As a marketer you rely daily on your marketing tools and know they’re a major factor in the success of every task you complete and every strategic decision you make. They help you accomplish your goals, and they make your work much more efficient and smooth – except… when they don’t.

Loyalty platform providers

We all have been in the situation where the wrong tech stack has caused more trouble than helped. And this holds especially true for an important (and complex) tool like the loyalty platform you use to power your loyalty marketing programs.

As we know that choosing the best out of the numerous loyalty platform providers out there is not an easy task (especially if you are doing it for the first time), we’ve created this guide to lend you a helping hand! Here we summarize all the important questions that you should ask potential loyalty platform providers to identify the best solution for your loyalty marketing needs.

The 12 Questions to Compare Loyalty Platform Providers and Their Platform Features

The first step to take in your loyalty platform comparison is a deep-dive into the features and functionalities offered.

An easy way to do this is to ask a standard set of questions to all the platform providers you are considering. You can then compare and rate their answers in order to identify the one that best suits your needs.

AND BEWARE! Make sure you also always get a demo of the product. The loyalty platform provider must be able to showcase how their answers hold true in practice. As the adage goes… actions speak louder than words!

Interested How Loyalty Prime Answers These 12 Questions?

Contact Us for Your Personal Q&A Session Today!

    loyalty platform providers

    Why does it matter?

    You have a specific goal set that you would like to achieve with your loyalty program. To deliver on these goals you will want to put a certain loyalty program type and a variety of loyalty program features to work.

    Examples of the most effective loyalty program types and features include:

    • Perks/Privilege Loyalty Program
    • Points-Based Loyalty Program
    • Tier-Based Loyalty Program
    • Surprise & Delight Loyalty Program
    • Gamified Loyalty Program
    • Referral Program
    • Paid/Subscription-Based Loyalty Program
    • Coalition/Multi-partner
    • Cash-Back Loyalty Program
    • Combination/Hybrid Loyalty Program
    • Loyalty Member Account Management
    • Loyalty Marketing Engine
    • Reporting Module
    • Accounting Module
    • Customer Service Module

    Some loyalty platforms only cover specific types of loyalty programs and features, while more sophisticated ones are fully flexible for each and every type of loyalty program.

    An important point to remember in this context: even though you may start with a simpler program and just a few main features (which is a great strategic approach according to the agile MVP concept), you also need to foresee how much your program will grow in the future.

    “Growth” goes far beyond membership increases, and also includes how your program evolves and maintains value over time.

    The best loyalty platform, of course, should not only enable you to implement your preferred loyalty program type now, but also give you extensive choices to expand on your loyalty program type and features over time and support your plans with regards to scaling your program’s size.

    As “future-fitness” this is such a crucial point to consider we have dedicated a section to this here.

    loyalty platform providers How does it work?

    The best loyalty software should ideally:

    • Have your desired loyalty program features available out of the box.
    • Give you the flexibility to combine all desired program types and features.
    • Make it very easy to configure all features to your personal business needs.
    • Give you the flexibility to add and remove features along the way and adapt configurations as needed.

    Interested in learning more?

    An overview of typical loyalty program features required per loyalty program type is available in our Ultimate Loyalty Software Buyers Guide “The 8 Step You Need to Choose the Best Loyalty Software”. All features you need to check for will of course also be covered through our list of questions here 😊!

    Why does it matter?

    One of the core goals of a loyalty program is to incentivize and drive the behavior you seek from your customers. This ranges from transactional behavior (such as spend more and at an increased frequency or purchase certain product groups) as well as non-transactional behavior that involves certain types of brand engagement and advocacy.

    As another essential question to ask potential providers, is whether their loyalty platform can track and reward ALL the customer behavior types you would like to foster.

    Aside from rewards, there is, of course, another crucial aspect to why this matters. Your loyalty program treasure chest: data! You can only feed your data treasure chest and build a 360° view of your customer if the loyalty software you work with tracks all the relevant behavior and saves it in a way that your data team can work with it.

    With this knowledge at hand, not only can you continuously optimize your loyalty program tactics in a data-driven manner, your marketing and company as whole are also improved (spanning across all 4 Ps: product, price, promotion, place).

    How does it work?

    A) Transactional behavior:

    One of the behavior types you’d likely want to track, analyze and drive with your loyalty program software are customer spend patterns. This can include the following:

    1. Purchases, transactions, or bookings that are made online:
      in your ecommerce store, online booking engine, or order platform.
    2. Purchases, transactions, or bookings that are made offline:
      in your brick and mortar stores, POS, local branches, and outlets.
    3. All relevant details of the purchases including:
      • Transaction value
      • Transaction volume
      • Transaction frequency
      • Time of transaction
      • Channel of transaction (online or offline)
      • Place of transaction (certain outlets)
      • Which products or product groups are purchased (up-selling and cross-selling)
      • Tenure: length of time as a paying customer without interruption (especially relevant in subscription-based business models, such as pay-tv, insurance, or telecommunication companies)

    Make sure that the loyalty platform provider you choose ticks all of the boxes from above!

    B) Non-transactional behavior

    You as marketer know that in today’s highly networked and saturated markets that non-transactional customer behavior has become equally important.

    You know that you need your customers to contribute positively to your social media presence, to refer your brand, as well as to actively participate in your business optimization and innovation processes.

    And you also need to push brand engagement KPIs such as opt-ins, newsletter subscriptions, as well as other methods for learning about and from your customers.

    Make sure that the loyalty platform you choose can also identify, track and incentivize desired non-purchase behavior such as:

    Brand Advocacy and Co-Creation:

    • New customer referrals
    • New loyalty program member referrals
    • Social media activities (likes, shares, and mentions)
    • Sharing product reviews
    • Taking part in surveys or focus groups
    • Taking part in events

    Marketing Communication & CRM Related Behavior:

    • Sharing additional profile information
    • Subscribing to marketing channels (such as your newsletter)
    • Opting-in into data usage for marketing purposes (especially relevant in regions with strict data privacy rules such as Europe)
    • Downloading your app

    NOTE:

    The ability to incentivize exactly what you would like to foster is highly important for the success of your loyalty program. It also differentiates basic loyalty platform solutions from more advanced ones, which is why we will pick this up in detail in 3 additional sections:

    • Loyalty platform configurations:
      here you’ll find out that its essential that your loyalty software mirrors your desired data structure (such as product groups, subgroups, categories, and POS groups), so that you can track, incentivize and act accordingly.
    • Setting up reward rules:
      the best loyalty platform doesn’t only give you complete flexibility to define exactly what you’d like to incentivize but also within specific rule sets.
    • A powerful loyalty marketing engine:
      the best loyalty platform allows you to use this power in data driven promotions and campaigns.

    Why does it matter?

    Let us recall: two of the key goals of loyalty programs are:

    • Develop a unique selling proposition (USP): by offering your customers a highly attractive loyalty program benefit-set based on their behavior, you give them an irresistible reason to stay and return. And you can even develop your loyalty program into a reason for new customers to buy from you.
    • Drive the behavior you seek: by rewarding customers very specifically for the behavior you seek you can drive your key marketing KPIs around revenue and profitability as well as around customer satisfaction, engagement and of course retention.

    To deliver on these 2 goals, you need a loyalty platform that enables, in a best-case scenario, a whole bouquet of reward types. The modern customer – no matter B2B or B2C – is used to a world full of options (check out how many items are available at Walmart or Amazon if you’d like proof of how much choices matter). If you want your loyalty program to be perceived as valuable, unique, and interesting, offer a range of rewards that matter to them.

    How does it work?

    There are endless types of rewards, and the right one for you depends on your business, what your customers find valuable, and what customer behavior you’d like to drive.

    A few examples of loyalty incentives are listed below (you can also read more on this in the loyalty program type section) – and remember that the best loyalty software allows you to combine these reward types in a way that drives your business goals!

    Perks & Privileges:

    Give your members access to certain additional services or benefits such as:

    • Free delivery & returns
    • Exclusive access to pre-sales events
    • Preferential treatment in waiting lines
    • Free wi-fi access

    Virtual Currencies & Rewards

    Members collect a virtual currency (such as points or miles) for designated customer behavior and can then redeem these points for different types of rewards. Ensure your loyalty software enables the set-up and real-time processing of all the reward types you are planning to use, including:

    • Physical Rewards: such as in the case of a designated rewards shop, the loyalty platform needs to enable all the relevant calculations and processing of points.
    • Pay with Points: members use their virtual currency to pay (a part) of their purchase (online or offline). Again, the loyalty software needs to enable real-time processing of this functionality.
    • Vouchers & Coupons: members can redeem their points for discount coupons or vouchers (such as benefits/ service/ product vouchers). The loyalty platform should be able to generate, manage, and track unique the voucher code series and offer real-time voucher validation.
    • Donate Points: another great redemption option is the donation of virtual currencies to a good cause. This improves your brand’s reputation as well as that you are showing your care for greater causes. Again, the loyalty software needs to enable the transfer-points-to-donation processes.
    • Experiential Rewards: another great reward option to foster emotional loyalty are experiential rewards, such as the taking part in money-can’t-buy events, celebrity meet & greets, and access to special edition products.
    • Gamified Rewards: you can also spice up your rewards bouquet by adding some gamification elements. For example, points can be used to “buy” tickets for brand lotteries and sweepstakes, or they can earn your members digital badges that are linked to certain benefits and rewards.

    Tiers:

    Another great reward mechanism is to allow members to earn a certain tier level based on their behavior and then obtain benefits and rewards attached to this status level.

    Make sure that your loyalty software allows for the easy set-up of your desired tier level structure, including upgrade and retention rules and the assigning of benefits to the respective tier levels. This could be soft benefits such VIP customer service hotlines, free delivery of goods, access to VIP events or any other form of rewards.

    Gamification:

    As mentioned above, gamified loyalty rewards are another great mechanism to spice up your rewards offering. For example, members could earn digital badges for their behavior (such as “Brand Lover” of the month for the member with the most social media engagement) and receive benefits and rewards with these badges.

    Surprise & Delight Rewards:

    With this reward type, your members receive a surprise reward or benefit once a they reach an internally predefined but externally undisclosed interaction level with your company. This is another great lever to boost customer satisfaction rates and can also earn you some beautiful word-of-mouth advertising.

    Cash-Back:

    Another reward type is to give your customers direct cash-back for their purchases or referrals. If you use this as an incentive mechanism, ensure that your loyalty software can process this as well.

    Promotions:

    Your loyalty platform should also enable you to put the various rewards types to work within data-driven promotions.

    Combination of Rewards:

    Finally check the loyalty platform’s capabilities in combining your desired rewards types flexibly now and in future.

    Why does it matter?

    Your goal is to effectively AND efficiently reward the customer behavior you seek, meaning you want to successfully drive specific behaviors while also ensuring this has a positive ROI.

    This is why you should choose a loyalty software that doesn’t only allow you to incentivize relevant customer behavior with a rich set of reward types, it should also allow you to do this based on sophisticated rule-sets that match your:

    • Industry and your specific business
    • Margins
    • Customers
    • Typical customer spend patterns
    • Desired customer behavior
    • Allocated value for the change in customer behavior

    How does it work?

    The best loyalty software should:

    1. Make it very easy to configure all your desired rules – in any complexity that is necessary
    2. and then take care of incentivizing members according to these rules reliably – and in real time!

    The configurable rule set should include:

    • WHO TO INCENTIVZE: do you want to incentivize all members, or a specific member segment (examples: higher tier levels receive more rewards, or members that show a propensity to churn receive a retention promotion)
    • WHAT TO INCENTIVZE: (we covered this in question 2) which customer behavior do you want to incentivize and drive? Should it be purchases made online, transactions made at a specific POS outlet, a specific spend frequency, or customer referrals?
    • WITH WHAT TO INCENTIVIZE: (we covered this in question 3) which reward types should be given out? A virtual currency, a voucher, or progressing to a tier level?
    • HOW TO INCENTIVZE EXACTLY: within which rule-set should the incentivization happen exactly? Here are a couple of examples:
    RULE EXAMPLE  DETAILS
    Virtual Currency Earn Rules
    • How many points or miles are given out for various types of customer behavior?
    Virtual Currency Redemption Rules:
    • What is the value of a point or mile when being redeemed?
    • What can the virtual currency be redeemed for?
    • Should the virtual currency be blocked for a certain time period before it can be redeemed (such as it can only be redeemed once the return period is over)?
    Other Earn Rules
    • Which other benefits can be earned for what exactly by who? An example for referrals could be:
      Option 1: If a member A refers a member B, member A receives reward X
      Option 2: If a member A refers a member B, member B receives reward X
      Option 3: If a member A refers a member B AND member B makes the first purchase, member A receives reward X and member B reward Y
    Validity Rules
    • Does the virtual currency or do the benefits expire at a certain point in time? When?
    Exceptions
    • Do you want to exclude certain products or customer behavior types from being incentivized? Example: in some countries like Germany it’s illegal to incentivize the purchase of nicotine products.
    Limitations
    • Do you want to limit incentivization such as to only once per customer in a specific time period? This is highly useful to prevent fraud. Example: define that a newsletter sign-up is only incentivized once per customer over a certain time period.
    Tier level Rules
    • What are the rules for reaching, keeping, losing a tier level and what are the associated benefits per tier?
    Surprise & Delight rules
    • When exactly (i.e. after doing what), should members (or member segments) receive a surprise and which surprise?
    Gamification Rules
    • When exactly (i.e. after doing what), should members (or member segments) receive a virtual badge and which benefits are attached to that badge?
    Member Account Householding Rules
    • This is a featured offered in more advance loyalty software, where several members can be combined into a household and jointly earn and redeem benefits.
    • For this feature you need to define the rules about the joint usage of the program according to you and your customers’ needs (including rules around terminating a household).
    Sponsorship Rules
    • This feature is relevant in a more complex set-up where various partners or parties sponsor rewards. You should then able to configure: who sponsors what and which liabilities that is associated with.

    Why does it matter?

    Your members become excited and engaged when you consistently provide relevant, personalized offers, promotions, and communication methods. And of course, you as a marketer want to use such marketing tactics to drive your goals around customer satisfaction, retention, revenue, profitability, and advocacy.

    How does it work?

    A state-of-the-art loyalty software should therefore give you access to all of the important loyalty marketing tactics to engage and delight your customers and intentionally drive behavior. These should include:

    LOYALTY  MARKETING TACTIC DETAILS
    Base Incentivation
    • The base incentivization is the set of foundational benefits and rewards that are available for your members.
    • The best loyalty software allows you to configure this base incentivization rule set as described above (question 4) to exactly match your business needs!
    Promotions
    • You should be able to set-up data-driven promotions that run for a limited time period.
    • The loyalty software should allow you to easily setup promotions within any rule-set you would like (we cover this in more detail below).
    Personalized Communication, including Event-Triggered Communication
    • Your loyalty software should enable personalized, omnichannel communication (see question 8).
    • One feature you should look out for with regards to loyalty program communication are so called “triggered communications”.
    • This means that you can set-up trigger events in your loyalty software that automatically send predefined communication types, such as member –welcome information, status level upgrades, points expiry warnings, earn transactions, burn transactions, birthday –emails, or text messages.

    As the capabilities of a loyalty program promotion engine is a key differentiator between basic and more advanced loyalty software let us point out what to consider here:

    • Sophisticated Promotion Rule Capabilities: the rule set should cover all of the aspects we have outlined in question 4, including:
      1. WHO TO INCENTIVZE (Targeting)?
      2. WHAT TO INCENTIVZE (Which behavior? Carried out when? Carried out where?)
      3. WITH WHAT TO INCENTIVIZE (Reward type, such as points, badges, tier level advancement, benefits, cash-back…)
      4. HOW TO EXACTLY INCENTIVZE (Detailed rule-set such as value of reward, exceptions, limitations)
    • Easy Set-Up & Automatic Processing of Promotions: your loyalty software should make it easy to create promotions rules independently of your loyalty platform provider with an easy-to-use UI, automatically maintain these rules, and enable real-time incentivizing in order to give your members the best possible experience.
    • Active Segmentation: also look out for active segmentation possibilities, i.e. the comprehensive ability to segment customers based on all types of transactional and non-transactional behaviors, as well as automatically provide them adequate promotions and any related communications.
    • Limit Definition and ROI tracking: the cost-sensitive marketer will love this feature of more advanced loyalty software: Check whether you can set limitations for bonus promotions to not exceed your predefined budget. And of course, make sure that the loyalty software allows you to track and create reports about promotions in order to analyze and optimize their effectiveness.

    Why does it matter?

    Of course, the core of your loyalty program are your valued members. To be successful with your loyalty program, you need to ensure:

    • … that your members have an excellent experience with your loyalty program.
    • …. that your loyalty software can handle as many members as needed (scalability).
    • …. and that you have access to all the data you need to gain and use a 360° degree view of your customers.

    How does it work?

    So, your loyalty platform needs to enable you do to the following:

    • Enrolling as many members as you like.
    • Ensuring enrollment is easy for your members.
    • Automated, audit-proof management of the member accounts with regards to crediting and deducting virtual currencies and benefits according to your rule set.
    • Audit-proof management of the member accounts with regards to data privacy and communication opt-ins.
    • Householding option: this is a feature of more advanced loyalty software – where several member accounts can be combined into one “household” and then collectively earn and redeem benefits within a rule-set defined by you.
    • Continuous enrichment of your member profiles with data, including their spend patterns, their reaction to promotions, their non-transactional behavior, and demographic data as shared via their member profiles.
    • Access to this data for reporting and data analysis (see question 10).
    • Access to this data for your customer service team (see question 9) and your loyalty membership frontends (such as an online or mobile member portal, also see question 8) so that your members and you customer service team customers can access all details on the loyalty program membership

    Why does it matter?

    This is a topic where different types of loyalty software have big distinctions: some are only suitable for ecommerce (which is fine as long as you are an pure online player with no plans to extend your activities to the offline world), while others allow you to integrate your offline sales channels as well – and in a best case scenario enable state-of-the-art omnichannel loyalty programs.

    There are 3 main reasons why it is so important that your loyalty software integrates holistically with all of your sales channels:

    • DELIGHT: customers today expect a high-quality, seamless customer experience no matter where and when they interact with your brand. It is extremely important that all online and offline channels meet these expectations within your loyalty program.
    • UNDERSTAND: one of the core benefits of loyalty programs is to generate a 360° view of your customers. To make full use of this benefit, it is essential that your loyalty software integrates with all of your sales channels and enables you to track behavior across them.
    • DRIVE: the key objective of loyalty programs to enable you to drive customer behavior – and this should apply of course to online, mobile and offline behavior!

    How does it work?

    Integrations should be easy to do with a loyalty solution provider prepared for it. As this topic relates more so to the IT department, we cover this in detail in our Loyalty Platform Buyers Guide for IT Experts. Generally speaking, loyalty platforms that are easy to integrate are built with an API first approach and offer APIs based on OpenAPI standards.

    Learn more about loyalty software integrations here.

    Why does it matter?

    A holistic loyalty platform also needs to support and integrate with all of your communication channels, including your online and mobile channels (website, online shop, booking platform, app, text messages, and email) as well as offline channels (member terminals and kiosks in your POS).

    This matters for a number of reasons:

    • ENGAGE: regular, relevant, engaging omnichannel communication is crucial for staying at the forefront of your customers’ minds (and in their hearts!), so that the next time a purchase decision is to be made they remember and choose you.
    • DELIGHT: to ensure a great customer experience, you need to give members omnichannel access to your loyalty program.
    • UNDERSTAND: it is essential that your loyalty software integrates with all of your customer communication channels to continuously enrich the 360° view of customer behavior and use this data to optimize your communication tactics (e.g. which channel yields the highest response rates?).
    • DRIVE: with the proper integrations, you can drive behavior across specific communication channels, such as app downloads or newsletter subscription opt ins.

    How does it work?

    Integrations are easy with a sophisticated loyalty platform! Make sure to ask the loyalty platform providers whether they developed their software with an API-first approach and followed OpenAPI standards.

    Learn more about loyalty software integrations here.

    Why does it matter?

    Another important customer communication channel is your customer service team. An excellent customer service team significantly contributes to a great customer experience and consistently strives to improve customer satisfaction. This not only improves emotional customer loyalty, but also reduces customer churn rates.

    How does it work?

    The best loyalty software ensures that the customer service team is fully equipped to offer excellent help and advice to program members as needed. The service team should be able to see and manage profile data in a comprehensive member dashboard, which gives them access to:

    • Member points balance & points expiry dates
    • Member transaction & voucher redemption history
    • Member status level & eligibility for benefits
    • Manual functions such as status upgrades, issuing, reversing or transferring points, merging accounts, and managing card-related issues.

    An important feature to look out for in this context is a comprehensive rights & roles management, to ensure only the right users have access to personal member data and can carry out manual changes to prevent internal fraud (example: manual point issuance above a certain value needs to be confirmed by a call center team lead).

    And finally, if you already have a customer service tool, ensure that the loyalty software easily integrates with it, so that the service team has access to the loyalty program related functions from there as well.

    Why does it matter?

    You as a marketer know that actionable data, both on your customers, as well as on the performance of your marketing tools and tactics, is the key to your success. With these insights, you know how to continually optimize your initiatives and push your business goals towards to their desired levels.

    So, it is highly important that your loyalty software gives you and your colleagues access to an in-depth reporting and customer insights functionality.

    Typical use cases that should be enabled by your loyalty software include:

    For Loyalty Marketing Managers:

    • Turn your loyalty program’s data into a gold mine with a 360° view of customers: understand the context, intentions, relationships and interactions by combining all desired data sources into a holistic overview (including transaction data, non-transactional customer behavior, channel usage data, promotion-response data, loyalty program usage data, demographic data, and more).
    • Derive actionable, data-driven insights: derive actionable insights from your data through relevant (standard and ad-hoc) reports and analysis. Optimize your campaigns and promotions for both your loyalty program as a whole and your products, their placement, and pricing strategies based on these insights.
    • Active segmentation: create customer segments based on data from various sources to increase the level of personalization and effectiveness of your marketing communication and promotions.

    For Marketing Leaders and Top Management

    • ROI & Success Management: understand the effectiveness and ROI of your campaigns, promotions, and your loyalty program as a whole via powerful reports and derive relevant insights into how to push your loyalty goals to new levels of success.
    • Business Optimization: gain additional insights for optimization across marketing, sales, product development, pricing, category, and innovation management.

    For Loyalty Program Marketing & Admin Managers as well as Compliance & IT Security Managers:

    • Receive access to reports and audit-ready logs for activities carried out with the loyalty software (such as changes to configurations, manual point crediting, and changes to promotions).

    For Loyalty Program and Partner Managers

    • In a multi-partner or coalition loyalty program set-up, maintain oversight on program usage across partners, as well as any related points and benefit liabilities.

    For Accounting

    • Have real-time access to all info around points and loyalty program related liabilities

    How does it work?

    In terms of how data is made available to you, there are two main options that the best loyalty software should provide you with:

    1. Reports accessible via your loyalty software: especially if you do not have an existing BI tool yet, your loyalty software should give you access to both standard and ad-hoc reports to carry out your desired analysis and derive actionable insights.
    2. Feeding data from the loyalty software into the existing tools: if you already have a data analysis and reporting functionality, your loyalty software should seamlessly feed into this.

    loyalty platform providers

    Why does it matter?

    Your business is unique. You have a specific goal set that you want to reach with your loyalty program based on a unique customer and data structure, a certain product portfolio with typical margins, a specific sales and communication channel set-up, and more.

    The best loyalty software mirrors these structures and creates a program set-up that matches to your exact industry and business needs.

    This configurability again differentiates simple from more sophisticated loyalty software by the following:

    • First: a sophisticated, enterprise-grade loyalty software should be completely flexible as to how your program is configured along 3 dimensions: data structure, reward rules, and communication triggers (as outlined below).
    • Second: the best loyalty software ensures that this configuration is done very quickly (see the selection criteria of a quick time-to-market below).
    • Third: the best loyalty software allows you to adapt configurations in your program and as your requirements evolve over time – if desired in a self-service manner or with the help of the loyalty software provider.

    How does it work?

    Configuration generally involves 4 core aspects:

    1. Data Structure Configuration:

      This is highly important due to 2 reasons:

      • You need to incentivize customer behavior as targeted and pin-pointed as possible. For example, you don’t just want to incentivize purchases, but purchases in a specific outlet type or shop, purchases of individual products, product types, or subcategories.
      • You also want to feed your loyalty program gold mine, namely customer behavior data, in a way that is most useful to you for analysis and reporting. This means the loyalty software must track that behavior in detail, and in your desired format that mirrors your existing data structures in systems such as your CRM, ERP, PMS, or data warehouse.

      Typically, configurability pertains to 4 types of data:

      • Member data: the best loyalty software allows you to easily configure which member data to collect and in which logic and data structure (such as that you can reflect your existing CRM data structure and add to it).
      • Sales channel and partner structure: the best loyalty software also allows you to mirror your individual sales channel structure (e.g. you might have online and offline stores, and your offline stores might be grouped in various outlet types) and partner set-up.
      • Product data: thirdly, a state-of-the-art loyalty software can mirror your existing product data structure (how used e.g. in your existing ERP/ PMS-, data warehousing, payment-, POS-, cashier- booking-, and product information systems).
      • Transactional data: finally, the best loyalty software enables tracking of transactional data in your desired format (e.g. date and time, value, volume, products purchased, product groups purchased, sales channel used, promotional attributes etc.).
    2. Business Rules, Reward Engine and Promotion Rule Configuration:
      Another key area where the best loyalty software is highly configurable is your reward engine. You will need to configure:

      • … which customer behavior should be incentivized (as detailed in Question 2)
      • … with what you would like to incentivize it (as detailed in Question 3)
      • … and within which rule set the incentivization should happen (as detailed in Question 4)

      This pertains both to your base incentivization as well as your promotions (see Question 5).

    3. Communication Trigger Set Up:
      Thirdly, a sophisticated loyalty software allows you to configure communication triggers. This means that you can define events to send out automated loyalty program communication to your members (such as successful earn events, birthdays, or reaching a new tier) and choose the channel (such as email) and content for that communication.
    4. Loyalty Software Rights & Roles Management.
      Lastly, a state-of-the art loyalty software also allows you to configure user group specific access to the loyalty software via a comprehensive rights & roles management. You can read more on this here.

    Why does it matter?

    Depending on where you stand with your marketing, you might already have a rich tech stack. When choosing your loyalty software, ensure that integration is super easy and seamless, meaning that they function perfectly together and communicate with each other in order to exchange data as needed.

    How does it work?

    Common examples of systems that you’d like to integrate with from a marketing view point are customer service tools, campaign management, email marketing, marketing automation, CX tools, BI tools, and your CRM. Integrations should be quick and easy to do with an enterprise grade loyalty software developed with an API first approach – as detailed here.

    The 6 Questions Marketers Should Ask Loyalty Platform Providers to Ensure Sustainable Success for their Loyalty Project

    CONGRATULATIONS! You have just reached a milestone by answering the 12 essential questions to discover whether a loyalty platform suits your needs from a functionality perspective.

    When choosing the best loyalty platform for your business it is however not only essential that it covers all the features and functionalities that you require. An equally important part of the selection criteria is to check whether it is set up and designed in a way that powers a quick and sustainable loyalty program project success.

    Here are the top 6 questions you as a marketer should be asking your potential loyalty platform providers in order to set yourself up for long-term success!

    Interested How Loyalty Prime Answers These 6 Questions?

    Contact Us for Your Personal Q&A Session Today!

      Why does it matter?

      It comes down to one simple premise: time is money. Moving quickly is essential in fast-paced economies. It’s also what your customers have come to expect. You don’t want to spend years developing and implementing your loyalty program when you could already go live.

      Instead, the best loyalty platform enables you to design, implement, and most importantly, experience the benefits of a loyalty program as soon as possible.

      Your pockets will surely thank you.

      How does it work?

      Make to check for the following capabilities with your potential loyalty platform provider:

      1.Automatically available features that are easy to configure:
      It is highly recommendable to choose a SaaS loyalty platform that offers your desired loyalty program features right off the bat and allows you to configure these to your individual needs.If your desired features are already available and quick to configure, that saves you months or even years of work and financial investment.

      2.Easy integrations
      The second area with potentially very high time and effort requirements are the integrations with your existing IT system landscape.So, it’s wise to choose a loyalty software that:

      • … allows smooth and quick integrations due its API first approach (OpenAPI standards, see here)
      • … offers standard integrations with market-leading systems such as CRM-, ERP-, PMS-, eCommerce-, POS- and marketing- software
      • … offers the possibility to work with your own APIs if necessary.

      3.An efficient onboarding and implementation approach on behalf of the loyalty provider:
      An expert loyalty platform provider has extensive experience in setting up loyalty programs for its clients. With effective project methodologies in place he will seamlessly and quickly guide you and your project teams throughout the loyalty program set-up process. Make sure to check on the provider’s project approach when choosing your loyalty platform!

      4.The loyalty program provider works with agile development methods:
      It also helps if your loyalty program provider works with agile development and project methodology. In this way, you can start off with, for example, an MVP (minimum viable product) program iteration and enrich this with more features on the go as you learn more about what you want to expand on, optimize, or add.

      Why does it matter?

      Unless you already have an established loyalty program, you typically start with a small member base and your first iteration of your loyalty program feature set. Scaling and diversification will follow as your program gains popularity and you learn from your progress and customers about how best to expand and optimize.

      It’s essential that the loyalty software serves your needs on both ends: an easy beginning (see the question on a quick time-to market above) and scalability as well as flexibility as you grow. This breaks down into two parts:

      • Scalability: as your member size increases the loyalty software needs to be able to maintain high performance levels even with a high volume of data flows.
      • Flexibility: the best loyalty software also allows you to flexibly change configurations to existing features as needed and add additional features over time. For example, you could add more program partners in the future, expand internationally, add more reward types and rules, offer your members a householding functionality, and more.

      How does it work?

      How can you judge whether the loyalty software you are considering will really be as scalable and as flexible as you require it to be?

      Ask your IT team!

      Your IT team will help you with the details (and we have prepared them in our Loyalty Platform Selection Guide for IT Experts). In summary, the answer lies in the architecture and code quality of the loyalty software. A highly flexible and scalable loyalty software typically has:

      • … a cloud-native architecture and a modular infrastructure with strict separation of the software modules and operation, such as in a high-availability Kubernetes cluster.
      • … the highest code quality due to test-driven and object-oriented development.

      Why does it matter?

      Of course, you also need a software that matches your budget and delivers great value for money. So, make sure to get full transparency on software costs, especially because some vendors might not fully “play with open cards”, meaning not reveal all the true costs.

      We highly recommend that you search for a loyalty platform provider with simple and transparent pricing, because this enables to plan your own related costs. Furthermore, make sure to plan ahead and consider how costs will develop in the future (for example when your member base increases, or when you add more features and complexity to your program).

      How does it work?

      Some associated costs you’ll want to take into account, include:

      • One-time costs: program set-up, integrations, and any custom elements.
      • Costs for the software itself: a fixed price for monthly or annual software use. Make sure to get full transparency on how these costs develop (such as if your member base increases or you decide to add more features). Ideally, your loyalty software is also a SaaS product, meaning that you only pay a SaaS fee and always benefit from the latest features and developments at no additional cost.
      • Costs for changing configurations: as detailed in question 11 above, with the best loyalty software at hand, changing configurations is an easy task. Your loyalty software provider should give you the flexibility to either make changes to configurations yourself or offer this as a service for you. In the latter case this service should also be provided at a fair price.

      Beware! There should never be any hidden costs. There should always be clear, transparent pricing, otherwise that is a huge red flag.

      Learn the Details of Loyalty Prime’s Software Pricing

      Why does it matter?

      We live in a world of constant change fueled by highly competitive markets, rapid technological advancements, and globalization to just name a few. Furthermore, the loyalty industry itself is dynamic and new trends continuously emerge. As a result, the needs and desires of your customers will evolve, which means your requirements need to evolve with them.

      For this reason, it is highly important to look ahead when choosing the best loyalty software for your business. It should not only cover your current needs but also support your future plans:

      • First: this pertains of course on the one hand to the expansion of your program’s size: your loyalty software must be scalable and deliver high performance levels even with a large number of members, transactions, and data flows to handle.
      • Second: this pertains to its flexibility to continuously add to and adapt your program’s features and configurations to incorporate all optimization potential you discover along the way.
      • Third: you should have trust in the loyalty platform provider that they will continuously develop their technology further, and to even incorporate and (in the best case) set new trends. These new developments should then be made available to you.

      How does it work?

      You can get a pretty good idea whether or not a loyalty platform provider will empower your business to become “future proof” based on these core qualities:

      1. Technological quality of the software: the best loyalty software is built on the best technological basis, with a state-of-the-art architecture and code quality, ensuring:
        • High scalability
        • High flexibility to add and remove features any time
        • Easy configuration and configuration changes

        Your IT team will know what we are talking about and you can read more details here.

      2. Software-as-Service architecture: ideally the loyalty software you choose is delivered to you in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, which means you will always have access to the latest features and software advancements.
      3. A loyalty platform provider with loyalty expertise and passion for the loyalty industry: this ensures that the loyalty software is continually developed to further incorporate and even set new trends!
      4. A loyalty software which is made for various industry verticals: while there are industry-focused loyalty platform providers, working with a provider that has experience in a wide variety of industries has a major advantage. As new features and trends develop in one industry, they are often crosspollinated in order to improve another. So, a provider with a more holistic experience base brings you further not only in your industry, but also enables you to become a pioneer within the entire backbone of customer loyalty.

      Why does it matter?

      You yourself know how important the usability of a software is. All relevant stakeholders need to quickly understand how to use it and enjoy doing so – if not, your loyalty program’s success is at great risk, as it will fail to be adopted and used to its full potential.

      Another important feature to look out for when choosing the best loyalty software is comprehensive rights & roles management, giving the various user groups the access best suited to their needs!

      How does it work?

      The best way to judge whether the loyalty platform delivers a great usability is to take an in-depth look at it! Ask your potential loyalty platform provider for an in-depth demo of all the product features and functionality.

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        loyalty platform providers

        Why does it matter?

        Trust matters. No matter whether you’re buying a new cellphone, finding the right financial advisor, or getting help with a plumbing emergency. The expert you work with and their brand need to not only appear trustworthy, they also need to have proven their trustworthiness time and again, otherwise you’ll be disappointed with the results.

        When you’ve found the right provider and “commit” to your long-term relationship, you’re also destined for long-term business success.

        How does it work?

        A trustworthy and reliable software provider conveys their expertise with:

        • A specialization in loyalty software and loyalty marketing: the company as a whole specializes in loyalty software and programs, not 1000s of other things.
        • Experience in your industry: they know your industry in and out and apply experience from other clients in the same industry. They also know how to integrate lessons learned across different industries in order to keep you ahead of customer loyalty trends.
        • A supportive customer service presence: check for the customer service team of the loyalty platform provider: the best loyalty provider offers comprehensive and timely answers to any questions and concerns you have, and happily helps you to make any configuration changes that are needed. The best loyalty software provider also has a global presence and offers 24/7 support.
        • Dedicated customer success managers: the best loyalty software provider offers a dedicated customer success team to help you get the most out of your loyalty program.
        • Values that match your own: with a great loyalty software provider you feel that you are genuinely taken care of with the necessary dedication and that the provider wholeheartedly cares about your business success.
        • Service level agreements (SLAs) as part of your contract that match your needs: a trustworthy loyalty platform provider offers transparent contract conditions regarding response-times and software availability that match your needs.
        • A network of reliable partners: in the case that you need help with additional services, a great loyalty software provider has a network of trusted partners they can recommend to you.
        • Fact-based reasons to believe them: a great loyalty software provider provides references or reviews from other clients, case studies, certifications, and awards that prove their expertise.

        Congratulations! Another milestone reached – you have now uncovered all of the key questions smart marketers ask to identify the best loyalty platform for their needs and how to make their loyalty marketing program a sustainable success.

        But wait...there’s more!

        In order to make the decision process easier, we’ve compiled further in-depth information about how to choose the suitable loyalty software for stakeholders across your entire business. Click on the icons below to take a deeper look:

        ALL STAKEHOLDERS

        The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide: The 8 Steps You Need to Identify the Perfect Loyalty Program Platform.

        loyalty program software

        IT, SECURITY & LEGAL GUIDE

        The Top Questions IT, Security and Legal Need to Ask to Identify the Best Loyalty Program Platform.

        Loyalty Program System Requirements IT

        FINANCE & ACCOUNTING GUIDE

        The Top Questions Finance & Accounting Need to Ask to Identify the Best Loyalty Program Platform.

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