Loyalty & Reward Programmes
November 21, 2023

12 Must-Have Loyalty Programme Features

Loyalty Program Features

Successful loyalty programmes all have something in common; essential features and traits that adhere to best practices. In this blog post, we take a look at the traits your loyalty programme should have, followed by all the essential features for its success. 

 



Contents:

 

1) Dynamic rewards 

2) Mobile-first user interface

3) Data insights: metrics and analytics

4) API architecture

5) Anti-fraud & robust security measures

6) Points and tiers

7) White label technology

 

Next-level Loyalty Programme Features

8) Conditional Reward Triggers

9) Referrals

10) Gamification

11) Card-linking

12) Integration with affiliate networks


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Loyalty programmes are not just about offering discounts; they are about building lasting connections with customers. From improving retention and the customer experience to collecting valuable data insights, the benefits are countless. 

You too can unlock these benefits for your business today.

Download our Customer Loyalty and Reward Programme guide to learn which type of loyalty programme works best for your business. Explore how nurturing loyalty can supercharge your ROI and drive sustained growth for your business.

 



The Basics: Loyalty Programme Features


Not every loyalty programme is the same. Yet, they all share core essentials that together make the foundations of an effective loyalty programme. So too do they share similar goals, often these are typically to:

  • Increase the number of your customers
  • Persuade current customers to buy larger volumes
  • Encourage customers to increase purchase value 

Essentially, these are improving acquisition, cross-sell and upsell conversions and retention. Loyalty programmes equipped with the necessary features can achieve all this in addition to boosting engagement and brand advocacy. 


 

Traits of a successful loyalty programme

Before we go into the features of a successful loyalty programme, here are some over-arching traits of loyalty programmes for you to consider.

  • User Experience: A seamless user experience within loyalty programmes stands as a cornerstone for sustained customer engagement and loyalty. By streamlining every touchpoint, from enrolment to reward redemption, a seamless experience removes barriers and friction points, ensuring effortless participation. This frictionless journey not only boosts engagement but also cultivates a sense of value and satisfaction among participants.

    A smooth, hassle-free experience creates stronger emotional connections between customers and the brand, leading to heightened loyalty and advocacy. Ultimately, prioritising a seamless user experience not only retains customers but also sets the stage for ongoing engagement and long-term relationships, solidifying the programme's success.

  • Simplicity and Accessibility: The programme should be easy to understand and have clear enrolment criteria. Simple, intuitive processes encourage higher engagement and participation.  Consistent communication and transparent terms regarding how customers earn and redeem rewards build trust. Customers appreciate clarity on how the programme works and what rewards they can expect.


    A loyalty programme that’s too difficult to work will fail miserably. A study by KPMG found that 69% of Millennials think loyalty programmes are too difficult to join. This tells us that tedious functions and barriers to entry significantly limit participation.
     


  • High levels of personalisation: Tailoring rewards and experiences based on individual customer behaviours, preferences, and purchase history enhances the programme's effectiveness. Personalised offers create a stronger emotional connection and increase perceived value.

  • Engaging Communication: Regular and engaging communication keeps customers informed about rewards, promotions, and their programme status. Targeted, relevant communication creates engagement and reinforces loyalty.

  • Capability to Provide Measurable Results: Establishing clear Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and regularly measuring program performance against these metrics ensures that the programme delivers value and meets business objectives.

  • Alignment with Brand Values: Loyalty programmes should reflect and reinforce the brand's identity, values, and overall customer experience, creating a stronger brand-consumer relationship.

  • Emotional Connection: Create an emotional bond with customers by going beyond transactions, providing experiences, surprises, or exclusive access that evoke positive emotions.

  • Scalability: A scalable programme can seamlessly expand to accommodate a larger customer base, evolving market trends, and innovative features without compromising efficiency. It allows for the incorporation of new technologies and strategies, maintaining relevance and meeting the changing needs of customers.

    Scalability empowers loyalty initiatives to remain agile, facilitating the integration of advanced features, increased personalisation, and an extensive catalogue of rewards, thereby future-proofing the programme for sustained growth and enduring customer engagement.
     

  • Flexibility: A successful loyalty programme should be flexible enough for you to experiment with different loyalty programme types, such as points based rewards and tiers. A tier programme offers a fantastic way to scale your rewards programme. Rewards and benefits linked to different levels encourage long term engagement and spending.

 

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12 Must-have Features in Your Loyalty Programme


Now that we’ve covered essential traits of customer loyalty programmes, it’s time to review must-have features. 


1) Dynamic Rewards: Ability to serve relevant and personalised incentives


This feature is concerned with delivering real-time, hyper-personalised content, rewards, or offers based on immediate customer actions or preferences.

Personalised rewards serve as a powerful tool in your customer loyalty programme, driving engagement, satisfaction, retention, and valuable insights into customer behaviour, ultimately contributing to your programme's overall success and the business's long-term growth.

 

65% of shoppers say they’d share their data for value-adding personalisation.


When rewards are specifically tailored to the interests and needs of your customers, they are perceived as more valuable. This perception encourages customers to actively participate in your programme to earn such rewards.

Personalised incentives are based on data analysis of customer behaviours and preferences. As a result, your business can gain valuable insights into customers, enabling you to refine your strategies and offerings further.


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2) Mobile-first user interface

A mobile-optimised loyalty programme stands as a cornerstone for brands seeking to engage and retain customers effectively, especially those targeting millennials.

Millennials are 14 times more likely to access loyalty programmes via smartphone than they are from a computer. Mobile is the preferred platform for rewards programs according to millennials. 46% prefer mobile apps, 28% text message links, and 11% mobile wallets - (Statista)


Consumers expect seamless and convenient experiences, and a mobile-optimised loyalty programme caters precisely to these expectations. By offering a user-friendly interface accessible via mobile devices, you can unlock the potential for greater customer participation, allowing users to easily enrol, earn rewards, track progress and redeem benefits directly from their smartphones.

Such accessibility not only enhances convenience but also increases your programme's visibility, encouraging higher engagement and participation from a broader demographic of tech-savvy consumers.

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3) Data insights: metrics and analytics

Data analytics serves as the backbone of successful loyalty programmes, offering invaluable insights into customer behaviours, preferences, and engagement patterns. By leveraging data-driven strategies, businesses can personalise rewards, tailor experiences, and precisely target their audience, enhancing the programme's effectiveness.

Analytics also enable the measurement of key performance indicators (KPIs), allowing for continuous optimisation and refinement of loyalty initiatives. This data-driven approach empowers businesses to make informed decisions, identify trends, and adapt strategies in real-time, ensuring that the loyalty programme remains relevant, engaging, and capable of nurturing enduring customer relationships.

 

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4) API architecture


An Application Programming interface or (API) allows for seamless integration between various systems and platforms. A loyalty programme with this feature means it can integrate with:

  • Point-of-sale (POS) systems

  • Ecommerce platforms 

  • Mobile apps

  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software and other backend systems. 

Such integration ensures accurate data flow, enabling real-time updates on customer transactions and interactions. Not to mention that an API-based infrastructure also facilitates better scalability. In addition to enhanced flexibility with seamless addition of new features, partners and functions without disrupting the existing ecosystem. 

 

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5) Anti-fraud & robust security measures

Data privacy and anti-fraud measures serve as pillars of trust and credibility within loyalty programmes. Upholding robust data privacy safeguards not only ensures the security of customer information but also develops a sense of confidence among participants.

These measures not only protect against breaches and fraudulent activities but also ensure compliance with regulations such as GDPR, reinforcing ethical and responsible data handling practices. By prioritiSing data privacy and anti-fraud measures, loyalty programmes not only safeguard customer trust but also bolster programme credibility, creating long-term engagement and relationships based on reliability and security.

This is a specialist area, so considering 3rd party anti-fraud technology such as SEON provides peace of mind and is a worthwhile consideration.

Propello loyalty and reward programmes integrate with this solution to safeguard customer data and eliminate loyalty fraud.

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6) Points and Tiers (or combined)

Points and tiers are pivotal components in loyalty programmes, offering tangible incentives and a sense of achievement to your customers. These elements serve as powerful motivators, encouraging consistent engagement and spending by translating actions into redeemable rewards.

Tiers, in particular, provide a pathway for customers to strive for higher statuses, creating deeper connections and brand loyalty. The perceived value of accumulating points and accessing exclusive benefits not only retains customers but also cultivates advocacy and positive word-of-mouth.

These approach facilitate data collection, enabling brands to glean insights for targeted strategies and personalised experiences. Ultimately, points and tiers stand as indispensable tools within loyalty programmes, driving engagement, personalisation, and enduring relationships between your business and your customers.

 

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7) White label technology

White label technology proves highly advantageous for loyalty programmes by offering ready-to-use features that seamlessly integrate with your brand's identity.

This approach saves time and resources, allowing you to swiftly launch personalised loyalty initiatives without extensive development. It ensures brand consistency across all programme aspects, nurturing trust and recognition among your customers.

White label solutions provide scalability, allowing your programme to adapt and grow alongside the business. By tapping into existing expertise and support, brands gain access to ongoing updates and specialised knowledge, enhancing your programme's functionality and relevance.

White label technology empowers your business to differentiate loyalty offerings in a competitive markets while efficiently delivering personalised and impactful experiences to your customers.


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Next-level Loyalty Programme Features

 

8) Conditional Reward Triggers

Conditional rewards in loyalty programmes, triggered by specific customer actions or behaviours, hold immense significance in driving desired engagement and improving customer retention.

These triggers serve as catalysts, encouraging customers to perform targeted actions aligned with your brand's objectives. By offering rewards dependent upon behaviours like purchases, referrals, or social interactions, or subscription upgrades, these conditional incentives motivate desired actions, steering customers toward deeper engagement and increased spending.

This tailored approach not only amplifies the perceived value of rewards but also reinforces positive behaviours, creating a stronger bond between your customers and your brand.

Leveraging triggers for conditional rewards not only boosts participation but also helps gather valuable data insights, empowering your brand to refine their strategies and create more personalised, impactful loyalty experiences. 

 

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9) Referrals

Integrating loyalty programmes with a customer referral scheme holds substantial importance in developing your organic growth and maximising customer acquisition. This integration leverages your loyalty programme's participants as advocates, incentivising them to refer friends and acquaintances.

By intertwining these programmes, you can harness the power of existing customers' positive experiences to drive new customer acquisitions. Referral mechanisms amplify loyalty programme benefits, motivating advocates with additional rewards for successful referrals. This relationship not only expands the customer base but also nurtures a network of engaged customers who are more likely to remain loyal and advocate for your brand themselves.

The integration facilitates a seamless, cohesive experience for both existing and new customers, enhancing programme effectiveness and overall brand advocacy while driving sustainable growth.

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10) Gamification

Gamification stands as a vital engagement tool within loyalty programmes, transforming routine interactions into immersive and rewarding experiences. By infusing elements of play, challenges, and rewards, gamification will captivate your customers, driving increased participation and loyalty.

This approach injects excitement and motivation, enticing your customers to interact more frequently and deeply with the loyalty programme. Through gamified features like points, badges, leaderboards, and challenges, you can create a sense of achievement and progression.

Gamification not only entertains but also promotes a deeper connection between your customers and brand. Its interactive nature not only boosts engagement but also provides valuable data insights, enabling brands to refine strategies and create more personalised, captivating experiences, making gamification an indispensable loyalty programme feature.


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11) Card-linking

Card linking is a feature of modern loyalty programmes due to its convenience and seamless integration into customers' daily routines. It allows customers to link their payment cards or accounts to your loyalty programme, enabling automatic earning or redemption of rewards without requiring additional steps at the point of sale.

This simplicity eliminates the need for physical loyalty cards or manual input of information, streamlining the customer experience and increasing participation. By tracking transactions directly linked to the customer's card, you can gain valuable data insights into spending patterns and behaviours, enhancing personalisation and targeted offerings.

Card linking simplifies the earning and redemption process, making engagement with the loyalty easy and seamless. 


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12) Integration with affiliate networks

Integrating your loyalty programme with an affiliate network such as AWIN can be a strategic move to expand your brand's visibility by tapping into the advertisers' audience on the affiliate networks.

This increased exposure can attract new customers who are likely to participate in the loyalty programme due to the endorsement or promotion from trusted affiliates.
Affiliate marketing example

Loyalty program and affiliate program integration

4 key components to affiliate marketing:

  • An advertiser is someone who has a product to sell

  • A publisher is someone who advertises products

  • The customer

  • An affiliate network connects publishers with advertisers looking to promote their products or services

However, this requires integration between your loyalty programme and the affiliate network and alignment of goals, clear communication, and mutually beneficial incentives for both the advertisers and your brand. 

In summary, integrating a loyalty programme with an affiliate network can be advantageous, leveraging the network's influence to expand brand partnerships, drive customer acquisition, and increase programme engagement.


Seamless process between the Awin affiliate network and the Propello reward programme

 

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Importance of Backing up Your Loyalty Programme with Additional Services

Providing comprehensive technical, customer, and marketing support for your loyalty programme is crucial for its success:

  1. Technical Support: Ensures the smooth functioning of the programme, addressing any technical glitches or issues customers encounter while using the platform. This support maintains the programme's reliability and usability.

  2. Customer Support: Offers assistance and guidance to participants, resolving queries, clarifying doubts, and addressing concerns promptly. Excellent customer support helps create trust, loyalty, and a positive user experience.

  3. Marketing Support: Assists businesses in promoting the programme and it's reward campaigns effectively, providing resources, strategies, and materials to drive awareness, engagement, and participation. Effective marketing support ensures the programme reaches and resonates with the target audience.

Combined, these support structures create a cohesive and enriching experience for programme participants, addressing their needs and concerns at every stage.

This comprehensive support not only ensures the loyalty programme's smooth operation but also cultivates positive relationships, driving sustained engagement and promoting brand advocacy among your customers.

 


 

Essential traits, must-have features, next-level engagement tools: the winning formula  


Ensuring that your loyalty programme follows the key traits, must-have features and next-level engagement tools, gives you the winning formula. The end result is a loyalty programme that’s long term, effective, unforgettable and leads to what all businesses want most; brand advocacy.

With all that in mind, the next step is to explore the right loyalty programme type for your business.

New call-to-action

 

Loyalty programmes are not just about offering discounts; they are about building lasting connections with customers. From improving retention and the customer experience to collecting valuable data insights, the benefits are countless. 

You too can unlock these benefits for your business today.

Download our Customer Loyalty and Reward Programme guide to learn which type of loyalty programme works best for your business. Explore how nurturing loyalty can supercharge your ROI and drive sustained growth for your business.

 

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