Today, companies are competing not only with other local businesses but with online retailers and global corporations. Competition is fierce and the world of commerce is changing. If organizations want to succeed in this new landscape, they need to build connections with their customers. This is where web software and customer loyalty program come in.
1. What is Loyalty Program?
We're all familiar with loyalty programs and probably have a couple of loyalty cards in our wallets. Loyalty programs aim to build long-term relationships with your customers and encourage them to spend more time (and money) with you by rewarding their purchases, having them come back for more, and referring other people to do the same.
However, loyalty reward programs may also be designed to attract new customers with special promotional discounts without requiring an existing purchase history. Done right, loyalty rewards platforms can simultaneously benefit both existing and potential customers.
1.1 Some Important Statistics About Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs work. Data shows that consumers who engage in high-performing programs are twice as likely to increase their frequency of purchases. Loyalty program members return for additional purchases, spend more, and stay with companies longer. Another benefit is that close to 70% of customers that take part in loyalty programs are willing to pay higher costs so they can continue earning points.
1.2 An In-Depth Look at Customer Loyalty Software
Loyalty programs work using the theory of reciprocity, which says we feel obligated to return favors done for us or supported us with future support. Paid loyalty programs have a significant influence on purchase decisions.
According to a recent study, customers who participated in paid loyalty programs were 62% more likely to spend more money with the brand. They are also 59% more inclined to pick it over its competitors. In addition, nearly 60% of internet users throughout the world have said that earning rewards or loyalty points was one of the most important components of their retail buying experience.
Of course, it's not enough to simply state you have a loyalty rewards platform as a business. You need to convince your customers that they will benefit from joining. This means you need to make loyalty programs accessible and easy to understand. This could include offering up some generous incentives (like free shipping or early access) as well as providing special channels where your members can communicate with one another (and with you).
As the program grows and evolves, you can continue adding features and benefits. Customer Loyalty Software can be complicated to build and manage, but the initial investment of time and resources provide benefits for all to see. Here is a simple and clear guide on what a rewards web platform is and what you need to create it.
2. How to create Customer Loyalty Software?
Customer Loyalty Software is made up of multiple parts. There is a way to track and record points (most commonly done with an app) and then there is the backend, which allows for customer management, reward redemption, and more. Building such a platform means creating functionality that will help you attract new clients and reward existing ones.
Customer loyalty and rewards software can take on all shapes and sizes – from offering discounts on products to engaging customers in campaigns and even credit cards or travel arrangements. Before starting it is necessary to have an idea of your clients and what they are looking for from your business.
It is important to note that customer loyalty software should not interfere with existing company policies – it just needs to be seamlessly incorporated into everything else.
The first step is creating a list of all the ways one can use points or credits for redemption. Obviously, this will differ depending on the industry type (retailers will have different options than restaurants), but some popular incentives include:
⚈ discounts and rebates on products;
⚈ free promotional products;
⚈ discounts for friends;
⚈ exclusive members-only deals or invitations, including access to VIP events.
You may also want to think about offering extra points during specific seasons or holidays.
Once you know what type of rewards you want to offer, you need to determine the value of each point. Again, your business type will dictate this, but a good rule of thumb is that one point = one cent.
3. Benefits of customer loyalty software
⚈ Improved customer engagement - Customer loyalty programs are quite popular in the B2C industry and one of their primary goals is to increase customer engagement through targeted rewards. Companies that fail to engage with their customers struggle with brand recognition, so loyalty programs are an excellent way of increasing engagement. Customers that are members of a loyalty program tend to be more loyal and engaged than other customers.
⚈ A personalized customer experience - Another way in which companies increase their engagement with customers is through the unique and personalized customer experience they offer during a transaction. Loyalty software improves the data companies have available to their customers, which helps build a more targeted experience. For example, a company can offer a faster line to customer service based on the purchase history of that person.
⚈ Increased Sales - A loyalty program can increase sales by offering discounts and other incentives to its members. Customers are more likely to return if they feel like the company is trying to get their business rather than taking it for granted.
⚈ Increase Customer Retention - Most customers would rather choose a company that offers loyalty programs. Customers appreciate companies who value their business and rewards programs make people feel like the company does.
⚈ Increased Customer Lifetime Value - A loyal customer is more likely to keep coming back to a store and recommend it to friends and family, which means that they are worth more over time. Customers can also remain loyal if they know they will get something back for sticking with a retailer or service provider.
4. Web App Development for Lemod: A Case Study in Efficiency and Effectiveness
Lemod is based in Cedar City (Utah), USA, where they work with different clinics that perform various beauty treatments for consumers. We had the opportunity to work with Lemod on building loyalty software for their beauty business. They wanted to reward their customers for making repeat visits, recommending friends and family, and referring others to become new clients.
The Lemod clients are subdivided into categories based on membership status, and the rewards platform needed to offer differing levels of points based on the items purchased and member level. Customers would then be able to exchange these accumulated points for coupons or vouchers during future visits helping drive recurring business.
The Lemod web portal helps connect different clinics together on the backend and provides a simple yet powerful interface for marketing and promotions. Overall, the Lemod platform helped build strong relationships between clients and businesses by providing incentives and discounts that encourage users to come back for more treatments or check-ups.
4.1 Building a Better Web Platform: Lemod's Development Process Explained
After the initial meeting with Indeema and discussing the project, Lemod's team of product managers and marketers began to work on the requirements for the Lemod Customer Loyalty Software. These were then given to project managers and developers at Indeema and the development process began. Developing a custom web application for customer loyalty requires a thorough understanding of the business and its customers, as well as expertise in software development and user experience design.
The first step was to create an information architecture that would ensure that the different aspects of Lemod's business model were fully understood by both parties involved. This involved looking at how certain sections of the platform could be linked together while understanding what kind of content they wanted access to from a customer’s point of view.
At this stage, concepts started being put down on paper as wireframes, while more detailed research into Lemod's customer base took place. This involved putting together user personas that would inform developers about the kind of people who would be using Lemod.
A minimal viable product (MVP) was created next. This MVP is an interactive prototype with minimal design elements so as not to make any assumptions about what elements should be included in the final product. At this stage, feedback from real customers was obtained so that changes could be made to the design where necessary.
Some of the challenges addressed at this stage include:
⚈ building a system to automatically calculate referral reward and loyalty points, while at the same time, considering differences in customer tier levels and end dates;
⚈ configuring the system to integrate directly with the payment modules;
⚈ addressing security issues involved with sharing information about patients between multiple clinics.
Following this, a final prototype was created that could then be tested more rigorously.
Quality analysts at Indeema used a variety of different test cases to ensure that the software was working to expectations. These QA analysts take the place of a regular user and test the system for any bugs or areas of improvement before release.
The final phase of the project was the release of the platform itself. As part of the maintenance phase of the process, Indeema continues to work with Lemod on new features which include adding functionality and capabilities.
5. Why Reward Apps are a Must-Have for Businesses Across Industries
Loyalty rewards applications are used in almost every industry there is. Every company wants to build up a good relationship with its customers and such website platform examples help provide a tangible means of doing so.
Some of the most well-known industries that use customer rewards programs include:
⚈ gas stations,
⚈ grocery stores,
⚈ restaurants and fast food establishments.
The application and the rewards provided vary from industry to industry, but there are several reasons companies implement these types of software
- Access to data - reward programs give companies access to massive amounts of data about their customers that can be used for marketing purposes or other initiatives that will benefit the company's bottom line.
- Improved customer engagement - this one is pretty self-explanatory, but the more engaged businesses are with a company or brand, the more likely they are to remain loyal.
- Enhance Customer Satisfaction - this software can enhance customer satisfaction by giving customers an incentive to try new products/services, purchase additional items, or come back to the company for future purchases.
- Increase in sales and revenue - this is also relatively straightforward. Using data provided by loyalty programs, companies can target customers who are likely to make purchases of high value.
- Increase customer retention - customers often choose convenience over loyalty. Loyalty platforms help combat that tendency by rewarding those customers who stick around through thick and thin (and temptation).
6. Leveraging Outsourcing for Successful Web and Mobile App Development
With a rewards loyalty platform, outsourcing is often a good solution for many companies that are considering development, especially those with smaller budgets.
Ted Selden is the COO and Product Manager for Lemod and he pointed out that by partnering with Indeema Software for their app development, they were able to realize significant benefits in a more timely manner. Outsourcing is often more economical than bringing in internal or external employees - it can be done quicker and also helps save costs.
Outsourcing has many other benefits too. As Ted pointed out, by outsourcing to Indeema, the Lemod team could focus on its own core business while leaving software development and design responsibilities to the experts at Indeema. Through an agile project management process, the Lemod team was able to stay informed of progress and could make changes and adjustments when necessary.
6.1 Understanding the Software Development Lifecycle
With any software project, there are multiple different steps that need to be followed to ensure success. In most cases, there are six distinct phases in the software development life cycle (SDLC):
⚈ Defining Requirements - In this phase, companies try to understand what it is they want to accomplish. Usually, companies will do this by writing out a project proposal that explains the need and then doing market research to see what products might already exist that could help them accomplish their goals.
⚈ Planning - During the planning phase, costs and resources are determined for project implementation. Planning also looks at timelines and risks to determine any potential roadblocks.
⚈ Designing - During the design phase, the architecture that would be used is considered as well as the programming language and overall user interface (UI). The design phase can be quite involved as it looks at lots of different areas and could even include the creation of a minimum viable product (MVP) to demonstrate the overall look and feel.
⚈ Developing - During the development phase, the actual coding of the project occurs.
⚈ Testing - During this phase, units are tested in addition to different functional tests to validate correct operation across multiple platforms. Bugs are logged and tracked for resolution during this time.
⚈ Deployment - Once all testing is completed, deployment takes place, including updating software on servers if needed or releasing an update to an app store or marketplace if it's a mobile application.
While not always directly related to the SDLC, there is one other phase that should always be considered and that is ongoing support.
⚈ Maintenance & Support - While every effort should be made to find bugs and issues in the testing phase, users inevitably find problems you never expected, so ongoing support becomes necessary. During the maintenance and support phase, these bugs are resolved and addressed through patches and new releases.
During the course of this project, the team at Indeema worked extremely closely with Lemod's leadership to deliver a solution that met all of their needs and requirements. In fact, the Lemod team was so impressed, they offered a video testimonial and agreed to a longer-term partnership between the two organizations.
We see this as a tremendous validation of our process, experience, team, and the quality of the product we develop for clients. The entire project spanned several months but resulted in an exceptional platform that reflected Lemod's vision for this initiative.
Are you considering developing a customer loyalty rewards platform? If so, we would love to speak with you about how we can help bring your project to life. We have the necessary expertise to begin working on your project immediately and can guide you through the entire development process.
If you have another software development project or app that you are considering, let us know. Indeema has extensive experience building innovative products that simplify and enhance the online experience for consumers and businesses alike. Contact us today for more information on how our team can help bring your vision to life.