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Loyalty Programs

Custom App vs Loyalty Platform: Which is Right for Your Small Business?

Written by 
Chloe Komesarook
April 4, 2024
Loyalty Programs
Small Business

Could a loyalty program be the missing piece in your small business growth strategy? But with options ranging from custom-built apps to specialized platforms, where should you start? Choosing the right loyalty solution can be overwhelming, as each approach comes with unique costs, benefits, and considerations.

While the allure of a fully customized app might seem appealing, it's important to weigh the potential drawbacks against your specific needs. For the majority of small businesses, loyalty platforms offer a more streamlined, cost-effective, and scalable solution. Let's delve into why the 'custom app vs loyalty platform' discussion often favors platforms when it comes to boosting small business success.

Development Cost

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The dream of a fully customized loyalty app can quickly become a financial nightmare for small businesses. Employing developers, designers, and testing teams adds up fast. 

Initial development costs can easily range from tens of thousands of dollars upwards, with no guarantee of a smooth launch or positive ROI.

In contrast, loyalty platforms like Stamp Me offer a refreshingly budget-friendly approach. Their subscription-based pricing model eliminates hefty upfront investments. Stamp Me's plans start from just $49 per month, making it one of the most affordable loyalty programs, with options to scale alongside your business. 

These plans provide robust loyalty features, engagement campaigns, analytics, and customer support –  crucial elements that would drive up the price tag significantly if you went the custom app route.

Speed to Market

Choosing between custom app vs loyalty platform solutions? Consider the timeline; time is money, especially for small businesses. The custom app development process can be painfully slow. From initial concepts to coding and rigorous testing, it can easily take months or even a year to reach launch day. 

This delay means missed opportunities to engage customers and start seeing the benefits of a loyalty program.

Loyalty platforms like Stamp Me offer a lightning-fast solution. With pre-built features and intuitive interfaces, setting up your loyalty program can be done in minutes. 

Stamp Me lets you design a fully branded digital loyalty stamp card, choose rewards, and customize communication – all without the need for any coding knowledge. This means you can start rewarding loyal customers almost immediately.

Stamp Me benefits in a graphic tile

Ongoing Maintenance & Updates

Custom apps are like owning a high-performance car – they require constant attention to run smoothly. Bug fixes, compatibility updates for new operating systems, and ensuring airtight security are ever-present demands. 

This translates to ongoing developer costs or the burden of learning how to maintain your app yourself, taking precious time away from running your business. In the custom app vs loyalty platform debate, this hidden cost is worth considering and might not be an affordable loyalty program solution.

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Functionality changes aren't simple either. Want to introduce a new type of reward or tweak your structure? With a custom app, a lot of back-and-forth is required for adjusting your program, from coding adjustments to retesting, adding to your expenses and potentially slowing down innovation.

Image of the Merchant Console dashboard on a desktop computer.

Loyalty platforms like Stamp Me take the hassle out of updates by giving you full control of your program, via the Merchant Console

This allows you to make real-time adjustments to your rewards, communication, and overall program design – no technical expertise is required. This frees up your time to focus on what matters most: building great customer experiences.

Scalability and Flexibility

Small businesses are dynamic, and a rigid loyalty program can quickly become an obstacle to growth. Custom apps are often designed with your business's current size and needs in mind. 

If you experience a surge in customers or want to expand into new markets, your app might not be able to handle the increased demand or adapt to new requirements.

Coins with a sheet of paper with a graph on it.

Scaling up a custom app can be costly and time-consuming. When considering custom app vs loyalty platform options, the flexibility of platforms supports your business growth.

You'll likely need developers to update the infrastructure, handle more data, and potentially add functionalities like multi-location support or integrations with other systems you use. 

Loyalty platforms like Stamp Me are built for scalability. They're designed to accommodate growing businesses, effortlessly handling more customers, locations, and more advanced loyalty schemes. This ensures your loyalty program is an asset to your growth, not a roadblock.


While custom apps might hold appeal for larger enterprises with complex needs, the reality is that loyalty platforms offer the flexibility, affordability, and speed-to-market that most small businesses need to thrive. 

With Stamp Me, you can bypass the headaches of development and focus on what you do best – creating moments of joy for your regulars. 

Ready to see a loyalty program boost your bottom line? Avoid the challenges of the custom app vs loyalty platform debate and get started right away. Start building customer loyalty and reaping the rewards today. Explore Stamp Me's plans and discover the perfect fit for your small business.

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