loyalty program | 11 mins read

Top 5 Restaurant Loyalty Program Software That Can Turn Patrons Into Fans

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Yamini P.

By Yamini P.

What is a Customer Loyalty Program?

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Scoring a new customer comes with an adrenaline rush. However, converting existing customers into repeat customers is more crucial to a business than simply gaining new ones. According to studies, acquiring a new customer is six times more expensive than keeping an existing one. This means, it's cheaper to develop customer loyalty than to garner customer interest. That's why consumer loyalty programs are so important.

By definition, a customer loyalty program is a marketing approach that recognizes and rewards customers who engage with a particular brand on a regular basis. They may earn points, receive bonuses, or special deals when they become regular users of the company's products or services. Benefits include rewards, coupons, free merchandise, or early access to new products.

But customer loyalty programs are not just about offering discounts. Companies review their customers' purchase history and data to be able to offer them timely and relevant loyalty programs that are likely to enhance their overall customer experience. Companies also look forward to growing their customer base by forming partnerships with related businesses and delivering even more compelling rewards.

Customer loyalty programs describe an emotional relationship between the company and the customer. Loyalty is just a by-product of this relationship; a successful loyalty program builds trust.

  • Use whatever they purchase
  • Purchase regularly
  • Interact with you through various channels
  • Are your biggest supporter and bring in new customers through their positive feedback

Loyal customers make recommendations to family and friends. Check out the following statistics regarding referrals and how important they are for a customer loyalty program . . .

  • For a new referral customer, the lifetime value is 16% higher than non-referrals.
  • B2B companies that provide referrals have a 70% higher conversion rate. This is possible through loyalty programs and loyal customers.

What Can a Customer Loyalty Program do For My Business?

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Loyalty programs are a good tool to make your customers feel recognized and special. This leads to higher retention, profits, referrals, and in turn, more revenue. A customer retention program is based on rewarding positive behavior. When a company offers a great loyalty program, it adds value to the brand and accelerates the loyalty lifecycle. Rewarding customers for their loyalty and frequent engagement with your brand helps distinguish your brand from other competitors and makes your customers feel valued.

There are several benefits to a loyalty program. Here's a look at five of them.

Better customer engagement
Customer engagement has a direct impact on brand sustainability in the long term. If a brand doesn't connect with its audience, it will have a low recall value and fail to create a reliable brand image. Loyalty programs help businesses improve customer engagement. When customers are part of a brand's reward or loyalty program, they are more open to receiving emails or marketing material from it. This helps businesses strengthen their bond with customers.

Increased customer retention
According to a recent survey, more than 80% of customers stick with a particular brand that offers a loyalty program. Around 66% feel that the ability to earn rewards changes their spending behavior. Loyalty programs have an immediate impact on customer retention rates. A company that can retain customers earns brand advocates and higher revenue.

Brand affinity and loyalty
Regular brand engagement helps build customer loyalty. This is further strengthened by a loyalty program. Rewards, incentives, and gifts bring in a satisfying customer experience that builds brand affinity. A consistent, lucrative, and regular customer-business association boosts the brand's loyalty and gives it a competitive edge.

Increased customer lifetime value
A loyalty program has a direct impact on customer lifetime value or CLV. The net profit attributed to a particular customer is called CLV. Loyalty programs significantly improve the longevity of brand-customer relations. If the loyalty program is engaging and offers meaningful loyalty rewards, it increases its customer lifetime value.

Endorses brand advocates
A cheerful customer is a vocal customer. Loyalty programs improve customer satisfaction and help promote brand advocacy. A brand advocate positively influences their friends and family in a great way and this promotes brand penetration. When a brand provides a referral program, it helps generate more brand advocates and brings in more referrals.

  • In the United States, there are more than 3.3 billion loyalty program memberships.
  • Around 52% customer join the loyalty program of brands from which they make frequent purchases.
  • 84% of loyalty program members have made a redemption from their loyalty program.
  • An average customer belongs to 14.8 loyalty programs, but actively uses only 6.7 of them.
  • More than 18% of customers engage with every loyalty program of which they are a member.

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What is Loyalty Program Software?

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The idea of a loyalty program is simple- customers who frequently purchase your products or services or make referrals gain points. They can redeem these points for various rewards like merchandise or customer service.

Customer loyalty software allows users to customize different aspects of a loyalty program. This includes creating rules about how customers earn points, spend them, and the number of points earned per purchase. Analytics that identify trends in purchase behavior and broad market patterns and report them, forms is the mainstay of loyalty program software.

A customer loyalty program software is any computer or web-based tool that tracks and strengthens customer value after the point of purchase. Customer loyalty software includes customer engagement software, advocating marketing software, gamification, and loyalty programs.

Customer loyalty is equally important for big and small businesses. The latter, in particular, work hard to gain every customer they can, and need those customers to come back for repeat business. Loyalty programs software can help them achieve this. Like any other software, customer loyalty programs for small businesses range from analog punch cards to gamification programs that contain built-in marketing features and loyalty program apps. You can use restaurant loyalty programs to help get great rewards with very little effort.

Top Features Every Good Loyalty Program Software Must Have

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According to a survey by Accenture, there are 3.3 billion loyalty program memberships in the U.S. 90% of companies have one or the other loyalty program. Brands invest in loyalty programs because they know that an old customer is more valuable than a newly acquired one. The dynamics of loyalty programs are constantly evolving/ They appeal to the changing tastes of the market, while staying on par with the competition.

Here's a list of customer loyalty program features every good reward program should offer.

Rewards Management- It helps a user control the rewards structure and decide how a points program should work. Brands can gamify a loyalty program to encourage point collection. This helps customers engage more actively with the loyalty program to reach a new level or earn a better badge.

Member Portal- We live in an omnichannel world. Customers expect to manage their loyalty program points and redeem them wherever they go. Businesses should have portals through which participants can redeem points and receive information about sales and promotions.

Mobile App Loyalty program- Loyalty programs on mobile apps make it easy for customers to collect and keep track of their points and redeem them anytime, anywhere. Loyalty apps also send product recommendations, notifications, and timely promotions that will help keep customers hooked to the brand.

Millennial participation- When it comes to customer loyalty programs, millennials drive the business. They care more than other age-group about interacting with their favourite brand. Loyalty platforms can leverage multiple social media channels, celebrity partnerships, personalized loyalty rewards programs, and exclusive offers to get the most out of this customer-base.

Customer Relationship Management- The CRM function of a customer loyalty program allows companies to collect and store customer data. It enables them to view the number of points each customer has and monitor how they are using them. Companies can even send targeted messages to customers who have collected a sizeable number of points, and motivate them to use them.

Card Management & Integrations- In addition to digital cards, some businesses offer physical loyalty or gift cards. Customer loyalty systems can also integrate with content management systems (CMS) that enable users to work on a company website or social media pages. Some systems integrate with a point of sale system that helps customers view the number of points they've earned.

  • 75% customers say they prefer companies that offer rewards
  • 82% companies agree that retention is cheaper than acquisition
  • Increase in customer retention by 5% improves profits by 25% to 95%
  • 56% of customers stay loyal to brands that 'get' them
  • 58% of restaurants use personalization strategies for customer retention
  • More than 65% of a company's business comes from existing loyal customers

Top 5 Loyalty Program Software for Restaurants

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Consumers, especially restaurant customers, love to get rewarded. Loyal customers will place online orders and visit your restaurant more often. Even though you can create and manage a loyalty program yourself to drive sales and encourage customer retention, good customer loyalty software helps streamline these operations. It helps you generate bigger profits and higher revenue with its up-selling and cross-selling capabilities. The best customer loyalty program software offers superior automation features and loyalty elements. There are many loyalty program software solutions in the market, but the best ones are listed right here-

Zip Loyalty- ZipLoyalty is a specialized restaurant loyalty app that collects, categorizes and analyzes customer data better than any other platform in the market. Its top-of-the-line analytics helps companies craft intuitive rewards programs based on past purchase behaviour and current market trends. Its user-friendly interface makes the app a joy to use, with its push notifications and alerts making sure customers are always up to speed on discounts and deals. Zip Loyalty is available for standalone purchase on the restaurant 'app store' Hubworks. It is also part of PlumPos, the complete restaurant POS system.

PosIQ- This is a vertically integrated technology solution for restaurants. Users can choose from various guest tracking methods available in the system. These help restaurants capture and analyze their guests' order and their place of visit. Restaurant owners can also track the return on investment from loyalty marketing programs and reward customers with offers and loyalty points, based on past purchase patterns.

Paytronix- Paytronix is a well known developer of loyalty programs for restaurants. Paytronix loyalty program software helps users identify top-ranking customers, track guest behavior, and customize promotions. Its clients include Panera and Sprinkles Cupcakes.

Toast Loyalty- Toast Loyalty is an integrated rewards program with a seamless onboarding process. It provides a convenient opt-in button for customer loyalty programs on the checkout screen. All customers have to do is enter their email address to sign up. The loyalty program is then linked to the customer's debit or credit card. Customers can collect points and earn rewards without the need for a physical loyalty card.

Glue Loyalty- Glue Loyalty manages all aspects of your customer loyalty program with its reward points and punch cards. Fully automated, it provides omni channel capabilities and can integrate various loyalty solutions into a single program.

  • Reward loyalty for each and every visit.
  • Keep your restaurant loyalty program simple.
  • Make sure there's a personal touch to your loyalty programs that goes beyond monetary rewards.
  • Educate restaurant staff about your loyalty programs.
  • Develop a digital and mobile loyalty program strategy for your restaurant.

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How Much do Loyalty Program Software Cost?

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You've decided to launch your own restaurant loyalty program, and you have several ideas in mind. But you're stuck with one critical problem- you're worried about how much the loyalty program will cost you!

Loyalty programs are an effective way to encourage repeat customers and reduce marketing costs. And even though restaurants benefit greatly from loyalty programs, an effective program demands a careful analysis of costs and benefits.

What are the parameters to calculate loyalty program pricing? The answer is not easy. The actual cost depends on the type, size, and scope of the rewards programs. We look into details of the various factors associated with restaurant loyalty programs.

There are incremental revenues and incremental costs associated with a loyalty program software. Hence, cost determination depends on the structure and incentives of a particular program. To evaluate the performance of a loyalty program, you just have to subtract incremental revenues from incremental costs.

Incremental costs include the cost of benefits like member events, marketing and advertising, business overheads like payroll and staffing, vendor contracts, reward redemption, and other liabilities. Incremental revenues include the premium amount, lowered customer churn rate, other revenues like point sales or partner payments and membership fees, and increased purchase frequency.

Here's a checklist that will help you calculate loyalty costs.

Development approach- Before the budget planning process, the user should check who will develop the loyalty program. There are three options to choose from- it can either be developed in-house, or custom-developed by an agency, or implemented by a loyalty software.

Management, marketing, and technology costs- This includes the manpower behind a restaurant loyalty program, marketing costs like advertisement and social media campaigns, and technology costs. It also includes the reward system costs, like removing unpopular rewards or introducing new ones.

  • Come up with a name for your loyalty program. Make sure it's catchy.
  • Restaurant loyalty programs should be about more than just the money. Get your customers excited about the program.
  • Don't limit the loyalty program to purchasing. Instead, reward your customers for other actions as well.
  • Apply the same strategy to rewards. Try various types of customer loyalty programs instead of simply sticking to points collected.
  • Expand enrolling opportunities for best customers. Promote the loyalty program on the menu and elsewhere.
  • Develop your loyalty program as a case study. This means review it constantly, testing new features and tweak it for improvement.

Loyalty Program FAQs

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Q1. How do loyalty programs work ?
You can reward your most loyal customers with reward points for purchases, birthdays, referrals, and more. Customers then collect these loyalty points and redeem them at your restaurant. A loyalty program increases customer loyalty and engagement and helps companies transform regular customers into loyal advocates of their brand.

Q2. How much time does it take to run a loyalty program?
It's important to understand the kind of loyalty program you are building and the rewards programs you are offering. It should match your customer's needs and the restaurant's identity. Once the foundation is done, everything will fall in place. An average restaurant needs at least two months of preparation and development to ensure its loyalty program is functioning well. Zip Loyalty from Hubworks makes the process simple and hassle-free.

Q3. Do loyalty program members spend more?
Customers generally increase their basket value to accrue more points. If you provide more points to them through loyalty programs, they will eventually spend more and purchases will double.

Q4. How can I acquire new loyalty members?
The answer is to nurture your existing customers. When they are happy with your products and the loyalty programs, they will automatically become brand advocates and recommend your restaurant to friends and family. Offer your existing customers more rewards to boost sales and profits in long run.

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