What to Look for in a Customer Loyalty Programs Partner
Here’s our checklist of five attributes a partner should offer when it comes to gift and customer loyalty programs.

You’ve decided that you want to offer gift cards. What qualities and capabilities should you look for in a gift and customer loyalty programs partner? As you begin your search, be prepared to answer questions such as whether you want to give customers the ability to choose the card value; how you want to sell and distribute cards; and whether you want to include customer rewards in your program. Here’s our checklist of five attributes a partner should offer your business when it comes to gift and customer loyalty programs.

A Partner, Not just a Provider

A gift and customer loyalty programs partner should have an established track record, rollout, and training methodology that’s been proven over time. Seek a partner that is willing to take the time to consult with you on details such as card design, launch and marketing plans, program rollout, and employee training. The best partners will be willing to listen and understand what makes your business unique, and develop gift and incentives programs that not only fit your business but get results. They will also offer plans and pricing that fit your budget.

Full Range of Sales Channels and Distribution Options

Not all partners support both gift cards and rewards so look for one that does. A rewards program can help drive sales, increase card replenishment revenue, and ultimately, build customer loyalty. The partner you choose should support your customers’ buying preferences. Customers have come to expect the ability to purchase and manage gift and loyalty cards online.  Make sure your customer loyalty programs partner makes it easy for your customers to purchase cards online, and track and replenish balances, with option for automatic reload. Look for a partner that allows physical cards to integrate with eGift/virtual cards, giving customers the ability to transfer balances to a virtual wallet. If you have a mobile app (or are thinking of releasing one) and want it to integrate with your gift and rewards offering, be sure to consider a partner that can support this functionality. Then you’ll be able to accept gift card payments and show rewards status through your app, thereby interacting with your customers right where they manage their lives: on their smartphone.

Highly Customizable Rewards

Merchants need to continually raise the bar when it comes to incentives and rewards to gain an edge over more enticing offers from their competitors. Gift and customer loyalty programs vendors with a robust back-end rewards engine can help you fine-tune your rewards based on any number of parameters and customer incentive triggers that work with your sales and financial model and help you meet your goals. And if all this sounds complicated, it doesn’t have to be, when your partner offers experienced consultants who work with you one-on-one to understand your needs and devise a program that’s right for you.

Comprehensive Solutions Beyond Gift & Rewards

A seasoned provider will understand that gift and customer loyalty programs don’t operate in a vacuum, and they will have developed a broad range of offerings to meet the unique needs of businesses including integration with:

  • Point-of-sale (POS)

  • Customer intelligence (customer relationship management – CRM)

  • Engagement and marketing

  • Virtual or mobile gift card

  • Stored value/wallet

  • Value-based cards and item/product-based cards (also great for employee appreciation or employee holiday gifts)

  • Mobile app development

  • Online ordering

  • Marketing campaign management.

All the Essentials

Partners that make the short list for gift and customer loyalty programs should offer:

  • A track record of success including recognizable brands as clients

  • A reliable platform: 99.99% or better uptime

  • Support for high transaction volume

  • Continually improving controls with regard to fraud prevention

  • Options and packages that suit your budget and can grow with you

  • A responsive, dedicated account and technical support team, preferably based in-country, to consult with you, answer your questions, and resolve issues, should any arise

  • Robust, all-in-one gift card sales reporting and rewards tracking tool that is easy to access and understand

Gift cards are in high demand. In fact, 89% of consumers surveyed expect gift cards to be available for them to purchase.

As you think about what kind of gift and customer loyalty program to offer, and how to find a partner that can help you implement it, use this checklist to help you make informed decisions that will foster growth for your business.