Customer loyalty software is not a new concept, but as a marketable service with general applications, it is a fairly recent evolution. As companies seek to embrace a reward-driven customer relationship, as is the standard for incentivizing customers these days, a need for a structured reward system is becoming obvious.
At one point, companies that had reward programs in place designed them in a proprietary manner. Sometimes they worked, sometimes they didn’t, but customer loyalty software at the time was expensive regardless the success or lack thereof that the program it supported saw.
But, we live in a fascinating era in which there are so many software developers and computer-savvy people that just about any software niche that’s even remotely marketable is getting fair developer attention.
There are a few customer loyalty suites out there, and most of them are SaaS. When it comes to choosing the right one for you, it depends a lot on your business, demographic, price range and philosophy. So, “it’s all up to you”, in other words. Seeing as I’m not clairvoyant, and therefore can’t predict what your business is, I’ve prepared a brief list of the more well known loyalty software, and perhaps you can find yourself going in a direction right for you from that.
#1 – Affinity Solutions
This is one of the faster growing mercantile rewards services, geared towards online merchants, restauranteurs and other consumable goods providers. It integrates with card-based reward systems supported by countless participating companies, and offers an internal template for in-house rewards that works seamlessly as well.
They’re up to 25,000 retailers as of 2012, so they must be doing something right. If you’re a consumables merchant, this is probably the best option for you.
#2 – Belly
Belly is geared towards a cardless environment, taking full advantage of the mobile revolution. Utilizing an encrypted check in system, integration with a wide array of participants, and the same outstanding in-house platform, this system uses the new UPC scan code system so popular on mobile devices today.
It’s one step closer to the pocket computer replacing almost everything else we have to carry. It’s less expensive for you as a business, and convenient for mobile users. But, one caveat, not everyone has a smartphone.
#3 – Perka
An alternative to Belly, Perka offers the same mobile power, but also centralizes the data so that users with PCs can also use the rewards program without the need for a smartphone. This is still a mild inconvenience for them at the moment, but at least it’s inclusive, unlike Belly. Still, companies that stand to omit all physical cardholding may be something we jump to too soon.
#4 – RewardLoop
RewardLoop is actually still in beta, but you can get in on trying this one out right now. It stands to address the problems Perka and Belly have, while being more sleek and modern and compatible than Affinity. Betas will of course have some glitches and non-finalized UX implementations, but that’s something we can live with, I should think. I normally don’t recommend beta software, but RewardLoop looks like it’s going to be amazing, so I will make an exception this time, for certain.
#5 – GlobalLoyalty
This SaaS loyalty service is the big one, and it’s a little pricy. I only put this at 5 due to the price and sheer monstrous scale of this bad boy. This one includes not only mobile and web support as well as classic rewards frameworks, but it also includes ROI analytics, and card interoperability with debit and credit companies, bringing a layer of flexibility and convenience normally not seen.
They’re an enterprise solution for a globally-present company, which means a wealthy internet business person can definitely use it, but it’s designed more for the big companies to use. I still say go with RewardLoop or Affinity if you’re a small business.
These are the most promising or contemporarily competent vendors of customer loyalty software. It’s just now a burgeoning niche, so expect countless more to trump these guys before it’s over.
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