or you can create new customer touchpoints with it.
- It’s consistent with your brand image.
- It’s geared up towards security.
- It’s affordable.
You did it. You made a conscious decision that a loyalty program is what your business needs. And who can blame you? A vision of increased profits and dedicated brand evangelists under arms would spur on anyone to invest more in customer loyalty and retention initiatives. But now, the question arises - do you have to create loyalty architecture from scratch and ask every Tom, Dick, and Harry to help you out or use a loyalty program software that’s already in place? I guess that the answer is pretty simple here.
Now the beauty pageant for loyalty software begins - this article will give you a concise list of features to look for in the loyalty software of your choice.
Selecting the best loyalty program software provider shouldn’t be something that you do in between meetings. You need to sit down and dig deep into functionalities offered by different loyalty providers. Before making your choice, sketch out what goals should your dreamed loyalty program meet, what mechanisms you want to set in place, and who is your target audience. And remember, if you are looking for a holistic solution, look for loyalty software that goes beyond collecting points, but can act as your CRM and assist you in hosting different incentives.
Here is a list of some top features of the best loyalty program software:
Choose loyalty software that’s easy to integrate with your current e-commerce environment.
You want your loyalty program software to be like the popular kid on the block. Other software providers need to know him and get along just fine. The easiest way to ensure smooth communication between different data systems and services is the use of a flexible API. With a robust and developer-friendly API in place, you only need to integrate your e-commerce services with new loyalty software. Then you can manage the program yourself. If integration is impossible or greatly hindered, you’d better give it a wide berth and seek loyalty solutions that will quickly adapt to services that you already use and enjoy.
API-first loyalty program software is also indispensable if you want to stay flexible with your messaging channels. Separating backend from frontend with the use of API allows you to add new channels and remove old ones from your loyalty strategy as you go.
Opt for loyalty program software that’s easy and quick to test, release and track.
Don’t jump straight into the deep end and give yourself time to analyse what you can and cannot do with the loyalty program. Good news is that you can (or at least should) run multiple A/B tests and iterations to try out different variations of your loyalty program before the launch. You need to remember that every marketing campaign is an experiment. It starts with a hypothesis, goes through a small-scale test in the field, and ends up with a global launch. That’s why you need a tool that allows for multiple tests to see what incentives and what kind of workflow has the biggest chance of success for your particular audience. Iterations are made possible by detailed monitoring and tracking tools that should be transparent and readable for both marketers and developers.
If your loyalty program software doesn’t allow for quick reward personalisation, drop it.
Do you enjoy receiving incentives that are in no way relevant to your interests, characteristics, and preferences? Yup, me neither. So please don’t do it. Invest in a loyalty program software that allows you to personalize your incentives quickly.
What makes a good personalization? When talking about loyalty programs, personalization should cover three areas: rewards, eligibility, and timing. If possible, you should expand beyond the standard point-based model with material rewards. Instead, try out rewarding customers with discounts, free samples, gift cards, cash payouts, or free delivery. Track customer trends, send surveys, and monitor customer attributes to learn what incentive would work best for a particular customer segment.
Another critical point is to define who precisely and on what conditions should get the offer. Opt for loyalty program software that allows you to quickly impose and change up redemption rules based on new customer trends, product and order attributes, and budget constraints.
The last bit of personalization is timing. You can push customers to actions by creating urgency with expiry dates or a strategically placed countdown timers. Also, calendar-driven loyalty programs for occasions such as holidays, birthdays, or anniversaries are just a brilliant and natural way to entice customers throughout the year.
Don’t forget about scalability and maintenance.
The beginnings are always the hardest, but in the context of a loyalty program, the opposite is usually true. The launch is the easiest part, followed by a tidal wave of requests, questions, inevitable complaints, and support tickets. Manual redemption and addition of points or withdrawal of a batch of coupons or points is yet another pain in the neck for your customer support agents.
There are several features of good loyalty program software that can help you to shoulder the burden:
- Transparent authorization workflow and user access for quick program adaptation.
- Audit logs for data integrity and insight into customer/user activities.
- Single customer view for enhanced personalization and support.
- Customer cockpits with loyalty points/rewards displayed to take the heat off customer support agents.
Choose loyalty program software that’s compliant with legal norms and standards.
If you lack the legal know-how, seek the advice of a professional legal advisor as loyalty programs tend to be like a can of worms. But, there are several legal provisions that all good loyalty software should meet. First of all, it should allow you to create clear and concise terms and conditions of your incentive. Another significant issue is data privacy, primarily if you operate in the GDPR or CAN-SPAM applicable region. Opt for loyalty software that allows you to handle customer data in a transparent way. Also, go for a loyalty provider that lets you create and manage marketing permissions and opt-in consents. Otherwise, you can expect a big chunk of your messages going straight to the spam folder.
Invest in omni-channel loyalty providers.
An omni-channel approach to loyalty campaigns isn’t an option anymore - it’s a must. We can talk here about in-app messages, dedicated landing pages, Google & Facebook Ads, web channels, or SMS. You probably already use some 3rd party communications providers to activate these channels, so your loyalty program software should be easily integrated with them through a plugin or API.
Consider only loyalty program software that’s ready to protect your incentives from fraud.
After launching and distributing your loyalty incentives among your audience, you need to make sure that your loyalty program is safe. That’s why you need to consider whether the loyalty provider of your choice offers built-in anti-fraud measures. Look for easy marketing permissions management, email anti-fraud options, or double-opt-in verification to confirm the identity of your loyalty program participant. Another option worth looking into is the loyalty points rolling expiration that ensures that customers have X days after their last point transaction to either earn more points or use them. This feature ensures that no points and no rewards will be either collected of claimed after the end of your program.
Choose loyalty program software that allows you to stick to your brand image.
Imagine that Coca Cola sends you a message, but the brand colours are all mixed up, the information in the footer does not make sense, and the name of the sender is nothing short of shady. Do you open the email and follow through with the instructions or maybe delete it, thinking that it’s yet another of these Nigerian scams and that somebody should do something about these guys? Yup, please don’t do it to your customers. If your clients are used to a particular look, style, and feel of your messages, stick to it. Just make sure that your loyalty provider respects your brand guidelines and vibe. When scanning the functionalities of different loyalty software, keep an eye out for white-labeling possibilities. Keep in mind that API-first loyalty software providers make white-labeling even simpler to achieve.
Don't pay through the nose
When it comes to loyalty program software, you should look for a holistic solution that goes the extra mile and allows you to do more. Invest in software that can act as your CRM database, messaging hub, and as a command center for other incentives like discount vouchers, referral programs, or even online giveaways. Paying for only one feature is merely wasteful. You’d be much better off with a high-quality loyalty software that you can use to go beyond the standard loyalty model. Choose more holistic solutions that let you shape inspiring incentives that will always surprise and delight your audience.
If you are looking for a loyalty program software that ticks all the boxes, Voucherify is here to assist you.