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Choosing the Right Retail Loyalty Platform

In the constantly shifting world of retail, customer loyalty is the North Star that keeps retailers on the path of constant growth and gives them a… View Article


Choosing the Right Retail Loyalty Platform

In the constantly shifting world of retail, customer loyalty is the North Star that keeps retailers on the path of constant growth and gives them a leg up on the competition. Selecting the right retail loyalty platform is key to fostering and maintaining customer loyalty.

Establishing and nurturing a lasting customer base is not only key to keeping pace with continually moving business targets but also to owning them. Yet, it isn’t as simple as putting a product in front of a customer; guaranteed success is found in crafted and ongoing engagements. After all, successful retailers today don’t just deliver a product or service; they provide an exciting and ongoing experience. Here’s to finding out how the right retail loyalty platform can help get you there.

This blog will explain the importance of customer loyalty programmes in today’s retail world, as well as the interventions that brands can use to nurture this phenomenon. We’ll evaluate different examples of loyalty platforms on the market to provide a clear understanding of what to look for as you begin your search.

We’ll guide you through the concrete steps to find the platform that best serves your needs:

  1. Understand your business goals
  2. Evaluate your customer base
  3. Break down platform features and functionalities
  4. Compare pricing and support
  5. Take advantage of demo and trial offers
  6. Look to the industry for insights and reviews

Finally, we’ll present real-world examples of transformative customer relationships fueled by exceptional loyalty, driving engagement, retention, and business growth. Read on to discover how to make customer loyalty your brand’s North Star.

What Is a Customer Loyalty Platform?

Customer loyalty platforms are full-featured solutions that empower retailers to build lasting customer relationships. Above all, they allow retailers to create and manage loyalty programs that meet both customer and business needs. These formalised reward systems, are designed to encourage repeat purchases or engagement. Loyalty platforms for retailers come in various forms, each offering different benefits to appeal to diverse consumer preferences.

Here are just a few benefits that these platforms have to offer:

  • Enhance Customer Retention: At its very core, a customer loyalty platform helps businesses implement new strategies to increase customer retention. Reward programmes, personalised offers, and targeted promotions can all be designed, implemented, and managed with a few clicks of a mouse. The goal is to convert one-time consumers into loyal customers ensuring they return to your store for future purchases.
  • Drive Engagement and Repeat Purchases: A customer retail loyalty platform goes far beyond customer retention. It actively engages customers and makes discussing a purchase or other action with your company a pleasant experience. Many loyalty platforms gamify the shopping experience by adding structured rewards programs or gamification elements to each purchase. The goal is to make buying your product or shopping at your online store a fun and interactive experience that keeps them interested in purchasing your products and services.
  • Custom Loyalty Programmes: Loyalty platforms for retailers also make it possible to custom tailor a loyalty programme for the business’s needs. Want to create a points system or a dollar-spent model? No problem. Want to offer loss-leader small rewards or freebies, or want to create exclusive or invite-only custom reward levels? Easy as pie. Beyond these great ideas, these platforms can offer many more ways to drive customer engagement and dollars for the business.

Customer Loyalty Programme Explained

A customer loyalty programme is a structured marketing strategy designed to encourage customers to continue to shop at or use the services of a business associated with the ram. These programmes exist for most types of businesses, each with varying features and reward schemes. 

In marketing, and more specifically in retailing, a common tool used in loyalty programmes is a loyalty card. Also known as rewards cards, points cards, advantage cards, or club cards, they are plastic or paper cards that are visually similar to credit cards, and they identify the cardholder as a participant in a loyalty program.

There are numerous types of loyalty programmes. Let’s look at some specific examples:

  • Point-based programmes: Customers earn points with each purchase that they can apply to later purchases or simply hang onto until the time is right, providing them with a sense of added value with each visit.
  • Tiered loyalty programmes: Customers progress through the ranks based on how much they engage with or spend at a business, with each new tier unlocking exclusive rewards or privileges, making shoppers feel like they’re truly progressing on an adventure with the brand.
  • Cashback programmes: Customers get a percentage of the money they spend back in cash (or complete a purchase with money they’ve gotten back on previous purchases, if they’re simply building up), which isn’t just something they’ll definitely enjoy but has been shown to lead to more purchases.
  • Paid loyalty programmes: Customers pay a set membership fee to receive an array of special perks and benefits, demonstrating a sense of belonging and commitment to the brand.
  • Referral-based loyalty programmes: Customers are tasked with referring new customers to the business without the business asking for it and are generally awarded—often with incentives or discounts—for each successful referral, allowing the brand to organically grow its customer base.
  • Subscription-based loyalty programmes: Rather than making a single purchase, customers opt to have a fee charged to them on a regular basis (monthly, quarterly, or annually), which entitles them to something exclusive, like a stream of premium content or products, building a sense of recurring commitment to the brand.

How to Evaluate a Retail Loyalty Platform: A Checklist

When selecting retail loyalty software, you are essentially choosing a platform that will significantly influence the trajectory of your business’ success. 

Here are some key things to consider when looking into different retail loyalty platforms.

  1. Understand your business goals: Before you delve into evaluating loyalty programmes, it’s important to set business objectives and understand how a programme will align with those goals. Whether you’re looking to increase basket size, enhance customer engagement, or grow your customer base, your loyalty programme will only succeed if it is tied to your company’s overarching goals.
  2. Evaluate your customer base. Take the time to understand who your best customers are, so you can properly tailor your loyalty programme to their attitudes, behaviours, and even shopping patterns to ensure it has the greatest impact.
  3. Break down platform features and functionalities: assess sets of features, functionality, and points of differentiation across different platforms. Make sure to compare and gain insight into which platforms have the best offerings. Like robust personalisation options, a wide array of options for rewarding customers, the ability to distribute via various channels (like social media, in-app, or via email), the ability for the programme to scale as you grow, and integration capabilities with other systems in terms of type and speed.
  4. Compare pricing and support: Do a full analysis of pricing structures, and make sure that each platform has support that is as robust as the platform itself in terms of providing ongoing support after implementation and as your programme evolves over time.
  5. Take advantage of demo and trial offers: Make sure to take full advantage of any demo or trial periods that platform providers offer. During this time, you can size up a platform by testing its usability and its interface. See if it aligns with what your business is looking to do in terms of a solution.
  6. Look to the industry for insights and reviews. Use industry benchmarks and those of other retailers as a baseline. There are a lot of places where retailers and industry experts are doing the work of dissecting platforms and giving reviews in a fair-minded way. Taking it a step further, platform providers also have the ability to connect retailers with other retailers and share experiences.

By doing your due diligence in all of these areas, you should be able to select and invest in a retail loyalty software platform with certainty. This will ensure the help that you need in order to realise your business objectives in a way where you can forge stronger connections and retain customers.

Top Loyalty Software and Platforms for Retailers

The best loyalty software and platforms for retailers are specifically tailored to retailers, and the right fit for your company will depend on a number of factors. A few examples of loyalty platforms and software to look into include:

  • Lightspeed: Being able to provide all the loyalty programme features a retailer might need, Lightspeed is a powerful retail management solution that is centred around creating exceptional customer experiences. Lightspeed has customer segmentation and targeted promotions that make it a perfect fit for every type of retailer.
  • Antavo is a vibrant and interactive loyalty programme developer that has the goal of driving customer retention and revenue. Using gamification, social sharing, and referral rewards, this platform is engaging for both brands and customers.
  • Kangaroo Rewards is a mobile loyalty platform that allows retailers to build custom loyalty programmes, automate email and text message marketing, and track customer participation in real-time. Complete with mobile app integration and push notifications, Kangaroo Rewards keeps you connected to your customers.
  • Tapmango is a cloud-based customer loyalty solution specifically created for medium-sized and small businesses, making customer data available on any smartphone. An automatic marketing campaign builder and customer feedback tools make it effortless to cultivate customer loyalty and encourage repeat business.
  • Fivestars is a customer loyalty and marketing automation platform that empowers stores and local retailers to attract new customers and engage with them across all locations. Personalised offers from FiveStars and targeted messaging drive customer loyalty and revenue growth for stores across the US.
  • Loyalzoo is a digital retail platform that allows merchants to create custom reward programmes to incentivize customers to keep coming back. Its mobile app, which syncs with a number of POS vendors, and customer analytics reveal insights such as customer purchase behaviour and product preferences. This allows retailers to better understand their target audience and meet their customer expectations.
  • Emarsys is a customer engagement platform for retailers designed to provide the flexibility to be able to target customer trends and individual interests across all channels. With features like personalised messaging and predictive analytics, Emarsys takes the hassle out of marketing so retailers can focus on the strategy part.

Loyalty Software and Platforms for Retailers: A Digital Transformation Imperative

The unrelenting march of technology is reshaping traditional retail paradigms in a dynamic digital landscape. As consumer preferences continue to shift towards online channels and seamless omnichannel loyalty programmes, retailers have no choice but to adapt or risk getting left behind. What was once a choice has now become a necessity in an increasingly digital retail environment.

As retailers race to keep up, the implementation of a robust loyalty platform and customer loyalty programme has emerged as a critical cornerstone of a retailer’s digital transformation strategy. These technologies allow retailers to tap into vast areas of data from digital interactions, extracting deep customer insights into preferences, behaviours, and purchasing patterns. These customer insights, in turn, are the ticket to crafting a deeply relevant, personalised, and valuable customer experience and digital transformation strategy.

With brand loyalty proving increasingly elusive in today’s competitive world of retail, a loyalty platform is also a potent tool for driving a more lasting connection between retailer and customer. Retailers can incentivize new purchases and encourage repeat business through personalised, targeted promotions like birthday gifts or exclusive perks. All these actions are geared toward building trust, brand loyalty and advocacy.

But most importantly, with a fully integrated retail loyalty platform, retailers can implement their omnichannel retailing for an enhanced customer experience.

Whether consumers are transacting or engaging with a brand through online channels, mobile apps, or good old-fashioned in-store interactions, a single, unified loyalty programme can ensure consistency and coherence across all touchpoints. All while giving the consumer exactly the kind of omnichannel customer experience they…well, expect.

For retailers with digital transformation and loyalty platforms, investment is a race; it’s a race for their very future in an increasingly digital world. With a bevy of tools and technologies at their disposal, retailers are building the kind of future-proof value propositions that will resonate with consumers, driving the lasting loyalty required to stay relevant and successful well into tomorrow.

So, why get left in the past? Discover the countless benefits of digital transformation in retail and what this could mean for your company.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, customer loyalty is the cornerstone of success in today’s fast-shifting retail arena. Therefore, it’s pivotal that retailers introduce a solid retail loyalty platform that offers advanced customer loyalty programmes that will drive customer engagement, increase customer loyalty, and bring about valuable repeat business. 

In particular, the ultimate takeaway is that retailers ensure that they’ve chosen the platform to help them in this endeavour wisely. Not all software is created equal. Retailers who use adequate loyalty methods protect themselves not only from the whims of life in retail in this unpredictable economy but also ensure that the fruits of their labours enable sustained success.

By focusing on loyalty in its wider digital transformation plan, retailers can future-proof the operation and make sure that it is elastic enough to roll with the punches as and when consumer trends and market forces shift yet again.

Join our upcoming “The Future Of the High Street” conference to gain more invaluable insights from industry experts on navigating the evolving retail landscape. Book your spot now for the 5th of June 2024. 

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