9 Best Customer Loyalty Program Software and Apps to Increase Customer Retention in 2021 [Full Review]

Are you a small business owner or a marketing manager?

Then you probably know about the struggles of keeping your customers loyal and increasing retention.

We have the solution to this problem: loyalty software. It’s easy to integrate, doesn’t cost much, and it has lots of benefits for your company.

In this article, you will talk about the top 9 loyalty platforms and apps for increasing retention.

Regardless if you own a small or a large business, there is a solution for everyone.

    How to Evaluate Loyalty Program Software and How We Rate Them

    Before we get started, here’s how we rate loyalty software and which factors you should use when choosing loyalty software for business:

    1. User reviews.
    2. Demos & trials availability.
    3. Price range.
    4. Product features & functionality.

    And now, here are the top loyalty programs to use!

    How to Set Up and Run a Successful Loyalty Program?

    One thing is for certain- you will not only want to simply set up a loyalty program, but you will want to create a loyalty program that lasts!

    It is therefore very important to take each development step carefully and thoughtfully and to design a simple, appealing and comprehensive loyalty program.

    Here is a guideline of key questions to consider, when deciding how to set up and run a successful loyalty program:

    • Set your goals– define clearly what you are trying to achieve with the loyalty program. For example: are you wanting to encourage brand engagement; drive footfall; enhance personalization; or to incentivize repeat purchases? These goals should be unique to your business.
    • Try to understand your customers first– conduct surveys or questionnaires to help you understand what type of rewards or point systems will benefit and attract your customers the most. What products or services have a stronger attraction in your store? Are there possibly alternative new products or services that your customers would be interested in?
    • Numbers– how will you measure results? Find a data capturing system that is easy to implement and follow.
    • Target audience– what is your target audience and what percentage of customers do you want to be a part of the loyalty program?
    • Money– how much are you going to spend on your loyalty program? How will this fit within your budget and what possible adjustments will need to be made?
    • Technology– how will you implement your loyalty program? Selecting the right loyalty software for your unique business and marketing objectives, is crucial for the success of your loyalty program. So make sure to check out our list of loyalty software and apps below to help you find the perfect app. However, don’t stop there! Look carefully at other reviews and app comparisons to find the software that suits your business the best. Then identify how you will link your loyalty software/app to your online store and POS.
    • Actions– identify what customer actions you are trying to encourage?
    • Incentives– what incentives or rewards are you going to offer? Try to implement a unique set of rewards, not just freebies, using rewards such as gift cards or a tiered rewards point system. Find something unique to your business and simple for customers to follow and understand. If it is too complicated, it could become burdensome.
    • Promote– how to keep people engaged long term? Socialize your program across different social media platforms. Send regular media posts out to remind customers of your program, without bombarding them with too many advertisements.
    • Adjust– generate customer feedback and assess how you can improve your loyalty program? Encourage customers to provide you with reviews and feedback on your loyalty program. Then actually take the necessary steps to improve your program and software. Ensure that you have a professional, competent and highly responsive support team in place to deal with customer enquiries and feedback. 

    And now, here are the top loyalty programs to use!

    The 6 Best Customer Loyalty Platforms

    1.Glue Loyalty

    Glue is a cutting-edge loyalty solution that acts as your in-house loyalty manager.

    Glue offers you your very own branded members club and a full suite of loyalty solutions that includes everything from points and rewards to punch cards.

    Best of all, Glue automatically sends the right incentive to the right person at the right time for you, saving you time and a lot of hassle.

    Glueloyalty screenshot

    Pros and Cons


    1. An automated AI based loyalty manager
    2. Operates via a huge variety of channels (app, email, SMS, WhatsApp and more)
    3. All the loyalty solutions you need in one


    1. Automated management only available in the premium plan
    2. No POS integration yet

    Pricing:  $39-$99/month

    Website: GlueLoyalty.com

    P2Pmarketing Rating: 9/10

    2. Smile.io (+Shopify app)

    And, of course, our favorite loyalty software, Smile.io!

    Smile.io allows you to launch a program with features such as VIP, points, and referrals. It currently serves over 50 million members and keeps growing.

    Smile- Loyalty Software

    Pros and Cons


    1. Easy to operate.
    2. It has a good reputation.
    3. You can reward customers for a variety of actions such as product reviews, social media sharing, and others.


    1. There are not enough placement and customizable options.
    2. Some members keep creating multiple accounts which confuses other members.

    Website: smile.io

    Pricing: $59-$299/month

    P2Pmarketing Rating: 9.5/10 


    3.Candy Bar

    Candy Bar is a web-based loyalty software for brick-and-mortar stores. It aims to create reward programs for engaging repeat customers. With every visit, customers earn a stamp that resembles a digital version of a standard loyalty punch card.

    Candy Bar- Loyalty SoftwarePros and Cons


    1. Collect valuable customer personal data and access the ‘analytics dashboard’.
    2. It’s a two-way messaging concept at the base of the software.
    3. CandyBar is available on desktop computer or mobile device.


    1. Loyalty programs are based on store visits rather than total spend.
    2. No automation and POS integration.

    Website: https://www.candybar.co/

    Pricing: 30-day free trial, then $45/month.

    P2Pmarketing Rating: 9/10

    4. Perkville

    Perkville is perfect for membership-based businesses that are looking to reward their customers. Perkville integrates with various industry-specific POS systems allowing you to give out rewards to those who complete certain actions.

    perkville- Loyalty Software

    Pros and Cons


    1. Integrates with many popular POS, membership, and CRM programs such as Mindbody, Lightspeed, and Vend.
    2. Rewards your customers for a wide variety of actions such as purchases, referrals, and more.
    3. A lot of flexibility.


    1. Only businesses that require customers to sign up for an account can use this software.

    Website: https://www.perkville.com/

    Pricing: Starts at $99/month per location.

    P2Pmarketing Rating: 8/10

    5. SpotOn

    SpotOn is a loyal software best used by brick-and-mortar businesses that want to increase new foot traffic. It has various additional features such as online review access, marketing solutions, and an analytics dashboard. There is an app for customers to find your business, search for deals, and track rewards from multiple businesses.

    Spoton- Loyalty Software

    Pros and Cons


    1. Customers can see all the deals in your store through their app and check the points they earned.
    2. Create multiple reward options for your customers and track which opportunities they take advantage of.


    1. Customers can’t earn points for actions other than purchases.
    2. It requires your customers to download the app to be able to participate.

    Website: https://www.spoton.com/

    Pricing: $35-$195/month

    P2Pmarketing Rating: 7/10

    6. Loyalzoo

    Loyalzoo is a loyalty software that uses the gamification concept to help businesses improve their retention. Just like CandyBar and SpotOn, it works with digitized punch-cards. LoyalZoo strives to increase the interaction between the merchant and customers.

    Loyalzoo- Loyalty Software

    Pros and Cons


    1. It supports both stamps and point-based loyalty programs.
    2. Customers can check-in from their phones, so there are no problems when using QR-codes.
    3. The app also integrates with Facebook.
    4. Customers can post automatically to their feeds when they check-in.


    1. Customers are required to download the app to participate.

    Website: https://www.loyalzoo.com/

    Pricing: Free trial, then $27-$7-/month per store.

    P2Pmarketing Rating: 6.5/10

    The 3 Best Shopify Customer Loyalty Apps

    1. Marsello

    Marsello is a very effective omnichannel marketing app, which focuses on turning promising shoppers into loyal customers. This Shopify app offers a great customized rewards program, through targeted SMS and email marketing campaigns. Marsello is a wonderful tool for assisting you in your business, particularly when it comes to understanding your marketing and reaching out to your customers in the most effective way.Behind the scenes, the app will segment customers based on their shopping history, spend data and visit frequencies, and automatically send emails that encourage customer engagement, customer retention, and increased purchase frequency.

    Marsello Loyalty App

    Pros and Cons


    1. User-friendly
    2. Automated email marketing campaigns that can be integrated with Mailchimp. Or if preferred, you can stop using Mailchimp.
    3. Great customer service and support. Quick to make adjustments and improvements based on customer feedback.
    4. Can be integrated into e-commerce stores.


    1. Limited customization of templates allowed.

    Pricing: starts at $49 per month, with additional add ons.

    P2Pmarketing Rating: 9/10

    2. Rise.ai

    Rise.ai is a great, user friendly Shopify app, used to boost a business’s customer sales and loyalty through an automated credit store solution. Customers who participate in the program receive a store-valued digital loyalty card and are able to top up and purchase items accordingly. This app also allows businesses to customize their loyalty programs through automated rule settings, based on order values, customer lifetime values and other customer segmentations. Customers are also able to follow an easy referral process through the app.

    Rise.ai Loyalty App

    Pros and Cons


    1. Setting up an advanced, complete gift card program.
    2. Developing a rewards system that is easy to follow for customers, using your unique store’s currency.
    3. 7 day free trial available for all their different plans.


    1.   App may require a level of technical know-how to set up.

    Pricing: $19.99 – $599.99/ month

    P2Pmarketing Rating: 8/10

    3. Growave

    Growave is another wonderful Shopify loyalty program app that focuses on increasing store engagement, conversion rates and sales, while also trying to encourage loyalty. By providing different avenues for giving reviews, creating wish lists and offering links or UGCs to other social media platforms, the app encourages customers to have a more comprehensive brand experience. The app also incorporates a simple points system as well as a referral and VIP tiered system.

    Growave Loyalty Landing Page

    Pros and Cons


    1. Incorporating customer social proof, UGCs and reviews can be a strong attraction for customers.


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

    Pricing: $29.99 – $299.99/ month (currently offering discounts)

    P2Pmarketing Rating: 8/10

    Our Picks

    For those of who are still unsure about what loyalty software to use, here are our picks:

    • Best overall: Smile.io has the best features a business of any size could desire.
    • For brick-and-mortar businesses: Glue Loyalty is perfect thanks to the punch-card concept.

    Final Thoughts

    All in all, loyalty programs are perfect for raising loyalty levels and increasing retention. These are definitely the 9 best tools around. So, if you use one of these, you will definitely succeed in your job.

    About the Author: Anna is a specialist in different types of writing. She graduated from the Interpreters Department, but creative writing became her favorite type of work. Now she improves her skills while working as a freelance writer and translator for TheWordPoint and has free time for other types of work, as well.


    Frequently Asked Questions

    How to know if your loyalty program software is successful?

    When choosing a loyalty program software for your business, it is important to assess the software based on the following criteria:
    1. User reviews- what are people saying about the software at the moment?
    2. Demos & trials availability- are you able to clearly see how the software is used and can you access a free trial?
    3. Price range- does it fit within your budget?
    4. Product features & functionality- do the features function within your specific loyalty program and business niche?

    What kind of loyalty program software does Harrah’s use?

    Harrah’s Entertainment Customer Loyalty Program, or formerly known as the “Total Rewards” program is considered as one of the leading, gold standards of loyalty programs today. This loyalty program operates as a tiered program, where gamblers can earn a combination of Tier Credits and Reward Credits. Harrah’s uses a combination of good customized messaging and is powered by Unica’s marketing management software, as well as by SAS’s predictive-analysis program.

    How to set up a successful loyalty program?

    Here is a guideline of key questions to consider, when deciding how and why you want to set up a loyalty program:
    1. Set your goals- what are you trying to achieve with the loyalty program? Example: to encourage brand engagement; drive footfall; enhance personalization; or to incentivize repeat purchases.
    2. Numbers- how will you measure results?
    3. Focus- what is your target audience and what percentage of customers do you want to be a part of the loyalty program?
    4. Money- how much are you going to spend on your loyalty program?
    5. Technology- how will you implement your loyalty program?
    6. Actions- what customer actions are you trying to encourage?
    7. Incentives- try to understand why customers will be drawn to your loyalty program?
    8. API- how will you link your loyalty program to your online store or POS?
    9. Promote- how to keep people engaged long term?
    10. Adjust- generate customer feedback and assess how you can improve your loyalty program?

    How to run a successful loyalty program?

    Here is a list of helpful tips to consider when running a successful loyalty program:
    • Offer customers a unique set of rewards, not just freebies.
    • Offer gift cards and cash.
    • Socialize your program, by using social media platforms (word of mouth) to grow your loyalty program. Encourage website and app interactions also.
    • Shift your brand from “legacy loyalty” to “cult loyalty” which encourages customers to have a stronger relationship with the brand.
    • Move away from money-backed to non-money-backed reward systems.
    • Appreciate your customers before they purchase, by saying thank you.
    • Listen to your customers- allow multiple routes for customer feedback, to keep hearing where you can improve. It will be helpful to also develop a thick skin!

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