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What’s the Best Loyalty Points Software for Small Businesses?

Written by 
Brad Davis
February 14, 2022

If you’re researching loyalty points software for your small business, then you probably already recognise the importance of investing in a digital loyalty program.

Even if your intention is to simply offer a standard “Buy X Get Y” deal that could be delivered via paper punch cards, there are countless benefits to digitizing this process. The data collected from loyalty points software provides your business with actionable insights to your customers’ behavior, which in turn allows you to increasingly personalize each customer’s individual experience.

Aside from the fact that 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide relevant offers and recommendations, SmarterHQ reports that 79% of digital marketers in retail are investing in personalization tools. In short, neglect personalization at your own peril!

Thankfully, it’s never been easier for businesses of all shapes, sizes and industries to implement a highly intuitive rewards program that constantly works to retain more customers and boost brand loyalty.

Digital loyalty apps have changed the game when it comes to engaging customers with targeted communications and offers directly to their smartphone, anywhere, any time. There are numerous digital loyalty app providers to choose from, all of which give your customers a convenient way to earn points and redeem rewards while giving your business a clearer image of who your customers are and what they want.

So… what should you be looking for when comparing loyalty points software for your small business?

1. Quick and easy to set up and maintain

digital stamp card
A digital stamp card

Some digital loyalty apps are more tedious to implement than others; especially if there’s special equipment or POS integration required. Be sure to investigate how complex the setup process is for any given mobile rewards app provider, as it really shouldn’t take more than 24 hours to roll out your loyalty program from the moment you sign up.

As for ongoing maintenance, this should all be taken care of by the app provider. Your only job is to update the offers and rewards to keep things fresh and exciting. The loyalty points software itself isn’t something that a small business with other priorities needs to be focusing on – a decent loyalty app provider will ensure its software is always functioning at optimal efficiency… like a well-oiled machine!

2. Simple and straightforward for customers to use

If your digital loyalty app is too confusing for customers to use, they simply won’t. When looking at different loyalty points software for small business, check out the user interface for each provider.

Is it sleek and streamlined, or clunky and cluttered? Can you navigate from one area of the app to another with ease, or do you find it cumbersome? What about the aesthetics – is the app pleasant to look at, or is it an eyesore? If you’re not impressed with the loyalty app’s layout and overall feel, then your customers probably won’t be either.

3. Access to customer data for actionable insights

data displayed on laptop

Arguably the key advantage of having a digital loyalty program is that you can store customer data, which can then be converted into metrics that reveal a whole host of information about any given customer, such as their:

  • FOV (frequency of visit)
  • AOV (average order value)
  • What products they tend to purchase
  • What time of day they usually shop with your brand
  • Whether they prefer to shop in-store vs. online
  • Countless other data points that allow you to cater for their unique needs and specific preferences

Decent loyalty points software will use this information to segment your customer base and send targeted communications. The entire process is automated, so you don’t have to lift a finger.

The trick is to ensure you land on a loyalty app provider that uses state-of-the-art technology in its rewards platform (like Stamp Me). You’ll often find more detailed information about a loyalty app provider’s rewards platform in the FAQ section of their website (or alternatively, reach out to them and ask for more information!).

4. Ability to cater for multiple locations and present multiple offers

If you have several stores and you’re researching loyalty points software for your small business, it’s crucial to clarify that you’ll be able to operate the loyalty program over multiple locations.

Not every loyalty app provider offers this service, and then you find yourself in an awkward position where a customer who shops at two of your stores simultaneously can’t share their points and rewards across both.

The same goes for rewards apps that can’t operate across both brick-and-mortar and online channels – your customers should be able to enjoy a seamless loyalty experience whether they shop with you in-store, online or both.

Another thing to consider is whether you will need to run numerous offers at once. For example, Dallas-based waxing and beauty salon waXon Fuzz Off runs three separate offers on the Stamp Me app:

Brazilian Offer:

  • Collect a stamp for every $55 Brazilian wax
  • On sign-up, receive a free swag bag
  • After four stamps, receive a 15% discount. After seven stamps, receive a free lip or brow wax or $10 off your choice of service

Eyelash Offer:

  • Collect a stamp for every lash appointment booked
  • On sign-up receive 20% off a full set
  • On stamp four, receive 15% off your next lash fill and on stamp seven, another 15% off a lash fill

Brazilian & Face Offer

  • Collect a stamp for every full price Brazilian wax or face wax booked
  • After six stamps, receive a 20% discount off a service of your choice

Customers simply pick which offer they’d like to join (or they can join all of them!) and begin to collect stamps for their qualifying appointment.

To make the cards more memorable and distinguishable from each other, each stamp card has its own custom stamp icon. An ‘X’ for the Brazilian offer, an eyelash icon for the eyelash offer and the default red stamp icon for their Brazilian and face waxing offer.

5. Built-in gamification features

playing games on phone

These days, all the best loyalty card apps feature gamified functions to keep customers actively engaged with the brand.

It might be a random Scratch & Win Instant Prize Draw every now and then, a tiered badge system to show customers their loyalty status or even a leader board to ignite the competitive streak in people.

Whichever approach you decide to take, any form of gamification adds a bit of thrill to the loyalty experience and encourages increased engagement. In fact, a recent Deloitte study revealed that media companies which incorporate gamification into their marketing see a 30-40% increase in their online customer interactions.

6. Birthday Club

Everyone loves getting birthday gifts, right? Why not join the birthday person’s family and friends in surprising them with a present, by giving them a freebie on their birthday each year? This places your brand front-of-mind and demonstrates that you value their ongoing business.

It doesn’t have to be anything excessive – just a small gesture that strengthens their relationship with your brand and ensures they come back through the doors again.

Not every digital rewards platform out there has this feature, however. Be sure to partner with a digital loyalty app provider that asks for a customer’s date of birth upon signup, and then stores this in the system so that every customer receives a birthday gift each year.

7. Integration with Mailchimp, Shopify and other digital platforms

entering card details onto laptop

Depending on what kind of small business you have, you might utilize platforms like Shopify for ecommerce, or Mailchimp for weekly newsletters (side note: asking customers for their email address upon signup to your loyalty program allows you to rapidly build an email list).

It’s important to choose small business loyalty points software that can integrate with these platforms, for a seamless omnichannel experience where customers who:

  • Make purchases in your online shop receive points and rewards the same as those who shop in your brick-and-mortar shop
  • Customers who see your latest email’s call to action for signing up to the loyalty app are able to click the link provided and quickly/easily download the app to their phone
  • Customers who share your content on their socials instantly receive bonus loyalty points for being brand ambassadors (for example)

8. Contactless validation methods

This has always been preferable due to the convenience of simply tapping your phone against (or even hovering it near) a device to collect your loyalty points for a transaction. But now it’s also a health and safety measure against COVID-19.

Make sure you opt for a loyalty app provider where the entire process of earning points, redeeming rewards and engaging with the loyalty program is 100% contactless. Your customers will appreciate it.

9. Free trial and no lock-in contracts

free trial

It goes without saying that you want to try a digital loyalty program on for size before committing to it long term, and there are plenty of decent rewards apps that offer no-obligation free trials.

Not only that, but even once you’ve landed on one you’re happy with, there’s no reason why you should have to commit to a long-term contract (or any kind of contract at all, really!).

By choosing loyalty points software for your small business that comes with a free trial and a month-by-month subscription model, you can enjoy peace of mind that there’s no repercussions should you decide to bail out of the service at any given point.

10. Affordable pricing

And finally, with so much competition on the market, digital loyalty apps are remarkably affordable these days. As an example, Stamp Me costs as little as $20 a month for our basic package, with the option to spend a little more for enhanced features and functions.

If your business is still brand new or it has tight margins, it’s a good idea to start small. This way, you can upgrade later when your loyalty program takes off and it pays for itself.

Case in point: waXon Fuzz Off

loyalty points notification on smartphone and join cards on reception desk

As mentioned earlier, waXon Fuzz Off managed to motivate customers to book regular appointments by offering discounts and freebies at different booking interims, using the Stamp Me Digital Loyalty App.

The salon’s sign-up rewards of a free swag bag or an immediate discount is a great idea. It gives clients a strong incentive to join their program right there and then. Once they’re on-board, it’s easy to convert this customer into a regular!

To earn points and redeem rewards, clients open the Stamp Me app on their phone and scan a QR code at POS. One scan of the QR code gives one stamp. Therefore, if a client has made two qualifying purchases, they can simply scan the code twice.

Once the client has collected the last stamp on their card, this triggers an in-app voucher to be sent to their account, to be used on their next visit. The card refreshes, and the fun begins all over again!

The next time the customer is in-store and wishes to claim, they simply select the reward in their list, press ‘Redeem’ and show the staff the time-and-date-stamped animated screen, in exchange for their reward.

With Stamp Me, waXon Fuzz Off has managed to distinguish itself from competitors, encourage repeat bookings, establish a positive emotional connection with its clients and enable easier communications through the app.

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