When you focus on loyalty and treat your customers well, you have a better chance of keeping them with you through thick and thin. This is especially important at the moment, as the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Once things get back to normal, you’ll want your customers to think of your business as one that looked after them, even though your company was facing challenging times itself.
An easy way to do this is through customer loyalty apps.
Loyalty apps encourage repeat buyers, build confidence in your brand, enhance your reputation, and help with word of mouth. And they’re simpler than you might think to set up.
Setting up a customer loyalty app in 4 steps
Setting up a loyalty app might seem complicated, but you can break it down to these four simple steps.
- Decide on the rewards.
- Determine desired customer participation.
- Understand your customers.
- Keep it simple.
1. Decide on the rewards
Decide which type of awards you want to offer. This could be points, vouchers, free goods, discounts or free shipping. Or you could give extra points or rewards for introducing new customers to your brand.
2. Determine desired customer participation
What do you want your customer to do to access their rewards? Buy a certain amount to qualify for free shipping? Introduce a friend? Take part in a product promotion? Whichever action you want your customers to take, make sure it’s worth their effort.
3. Understand your customers
To create an effective loyalty program, you also need to understand your customers and their wants and needs. This will allow you to build a program that appeals to them and exceed their expectations.
4. Keep it simple
Every aspect of your loyalty program should be straightforward from the customer’s perspective, but also simple for your company to run. Make signing up quick and intuitive, and easy for your employees to explain. Automate the loyalty app where you can and choose one with built-in flexibility so it grows with your needs.
10 customer loyalty apps to consider
Now, you just need to find an app to partner with. There are quite a few available, but here are 10 to get you started.
1. Shopkick Local
Shopkick Local can count eBay, Target and Kellogg’s among its clients. However, it’s also open to smaller, independent stores. Shoppers earn money when they walk into partner stores, scan barcodes on selected products, make online purchases from partners, and other actions. Users can exchange their accumulated points for gift cards.
The OpenTable app allows diners to book reservations online while earning dining rewards, discounts toward hotel stays, or Amazon vouchers. Rewarding customers in this way can increase retention and profits.
Editor's note: Have a GoDaddy Websites + Marketing site? Here's how to add restaurant reservation with OpenTable.
3. Referral SaaSquatch
Aimed at digital businesses, Referral SaaSquatch provides a flexible, tiered program. It uses templates, pre-configured growth programs, and automation, which make it easy for businesses to set up a program without the expense of using developers.
Targeted at small businesses, the Bobile app aims to help build long-term relationships with consumers. Beyond its automated reward program, membership tiers and digital tiers, it also offers coupons, bookings and payment processing. You can select a free trial to test out the app.
Belly provides your business with the option of physical loyalty cards or mobile phone apps, which allows you to track your customers’ spending and visits to your business. It also integrates with email marketing and social media to allow you to customize rewards and offers for your customers.
With Upserve (formerly Swipely), your customers can link their credit or debit card to your loyalty program, meaning no loyalty cards and no apps. You’re still able to track spending trends, which enables more targeted customization of your loyalty offers.
A recognized brand in the local business industry, Foursquare gives you the ability to place offers on your business page to encourage customer check-ins. With built-in analytics, you can learn more about your customers and plan your loyalty offers accordingly.
Flok is a full-featured loyalty rewards program that provides you with a digital punch card system, push notifications for campaigns/sales, email marketing options, social media integration, chat features and more.
With varied options at different price points, SpotOn is one of the more tailored loyalty programs on this list. Whichever option you choose for hardware, SpotOn includes customer loyalty software that will allow you to segment your customers as needed and send each segment targeted offers and marketing campaigns.
Fivestars aims to be both a loyalty and retention program for small businesses. Customers simply register with their phone number and check-in at the Fivestars-provided tablet for each visit.
Successful loyalty program examples
Apple, Amazon Prime and Starbucks are among the companies that have realized the importance of loyalty programs. Starbucks is perhaps the best example of this, with its app accounting for a one-fifth of its revenues.
There are some simple reasons behind its success. The Starbucks app is user-friendly, integrates easily with other platforms, uses a points system to encourage additional sales, and makes ordering and paying straightforward. But its biggest selling point is that it promotes customer engagement, which is all-important when there are many rivals vying for your customer’s attention.
Promoting customer loyalty is important at any time, but especially during a crisis. Besides keeping customers coming back, increasing sales, and building consumer trust, your customers will simply appreciate being treated well.
Customer loyalty apps are easy to set up and maintain, and could be just the boost your business needs during difficult times.