Today, loyalty programmes are highly sophisticated. They’re powered by software that makes it possible to design and run captivating marketing campaigns that work across multiple touch-points and resonate with highly valued customers.
To choose the best loyalty programme software for your business, you should consider the needs of the wider organisation as well as the wants and expectations of your customers.
There must be a strong commitment from the C-suite and confidence from all board members that investments will deliver a return. Equally, there must be reliable data showing how customers are responding and whether revenues are being boosted as planned.
7 Steps for Choosing the Best Loyalty Programme Software
- Talk to internal stakeholders
- Consider your customers’ requirements
- Consider your brand’s business requirements
- Consider what technical capabilities you need from loyalty software
- Find a software provider who will support and collaborate
- Consider offering customisable rewards
- Master reporting and analytics from day one
1. Talk to Your Internal Stakeholders
Marketing teams often overlook internal stakeholders buy-in when starting the loyalty software procurement process.
For instance, a loyalty programme might be championed by the marketing director and the head of customer service. But do the CFO (chief finance officer) and COO (chief operations officer) understand the business case fully enough to commit to the investment?
To maximise support for your loyalty programme, it’s important to consider the entire board’s ambitions and concerns. These need to be addressed comprehensively at the planning stage.
Internal stakeholders should also be involved in the trial and testing phase so that issues are ironed out collaboratively rather than managed in silos.
2. Consider Your Customers’ Requirements
Brands need software that will allow them to build and manage immersive loyalty programmes. Customers who sign up for a loyalty programme should feel rewarded and treated to unique experiences.
Far too often though, they are confronted with irrelevant rewards or rewards that take far too long or too much effort to obtain.
Relevance and achievability are, therefore, significant considerations when choosing loyalty programme software.
Today, consumers expect a personalised customer experience (CX). So, it’s important to select software capable of delivering personalised communications across multiple touchpoints.
To achieve this, your platform will need to collect zero and first-party data and analyse customer behaviour over time. Also, think about how you want members to participate. In the past few years, brands have been investing in user-friendly and engaging loyalty smartphone apps for their programmes, as well as website access and a physical card.
Remember, customers will also want a simple way to view their loyalty accounts. How will they view points as they are collected? How will they know when they are on the verge of collecting rewards? The chosen software must do all this and deliver a first-class user-friendly experience.
3. Consider Your Brand’s Business Requirements
Your loyalty programme software must deliver all the loyalty benefits promised to customers and boost revenue.
When launching a programme, most brands hope for:
- High enrolment rates
- High participation rates
- Evidence of higher repeat purchase rates
- Increasing average spend per member
- Improved customer retention rates.
All of this must be achieved using a programme that does not eat away at profit margins. Therefore, financial modeling and forecasting will be essential before any investment in software is made.
Early on in the selection and planning process, your loyalty programme project team needs to consider the likely data volumes they’ll be dealing with once the scheme is up and running.
They will also need to consider how this data will integrate with other commercial data sources. What exactly are the reporting and analytics requirements of the business? And will the software package fulfil all of these demands?
4. Consider Your Technical Needs
Customer satisfaction may be important, but it’s also essential to consider what technical capabilities you require from new loyalty software. You may need to track several loyalty programme elements, such as campaign participation and buyer behaviour, on a single platform.
You may also need to automate certain tasks to avoid swamping your customer service team. For instance, the loyalty programme sign-up process, email outreach, and other routine tasks can be programmed to run on their own.
You can also carry out detailed behaviour tracking with the right software in place. This will allow you to compile aggregated client and customer data and use that information to sharpen up your programme.
And, of course, loyalty software will power a digital-first interface. This is important if you want all of your user information and reward campaign details to be accessed by both your customers and employees online.
Integrated online discount redemption is increasingly popular. This makes it easy for customers to collect and re-redeem their rewards.
Remember, people will opt out of your programme if it’s too complex and difficult to navigate. Members will continue to take part in a programme if it is easy to understand. Most brands need a platform that can deliver an easy-to-use interface via mobile and the internet, as well as real-time data updates for business staff.
The loyalty software provider should have the ability to integrate seamlessly with existing IT systems, including CRM systems, email capability, social media, point of sale systems, and customer service elements, such as call centre systems.
5. Find a Software Provider Who Will Support and Collaborate
Market-leading loyalty software providers offer a single point of contact capable of ongoing support for daily operations.
Ideally, your loyalty software provider will become your strategic consultant. They will work alongside your team to build the best possible platform to drive incremental shopping behaviours.
They will also be able to manage the programme effectively, supporting several programme aspects, including marketing strategy, points and rewards management, and performance analytics.
6. Consider Offering Customisable Rewards
You will want to surprise and delight your customers, so make sure the rewards you offer are better than those offered by competitors. Ideally, your software choice will allow flexible and customisable rewards. Thanks to online innovators, such as Amazon, customers today expect and seek out personalised experiences. A recent survey of 1,000 US adults by Epsilon and GBH Insights found that 80% of customers want personalisation from retailers.
Experiential or transactional rewards are therefore a big attraction for loyalty programme members. The range of rewards should be wide, such as products, exclusive events, coupons, and gift cards, but always customisable.
The latest loyalty software and cloud-based systems are designed to optimise customer relationships with smart, intuitive, personalised messages.
Machine learning models are also being deployed to help retailers and brands understand customer sentiment in real-time.
From here, you can optimise marketing to drive higher emotional scores and deeper brand connections. It’s also possible to identify new prospects who are behaving like your best loyalty members.
This will enable you to grow your loyalty programme to include a higher proportion of profitable customers.
7. Master Reporting and Analytics From Day One
To ensure that your loyalty programme is going in the right direction, it’s necessary to quantify and measure progress over time.
Analytics and reporting features are must-haves when it comes to selecting loyalty software. A detailed activity dashboard gives you access to the data you need to improve your offerings.
This may include classic loyalty programme metrics, such as:
- membership totals
- programme sign-up rates
- consumer behaviour insights such as purchase frequency and reward redemptions, campaign performance analytics, such as social media mentions and individual engagements.
The best loyalty software providers in the market today take time to help brands uncover key insights. Support is often provided so that marketing teams can see the return on investment in the months following a loyalty programme launch.
Tracking the collected data helps inform decision-making and shape customer loyalty strategic planning. For instance, the ultimate aim of any customer loyalty programme is to increase the customer retention rate (CRR). This shows what percentage of customers stay with you over time. The higher your retention rate, the better you’re doing at keeping customers loyal.
Thankfully, the latest loyalty programme platforms are designed to help you put the customer first, while meeting the commercial needs of your business.
Looking for Loyalty Programme Software?
If you want to convert casual customers into lifelong evangelists, Epsilon PeopleCloud Loyalty is designed to help you do it.
Here at Epsilon, we've worked with some of the most recognised brands in the world to develop their customer loyalty programmes, and we'd love to help your brand too.
More of Your Loyalty Programmes Questions Answered:
- How Much Does a Loyalty Programme Cost to Implement?
- How Do You Get Customers to Sign Up for Your Loyalty Programme?
- Can I See Some Loyalty Programme Examples for Inspiration?