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Loyalty Technology

How to Create a Loyalty Rewards App – Use a Provider or Build My Own?

Written by 
June 25, 2019

Loyalty apps are a proven way to retain customers, attract new business and keep customers engaged with a brand, and because of this, they are a fast-growing trend!

In fact, 38% of companies are now using mobile apps to provide personalised offers and promotions to their loyal customers, while 79% of all top global loyalty programs now have some kind of digital component (2019 Loyalty Report).

With the rise of technology, there’s no denying that mobile loyalty apps are rapidly replacing the traditional paper punch card system.

In fact, the 2019 Loyalty Report revealed that most consumers now prefer to engage with a loyalty program through a mobile app. So, if your business doesn’t yet have a mobile app for your loyalty program, it’s about time you should!

But how do you go about creating a loyalty? Here we will discuss your options for creating a rewards program app.

Let’s start by first answering the question:

What is a Loyalty Rewards App Exactly?

Most commonly, a loyalty rewards app takes the concept of those paper punch cards or stamp cards that you often see in businesses like cafes, restaurants, hair salons and car washes, and it digitalises the process.

The above scenario is typical for small businesses who want to retain their customers, however, there are many other “out-of-the-box” reasons a brand or enterprise might want to create a rewards app, which go beyond simply rewarding repeat business.

For example, a larger company may want to reward their employees for participating in training sessions to update their knowledge of company products or procedures. A health & fitness organisation may want to reward their users for reaching certain health milestones. A pharmaceutical company may want to use the app as a communication platform to educate their consumers about their products. Or a travel and tourism operator may want to create a digital “City Card” rewards app so that tourists they can prepay for local attractions.

(These are all real projects that we’ve worked on. If you’d like more information about the custom rewards program apps we’ve built, please just let us know!)

The point here is that the options for creating a digital rewards program are endless!

The one thing that all rewards programs have in common, however, is that they all share the same overall goal: to encourage, incentivise and reward repeat behaviour.

They also serve as a valuable marketing communication tool, as they allow businesses and brands to reach their targeted audience directly.

How to Create a Loyalty Rewards App

What Are My Options?


Private Label Rewards App

The good news is that the technology and tools available today make it incredibly easy for businesses to implement a loyalty program app.

When it comes to actually creating the app, there are several ways to go about it, which generally fall into two main categories – use a loyalty app provider, or build a custom self-branded app.

The option that will best suit your business or organisation depends on a number of factors, including your type of business, your goals for the program, the demographics of your target audience, and how much time and money you’re willing to invest in then rewards app.

Here are your options for creating a Loyalty Program App:

Option 1: Use a Loyalty App Provider

The quickest and easiest way to implement a digital loyalty program is to use a loyalty app provider. Instead of investing a lot of time and money to build your own app, merchants can instead subscribe for an account with a loyalty app provider and pay a monthly or annual fee for the service.

Most small businesses, like independent retailers or cafes/restaurants, simply don’t have the budget (or need) to invest a lot of money into building their own custom app, like a large organisation or enterprise company does. Therefore, using a loyalty app provider usually makes the most sense.

The ongoing cost of a loyalty card app varies between each provider; however, it is generally very affordable. As an example, the Stamp Me Loyalty App that we offer to merchants typically costs between $20 and $50 per month. You can find out the exact pricing of our loyalty app here.

Most loyalty app subscription services, like Stamp Me, are commitment-free and can be cancelled at any time. This makes it a safe option for small businesses who are looking to get their loyalty program off the ground quickly without having to invest or commit too much.

The way they work depends on each individual loyalty app provider. Some will send you a tablet to install alongside your POS (where the customer or staff member enters the customer’s details after every transaction), while others will require you to fully integrate the program with your POS system.

In contrast, the Stamp Me Loyalty app is completely app-based and requires no software installations or POS integrations. This makes it incredibly easy for businesses to implement and manage, and for customers and staff to use.

You can view and compare a list of decent loyalty app providers here to give you more of an idea.

In contrast, the Stamp Me Loyalty app is completely app-based and requires no software installations or POS integrations. This makes it incredibly easy for businesses to implement and manage, and for customers and staff to use.

Stamp Me Loyalty Device

Find out more about how our loyalty app works here.

Once you have selected the Loyalty App provider that best suits your needs, you will need to register your business with them.

To do this, you will need to decide what rewards or discounts you wish to offer, and how many stamps or points customers are required to accrue before they can redeem. Of course, you can request some advice from the provider to get their input regarding what makes a good loyalty offer. You are very welcome to ask us for our advice before signing up.

Option 2: Build Your Own Self-Branded Loyalty App

The other option is to build a customised, self-branded mobile app that has all the features you want for your loyalty program and operates the way you want it to. This option frees you from the restrictions of using a loyalty app provider, which limits you to their template for how the app works and the features it includes.

You can either build your own app in-house or hire an app development company to build it for you. However, it’s important to note that building your own app will take a lot of time, resources, and you will potentially need to hire new staff. Your initial budget can very easily spiral out of control, so be sure to keep this in mind.

Using an app development company, like Stamp Me, allows you to power your own custom-branded rewards app on a highly sophisticated and interactive platform, which is built according to your specific purpose, objective and goals for the program. Find out how we build custom branded rewards programs here.

One of the most successful custom-branded loyalty apps of all time is the Starbucks Rewards program.

Image Source: Starbucks

Of all the restaurant chains with mobile loyalty apps, Starbucks holds the title of “most regularly used rewards app” – a recent Manifest survey found that, of all smartphone owners who use a restaurant mobile loyalty app, a staggering 48% of them are Starbucks Rewards members.

Why is this particular loyalty app so successful? Well, aside from Starbucks already being a hugely popular cafe globally, they created a rewards program app that provides an incredible customer experience.

Starbucks uses the data collected through the app to personalise offers to customers based on their previous transactions. It also enhances customer experiences with features such as using the customer’s current location to allow them easily check where their nearest Starbucks is, and suggests menu items that would pair well with the customer’s previous orders.

There’s also a gaming aspect to the app that encourages customers to try new menu items in return for stars (which can be used to redeem rewards), as well as the options to easily purchase a gift voucher for someone through the app, place your order before you’ve physically arrived in the shop, and pay for your order through the app to avoid standing in line.

The Starbucks Rewards app also offers members birthday rewards, and invitations to exclusive events. It even tells you what music is playing in any shop at any given moment, and if you like the song, you can add it to your Spotify playlists with a click of a button!

All these features combined create a highly convenient mobile loyalty app that offers every customer an exciting and personalised experience that keeps them thoroughly engaged with the brand.

Our point is, when it comes to building custom-branded loyalty apps, they offer much more flexibility and can be built according to your specific goals and needs for the program. 

However it’s important to remember that you only get out of it what you put in. While loyalty apps are a great way to retain customers and boost your revenue, they are not magic.

Regardless of whether you use a loyalty app provider, or build your own custom branded rewards app, in order for them to be effective, businesses need to actively promote the app to their target audience, train their staff to know the ins and outs and the FAQ’s, and constantly tweak and hone the app’s features to stay interactive and engaging.

Stamp Me provides loyalty solutions to businesses large and small, from our own Loyalty App to fully customised loyalty and rewards programs for enterprises and brands.

Contact us if you would like to discuss a loyalty or rewards solution for your business or brand.

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