Customer Loyalty Programs – Easier To Operate Than Ever Due To Tech Innovations

Key points

  • Today’s loyalty programs are more likely to be built around online apps than the old hole-punched loyalty cards
  • Mobile payment options built in to your online order platform allows seamless and contactless purchase, making it easier for customers to generate rewards points
  • Gamification, such as presenting the accumulation of rewards points as a fun exercise and introducing an element of chance, can make participating in loyalty programs more attractive to customers
  • Customers enjoy being made feel special and technological innovations have made that easier to achieve – such as marketing automation software that can be used to automatically respond to customers’ interaction with your brand on social media.

With technological innovations having made customer loyalty programs more accessible and easier for consumers to participate in, it’s easier than ever before to create and run a program that will work for your business.


In the old days, loyalty programs consisted of hole-punching cards that promised your tenth meal would be free, or offering happy hour meal discounts to regular customers. Today you’re more likely to be using a mobile app that shows your customer how many meals they’ve purchased and how close they are towards earning their reward of a free drink or side. Here are some other tech innovations that can make creating your loyalty program easier:



Use mobile payment options within your loyalty app

There are several benefits of using a mobile payment option such as Apple Pay or Paypal. Most obviously, it allows for contactless payments – a big drawcard in reassuring customers while the threat of Covid is still with us. It also makes it easier for customers to complete their online purchase by minimising the necessary steps involved, especially when using a mobile platform such as ordering by phone. When you consider that every failed checkout equals a missed opportunity for the customer to build rewards points, the benefit to your loyalty program becomes obvious.


Mobile payment checkout integrated directly into your order app means customers don’t have to log in again to pay, can complete their purchase seamlessly and so generate their rewards points without hassle.



Gamification can attract customers

Gamification is the concept of promoting your brand and/or product by turning it into a game which uses competition and rewards. For example, you can present your rewards program so it’s as if the customer is earning points in a game – such as a progress bar which tracks their accumulation of rewards points on your order app’s homepage, with rewards points added as $ or Star icons. Another way to create the sense of a game is by introducing an element of chance – such as a random ‘win’ of a free meal or bonus rewards points which pop up occasionally when the customer engages with the app. For example, giving users the opportunity to earn twice the normal amount of points on a particular day which changes each week. Randomly scheduled bonuses like this can create a sense of fun and boost engagement from customers.



Making customers feel special

Building loyalty is a two-way street: if you’re loyal to your customers they’re more likely to show you loyalty in return. Customers enjoy being made feel special, and technological innovations have made that easier to achieve. For example, marketing automation software can be used to automatically respond to customers’ interaction with your brand on social media. This can be as straightforward as customers posting a selfie on themselves at your restaurant on Facebook or a photo of their meal on Instagram. Identifiers such as hashtags of your business name, or sharing the web address of your restaurant or menu, can generate an automatic response. These can even be tailored to each individual depending on whether or not they are already enrolled in your loyalty program; if they are, they might receive bonus points, and if not, they can be invited to enrol with a link.



Digital promotions provide a plethora of information

Transactional data gathered as part of today’s order apps help you build up a profile of the members of your loyalty program, which makes it much easier to individualize your marketing to each member based on their own interest and preferences. Digital promotional activities via your loyalty program allow you to track customer click-throughs and identify redemption rates – so you know when, how often and how much they order from your business, making it easier to identify opportunities for upselling and build a relationship based on each customer’s preferences.