Best Customer Loyalty Apps to Boost Retention

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Getting repeat customers is essential to the survival of a DTC brand. This is where customer loyalty apps and programs come into the picture. A well-thought-out and executed customer loyalty program is a way to market and keep customers by figuring out who they are and giving them rewards. The use of customer engagement tools and customer loyalty apps makes understanding and tracking the customer journey easy and helps you design programs that give customers a reason to come back.

De-coding customer loyalty programs

Customer loyalty programs use emotions like gratitude, loyalty, and rewards to make customers feel like they are important while also saving them money and giving them cash back or other rewards on their purchases. The value of customer loyalty programs in your customer retention strategy is evident. For brands, customer retention has a higher ROI than customer acquisition. And statistics prove this:

  • Existing customers are 50% more likely to try a brand’s new product.
  • The probability of selling even established products to a new customer is only between 5% to 20%.

Customer loyalty programs date back to the 18th century with American companies giving copper coins with every purchase to their customers. The first paper coupons appeared on Betty Crocker boxes followed by American Airlines issuing loyalty cards in 1981. But we have come a long way since and in today's digitized world customer loyalty apps make more sense over the paper and card-based loyalty programs.

Understanding Customer Loyalty Apps

One can look at customer loyalty apps as digital or online loyalty cards. These apps keep track of points and other rewards a customer earns through a company’s loyalty program. Customers can redeem the earned points for different types of rewards using the app. A customer loyalty app records and stores loyalty activity data. By accessing this data the company can analyze and better understand its loyal customer base.

Customer loyalty apps are a great asset for companies as it helps them deliver seamless experiences to customers. Most people spend an average of five to six hours on their mobile phones, running a loyalty program via a mobile app ensures you are better connected with customers translating into offering them a more personalized experience. A loyalty app is a much more convenient option for customers too making it a win-win both for ecommerce brands and customers.

However, before creating a customer loyalty app creating a robust customer loyalty program is essential to create an app. A sound loyalty program implemented using a killer mobile app is the secret to boosting customer retention. Let’s begin with the basics before we share our list of favorite customer loyalty apps.

Steps To Create a Successful Customer Loyalty Program

1. Choose a program that aligns with your brand identity and objectives

Companies should pick a loyalty program that is consistent with their business offerings, as there are many different ways to motivate existing consumers (discounts, money back, freebies, and more). Customers need incentives and attraction from their rewards. There are various types of loyalty programs to choose from, such as

  • Points programs
  • Tier-based programs
  • Mission-driven programs
  • Subscription programs
  • Spend-based programs
  • Gaming programs
  • Free perks programs
  • Community programs
  • Refer a-friend programs
  • Paid programs
  • Cash back programs

Choose a program that aligns best with your company goals, growth objective, and the brand identity/image you wish to create.

2. Clearly define the goals of your customer loyalty program

When designing a loyalty program ask yourself this question. What is it that you want to achieve out of this program or what is the desired outcome? Are you looking at increasing customer engagement or are you looking at creating brand awareness or are you looking at building a community? Increasing sales volumes, getting more subscriptions for your product/service, etc. Defining the end goal is important to design an effective customer loyalty program.

3. Know your audience well

Identify what motivates/triggers your target audience to make a purchase. For example, for a fast fashion brand students are the target market. This group's fashion choices are driven by their favorite influencer or movie star or any celebrity and their immediate peer group. Connecting with this group through social media and capturing data at various touch points can help brands better understand when and what products and services to communicate to this group.

4. Personalization is the key

Use personal information like birthdays/anniversaries and past purchase history to make a highly personalized offer. An example could be adding complementary points to a customer’s wallet on their anniversary/birthday or sending a hamper of an assortment of their favorite products on special occasions. By analyzing past purchase history and consumer behavior, sending relevant recommendations and offers that nudge the customer to make a purchase is possible.

Incentivizing your customers when they refer your products to friends and family is a great idea. Say, a customer has been regularly buying a certain face serum by you on a regular basis, giving them a personalized discount code to give to friends and family for purchasing the serum is a great personalization tactic.

5. Educate and promote your customer loyalty program

You designed a stellar loyalty program but did not educate your customers about it nor did you market it enough so that people enroll in your program. A customer loyalty program is successful only when your customers enroll in it. Promote your customer loyalty program among your existing customers and also share details of the loyalty program in all your communications to new customers as well. Promote it on your social media handles, website, etc.

6. Measure effectiveness and make amends

In an ideal world one would get things right in the first go but unfortunately, that’s not how it is. Once you roll out a program you need to constantly monitor its performance and see if you are getting the desired outcomes. If not, you need to make changes to your plan to ensure it yields the desired results. A customer loyalty program is not a one-time activity, it is a continuously evolving process.

7. Be consistent in communication and seek feedback

DTC brands comprise 13% of ecommerce business in the US which means the competition is tough out there. Therefore, it is extremely important to stay in regular touch with your existing customers and keep reminding them about your customer loyalty program, and having an app makes it a whole lot easier. Also, communication should be a two-way street meaning it's important to regularly take feedback and make amends wherever required.

Best Customer Loyalty Apps for Ecommerce


Now that we are aware of what a customer loyalty program is and why customer loyalty apps make sense in the modern scheme of things let’s look at a few of the best customer loyalty apps for Ecommerce.

1. Yotpo

Best Customer Loyalty apps - Yotpo

Yotpo sends automated email and SMS review requests, collects reviews, ratings, questions, photos, and data from all customer touchpoints, and helps increase sales by showcasing user-generated content. It also flags any negative reviews that need your immediate attention.

Pricing: Offers one free plan and 4 paid (Growth, Prime, Powerhouse, Enterprise) plans ranging from $19 to $199/month.

Rating: It has an overall rating of 4.9 on the Shopify app store.

Pros:

  • Supports photo and video reviews.
  • Collects both site and product reviews in one email flow.
  • 24/7 support.

Cons:

  • Non-tech savvy people may face minor issues navigating the app.

2. Growave

Best Customer Loyalty apps - Growave

Growave is an all-in-one Shopify marketing app with powerful tools for photo reviews, wish lists, loyalty programs, gift cards, referrals, and UGC. It fits seamlessly into Point of Sale and Shopify Flow

Pricing: $9 - $299/month

Rating: It has an overall rating of 4.8 on the Shopify app store.

Pros:

  • Adding customer reviews, user-generated content, and social proof can attract customers strongly.

Cons:

  • Customers will need to download the app.
  • The more comprehensive paid plan is a bit on the pricey side for some.

3. Joy: Loyalty Program by Avada

Best Customer Loyalty apps - Joy Loyalty Program by Avada

Joy enables you to manage all customer activities in a single grid and control rewards campaigns in a smooth and efficient manner. The app customization feature which lets you use your own branding helps increase brand awareness. It is fairly easy to set up your customer loyalty program using Joy without much technical knowledge. It offers both free and paid plans making it one of the free customer loyalty apps suited for small businesses.

Pricing: Joy offers 2 plans Free and Pro. The Pro plan is priced at $29/per month.

Rating: It has an overall rating of 5 on the Shopify app store.

Pros:

  • Joy is one of the apps which enables brands to fully customize the look and feel of the app with their own brand color and fun icons making the navigation truly joyful. Not to forget out-of-the-box and quirky pop-ups.
  • It is also possible to migrate reward points from other loyalty apps such as Rivo, Rise.ai, Yotpo, Growave, and many more.
  • The app also rewards users with reward points for leaving a review and sharing a review about them on social media.
  • Joy also offers a free plan.
  • 24/7 customer support.

Cons:

  • No downside as such.

4. Loyalty, Rewards, and Referrals by Rivo

Best Customer Loyalty apps - Loyalty, Rewards, and Referrals by Rivo

Loyalty, Rewards, and Referrals by Rivo are exclusively built for Shopify, unlike other similar apps. It helps brands effectively engage with customers to generate more traffic and repeat sales. Fast and simple to set up without any developer support, you can literally set up a customer loyalty app for your store in under 3 minutes!

Pricing: Offers 3 plans (Starter, Growth, Premium) with prices ranging from $34 - $429/month and a Free plan as well.

Rating: It has an overall rating of 4.9 on the Shopify app store.

Pros:

  • Besides the Free plan, Rivo offers a 7-day free trial for all its other plans.
  • While other loyalty apps are designed keeping several platforms in mind, Rivo is an exclusive Shopify app.
  • 24/7 live chat assistance.

Cons:

  • In the case of refund transactions the reward points need to be removed manually.

5. Referral Candy

Best Customer Loyalty apps - Referral Candy

Referral Candy helps brands reach new customers through word-of-mouth marketing through refer-a-friend programs. The app provides a unique referral link to customers across all platforms such as the website, app, social media, and e-mail and rewards them every time they share the referral link with a friend or family member. What’s more, it can integrate with your marketing stack. The app also tracks metrics like revenue from referrals, traction to the website from referrals, and customers joining via the referral program.

Pricing: Offers 3 plans (Premium, Plus, and Enterprise) with premium @ $47/month + 3.5% of revenue generated by Referral Candy and plus @ $239/month + 1.5% of revenue generated. Enterprise pricing is not disclosed.

Rating: It has an overall rating of 4.9 on the Shopify app store.

Pros:

  • Offers a 30-day free trial period for Premium and Plus plans.
  • Landing pages and emails can be customized using brand logos, images, and colors.
  • Fraud prevention with timely alerts.

Cons:

  • The only way to grow the customer base is through referrals which some brands might perceive as costly given the additional commission over and above the fixed fees.

6. Stamped.io

Best Customer Loyalty apps - Stamped.io

Stamped is a review and loyalty platform for ecommerce businesses. It offers a 3-in-1 rewards program (points rewards, referral rewards, VIP rewards), is easy to install and use, and is fully customizable.

Pricing: Offers 4 plans (Basic, Premium, Business, Professional) starting from $19 to $249/month. They also have a free plan by the name Lite.

Rating: It has an overall rating of 4 on the Shopify app store.

Pros:

  • Comes with a dedicated rewards page.
  • 100% optimized to work seamlessly on mobile phones.
  • Email notifications and smart reminders.
  • Multilingual support.

Cons:

  • Do not provide live support (chat or phone).

7. Smile.io

Best Customer Loyalty apps - Smile.io

Smile enables ecommerce brands to create robust rewards and loyalty programs. The admin dashboard gives you a view of all the parameters related to your rewards program in one place, automates tasks like sending customer engagement emails, and tracks specific customer loyalty activity.

Pricing: Offers 3 plans (Starter, Growth, and Pro) with a price range of $49 - $599/month.

Rating: It has an overall rating of 4.8 on the Shopify app store.

Pros:

  • 24/7 online support team.
  • A plethora of self-help resources online like YouTube videos, guides, and FAQ documents.
  • Automated point expiration reminder emails.
  • No coding skills are required to set up your loyalty program.

Cons:

  • Does not integrate with POS and channels like eBay.

8. Rise.ai

Best Customer Loyalty Apps - Rise.ai

Rise offers an automated credit card store solution that helps boost customer sales and loyalty. An easy-to-use Shopify app, Rise.ai enables businesses to customize their loyalty programs based on customer segmentation, order value, customer lifetime value, automated rule settings, and more. It is a user-friendly app from a customer’s standpoint as well. Activities like redeeming their points and referring friends and family are pretty easy.

Pricing: $19.99 - $599.99/month

Rating: It has an overall rating of 4.8 on the Shopify app store.

Pros:

  • Offers a 7-day free trial for all available plans.
  • Setting and customizing an advanced end-to-end gift card program is easy.
  • Option to set up your own unique store currency.
  • Easy to follow for end-users.

Cons:

  • Setting up the app requires more than the basic level of technical knowledge. Feature-rich plans on the pricier side

9. Glue Loyalty

Best Customer Loyalty apps - Glue Loyalty

Glue Loyalty offers a full suite of loyalty solutions comprising points and rewards to punch cards and everything in between. It integrates with most small business tools including Shopify.

Pricing: Offers 4 plans (Glitter Glue, Hot Glue, Super Glue, Epoxy Glue) ranging from $37.5 to $83.33/month if billed annually and $49.9 to $119.9 if billed monthly.

Rating: It has an overall rating of 4/5.

Pros:

  • Offers a 14-day free trial on all its plans.
  • An all-in-one loyalty solutions program.

Cons:

  • Lacks POS integration.

Wrapping up

Though acquiring new customers is important, one cannot and should not undermine the importance of engaging with and retaining existing customers. Leveraging tech to manage customer loyalty programs to cater to this new generation of internet and tech-savvy customers can go a long way in building long-lasting relationships and a vast pool of loyal customers. Take your pick from our recommended customer loyalty apps and manage seamless loyalty programs while delivering stellar customer experiences.