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A Beginner’s Guide to Comparing Loyalty Program Providers

You can’t rush perfection, they say. This especially rings true when planning a transformative decision, such as choosing a loyalty program provider to partner with. 

Why? Because loyalty programs — much like the companies that provide them — come in many flavors. It’s your goal to find the one that integrates seamlessly with your marketing platform, has a user-friendly backend for the management team, and is sophisticated enough to help you reach any of your business goals.

To lend you a hand, I’d like to present a clear-cut guide, complete with a handy worksheet. It’ll take you through you the ins and outs of evaluating loyalty program providers.

Download our Loyalty Management Platform worksheet to get a head start in your research. The document features the most vital categories to research and also comes pre-filled with details about Antavo’s platform. Use it to compare Antavo with other loyalty program providers.

Download our Loyalty Management Platform worksheet to get a head start in your research. The document features the most vital categories to research and also comes pre-filled with details about Antavo’s platform. Use it to compare Antavo with other loyalty program providers.

Step 1: Get Acquainted With the Company

When it comes to evaluating loyalty program platforms, the first step is to learn more about the company itself. Positioning and target audience is a great place to start, because they show you the platform’s main focus.

Similarly, the number and the location of the offices tell a story about the company’s global presence — or lack thereof. Lastly, make sure to pay a visit to any available testimonial, or even better, case study. It’s always a good sign if a provider has a history working with similar brands in your industry.

Antavo offers multiple case studies, each answering to a different challenge. For instance, our omnichannel loyalty solution helped specialty beer retailer Beer Hawk connect its online store with its High Street bars.

Antavo offers multiple case studies, each answering to a different challenge. For instance, our omnichannel loyalty solution helped specialty beer retailer Beer Hawk connect its online store with its High Street bars.

Step 2: Identify Key Features & Tech Solutions

The ‘system seller’ features of a loyalty program provider are always displayed on the front page. But it’s worth poking around and inquiring about what else vendors are capable of.

For instance, are they offering a one-size-fits-all solution, or is their Loyalty Logic flexible enough to accommodate your unique business needs? Do they offer gamification modules? (They’re pretty hot right now.) Also, what kind of reward ideas does it support? Because there are so many alternatives to coupons and discounts.

As for the tech background, I recommend checking the UX of the platform. If wasn’t designed to be user-friendly, you might need to dedicate your IT resources to helping the CRM team run loyalty campaigns. A/B testing capabilities are also a must-have, while machine learning (a.k.a Loyalty AI) is a rare but worthwhile feature.

At Antavo, we’ve designed our user interface with marketers and CRM teams in mind, so they can manage and customize the loyalty campaigns without the help of the IT department.

At Antavo, we’ve designed our user interface with marketers and CRM teams in mind, so they can manage and customize the loyalty campaigns without the help of the IT department.

Step 3: Dive Deep Into Integrations

A loyalty program can offer you the world but it’s not worth much unless it seamlessly integrates with your marketing automation, ecommerce and CRM platforms. This involves a lengthy discussion between the CTOs of your company and the loyalty program provider, however.

At this point, you can determine the following: 

  • Does the loyalty program provider have omnichannel capabilities, such as mobile passes or POS support?
  • Does the platform integrate with any BI or reporting tools, like PowerBI or Tableau?
  • Does the service feature integrations with review sites, like Trustpilot?

Antavo’s Loyalty Management Platform offers a variety of integrations, and we frequently host webinars with our partners to showcase how our products enhance each other’s performance.

Step 4: Check the Security Strength & Data Protection 

A loyalty program generates a large amount of customer information — especially if you’re using Gamified Profiling. For this reason, it’s crucial to ensure that your data is safe as early in the decision-making process as possible. The questions you should be asking are:

  • Who is the data owner? The loyalty program provider or me, the client?
  • Is the loyalty program GDPR-compliant
  • Is the data hosted in a secure environment?
  • How does the data backup process look like? 
  • Is there any fraud protection?
At Antavo, we have taken appropriate technical and organizational measures to protect your data so that only authorized persons have access to it. Antavo uses technical security systems, such as firewalls, encryption technologies, passwords, and antivirus software, to prevent the unauthorized use of your data.

At Antavo, we have taken appropriate technical and organizational measures to protect your data so that only authorized persons have access to it. Antavo uses technical security systems, such as firewalls, encryption technologies, passwords, and antivirus software, to prevent the unauthorized use of your data.

Step 5: Inquire About Account Management & Client Support

A loyalty program provider that’s worthy of your time should offer quality customer support, not just the platform itself. This might come as consultancy or direct support from the management team. 

Speaking of, account managers are an absolute necessity. They are your first point of contact after launch, providing reports and program overviews, as well as updates about new features of the loyalty platform.

In this video, Andrea Fejer, Antavo’s Senior Account Manager, tells you about the three most important things an Account Manager does at Antavo to ensure that your loyalty program is a success.

Last Step: Ask About Pricing

Using a loyalty programs software usually involves a monthly or annual subscription fee. What the final number is based on is up to the loyalty program provider, though. Sometimes the amount is determined by the features the client uses. In other cases, companies charge for the number of active loyalty members you have — so the program grows alongside your business. 

Other important aspects to consider include implementation or setup fees (and the corresponding timeline for the launch), as well as predicted ROI. Pro tip: don’t let your common sense be swayed by the promise of high profits fast: a prudent choice is based on many elements, not just ROI.

Antavo’s offers a flexible approach to pricing, as customers can choose between plans that are geared towards in-store customer retention, or simply roll with the ecommerce loyalty program. Alternatively, each solution is available as a package in the Loyalty 360 Solution.

Antavo’s offers a flexible approach to pricing, as customers can choose between plans that are geared towards in-store customer retention, or simply roll with the ecommerce loyalty program. Alternatively, each solution is available as a package in the Loyalty 360 Solution.

Prepare for the Next Phase

This marks the end of our tour for evaluating loyalty program providers. Make sure to download our worksheet, which reflects all the major categories we’ve touched upon. The worksheet already features the answers for Antavo, which doubles as an example of what kind of answers to look for with other providers.

As always, our resource section is full of educational content that I recommend checking out. You can learn about the detailed process of building a successful customer loyalty program or view our case studies for inspiration.

loyalty program providers

Andy Nemes
Andy Nemes
Andy is Head of Sales at Antavo, a real people person. Always ready to pick up the phone, he has helped many clients to find and implement the right loyalty solution that fits their business goals. He is a faithful family man, and likes to play indoor football in his free time.