Loyalty Program Replatforming: How to Evolve From Legacy Tech

Legacy loyalty tech is getting outdated. Instead of patching old systems, businesses should consider loyalty program replatforming.

Antavo’s cover for its article about loyalty program replatforming

In this day and age, running a loyalty program on an off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all loyalty technology is like using a rotary phone. Yes, you can still technically make calls, but switching to a smartphone will unlock opportunities you’ve never dreamt about. This is the dilemma many program owners face. They are running a functional, yet clunky legacy technology in an era where newer, better alternatives are available. Unsure whether to commit? I’ll share several reasons why loyalty program replatforming is worth the leap of faith.

Looking for a deep dive on how to switch gears with your loyalty program tech? Then our joint webinar with Concord is just what you need! Check it out for expert insight on how to prepare and carry out the replatforming of your rewards program.

The Clock Is Ticking for Legacy Loyalty Technology

In the coming years, outdated technology will be the biggest barrier for brands wanting to innovate. After all, it doesn’t matter what creative reward campaigns you come up with if your platform can’t properly execute them. Even in 2019, a study pointed out that legacy tech is holding back 9 out of 10 businesses. This shows that legacy loyalty platforms can be a major barrier to innovation — and it was a finding from before the eCommerce hyperjump! 

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What is legacy loyalty technology?
Any loyalty program provider or technology that doesn’t fulfill business needs anymore is considered legacy technology. Generally, this technology is either not modern enough to work in conjunction with pioneer technologies (e.g. eCommerce, CRM, CDP) or lacks the capabilities required to drive value for the business. Additionally, loyalty technology can also be considered ‘legacy’ if it’s unable to support the marketing team’s activities without requiring help from the IT team.

7 Signs That You Are Running a Legacy Loyalty Platform 

  1. Your marketing team encounters tech barriers when experimenting with new features
    Adding omnichannel or gamification features is a challenge in an environment that wasn’t designed for them. 
  2. Your current program fails to deliver positive ROI
    The program may be underperforming because your platform can only support outdated loyalty program types. 
  3. Lack of flexibility or user-friendliness
    It’s frustrating having to request extra coding when you only want to launch a triple-point campaign instead of a double-point one. 
  4. Platform navigation and configuration are complex
    Even if your team can perform all the necessary tasks, if the process is long and cumbersome, they will waste valuable time and manpower.
  5. Lengthy speed-to-market timelines for new initiatives
    A hallmark of legacy technology is that no matter how simple a project is, execution always takes longer than anticipated, due to roadblocks. 
  6. Change management is costly or needs workarounds
    Think about it: needing IT help to deal with basic issues means your organization has to hire and dedicate IT employees to always be on standby.
  7. You can’t expand to new territories because the tech is holding you back
    With an outdated solution, you cannot do things like tying in POS data from your stores, because the existing framework can’t handle it.
Headshot of Kate Marxkors, Manager, Decision Science at Concord

You want to make sure that your loyalty program fits within the tech stack your larger business has and that it’s prepared for where technology, in general, is currently heading. We are hearing a lot about generative AI, and its potential for testing copy and content for your offers. So you want to make sure that you have a platform that supports new technologies.

Kate Marxkors

Manager, Decision Science at Concord

The Business Benefits of Replatforming to a Best-In-Class Loyalty Platform

Each year, more and more companies seek to escape their limited platform capabilities by switching to a best-in-class SaaS loyalty solution. 

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What is best-in-class technology?
Also known as best-of-breed, best-in-class platforms enable marketers and users to make effortless changes. In the case of a loyalty platform, they require minimal or literally zero IT help to run ad-hoc campaigns or contests and integrate with a wide range of technologies (such as sport tracker apps). Plus, best-in-class technology is constantly enhanced with new modules and capabilities that follow market trends, enabling program owners to be pioneers, unlike its competitors.

In my experience, there are four reasons why it’s worth upgrading to a best-in-class loyalty platform:

  • Flexibility: You can mold a modular loyalty technology platform to fit any need. Plus, you can use it to drive a wide range of KPIs, from increased engagement or communication to community building and revenue generation.
  • Faster moves: User-friendly UI will make it much easier for marketers and program managers to implement their ideas. This significantly shortens the time to market for new campaigns.
  • Better programs: More sophisticated technology gives organizations more room for experimentation and A/B testing. Therefore, your loyalty program can cast a wider net on key customer segments. 
  • Higher ROI: Thanks to better integration and access to higher-quality raw data, you can create more accurate reporting. As a result, you’ll have clear visibility of the program’s performance and a clearer view of ROI
Headshot of Bethany Hartley, VP of Analytics at Concord

When it comes to loyalty technology replatforming, what we are always recommending is ‘experimenting into’ the major changes. If you are considering changing a legacy feature, testing into that can be a great way to make sure you don’t make a misstep. As part of this, you should also rely on the great data you have from your customer care center. Because when you want to change something, your most loyal customers will let you know what they think about it.

Bethany Hartley

VP of Analytics at Concord

The 2 Types of Replatforming You Should Know About

Let’s say you are considering replatforming your loyalty program by switching to a best-in-class platform. The next step is to decide the scope of the change. In practice, there are two approaches to loyalty program replatforming.

1. Rehosting – A quick rollout with minimal changes

    If you are short on time or generally satisfied with the current state of your reward program, then just do a quick rollout. In this case, you switch the tech stacks behind the scenes, but everything remains the same from your customer’s perspective. 

    This approach requires very few business decisions and marketing resources on your end. The launch tends to be smoother and safer, as there are fewer complications. Still, keep in mind that with rehosting, you won’t change anything on the outside, and your ROI won’t improve much either. Still, you can always plan a phase two rollout later down the line, fully utilizing your new technology.

    Global Poin Indonesia sought to deliver a more engaging experience for members of its GetPlus program by switching to a more flexible loyalty technology platform that could handle over 500 partner offers. To do so, they partnered with Antavo. Find out more in our case study

      2. Full reboot – A lengthier rollout for a better-performing program

      On the other hand, if you want to improve how your loyalty program works, change some aspects, or revamp it completely, you need a full reboot. This means you’ll introduce new features, and capabilities or even a different program logic alongside your technology. Expect a longer, resource and tech-heavy process that requires both smaller and bigger business decisions, involving your CFO, CTO and CMO. 

      Still, this is the best option if you wish to improve the experience for both customers and your management staff. The noticeable changes also present an opportunity to launch marketing campaigns and attract new members —  or reactivate existing ones.  

      KFC UK & Ireland chose to power its revamped loyalty program concept with Antavo’s technology, introducing an arcade-style minigame that members can play to win freebies. As a result, the company saw a 53% increase in KFC app downloads. See what else they acheived in our case study.

      The case study download banner for Antavo’s KFC case study.

      Best Practices for Seamless and Painless Reward Program Replatforming

      The biggest success factor in any revamp or replatforming project is you. No matter how good the technology is, or how experienced your chosen vendor is, if you come unprepared, the whole project will drag on. So when the time comes, make sure to keep in mind these actionable insights:

      Run an RFP for loyalty program platforms

      There’s no better way to identify the perfect loyalty program vendor than running a Request for Proposal (RFP). Preparing for an RFP helps you better understand your current technology and what your requirements should be for the new one.  

      Ensure proper documentation

      It’s much easier to handle replatforming with proper use case documentation. After all, you don’t want to use your configuration settings to learn how your program works, right? So make sure to draw user journeys with diagrams, document the data flows between systems, and make notes on the underlying loyalty logic.  

      Build a migration plan

      Never underestimate the importance of a smooth migration. If you wish to avoid unforeseen pitfalls, come up with potential edge cases, have a clear list of what the changes would affect, and compose a team of experts who will oversee the project. 

      Prepare your communication plan

      If you decide to phase into a new platform by also changing how the program works, make sure you let members know in advance. You might also need to decide whether customers will experience a totally fresh start, or whether their points or benefits will be carried over. 

      CPG loyalty programs example: Yeo Valley Yeokens. 
      UK’s no. 1 organic dairy brand, Yeo Valley Organic, chose to replatform its loyalty program using Antavo’s technology. Behind the scenes, new integrations were set up to enable behavior and segmentation-driven communications.

      A New Chapter Awaits in Your Loyalty Program

      Loyalty program replatforming is a serious commitment, but when done right, it can completely turn your customer retention strategy around. Whether you prefer a quick rollout or a lengthier, more thorough reboot, make sure you have the time, strategy and manpower to pull through!

      Interested in the technology aspect of replatforming? We are more than happy to discuss your concept and see how Antavo’s Enterprise Loyalty Cloud can turn it into a reality! Get in touch with us by booking a demo or — even better – by sending us an RFP

      And don’t forget to check out our joint webinar with Concord for expert insight on how to prepare for and handle reward program replatforming.

      Headshot of Timi Garai Senior Business Analyst at Antavo

      Timi Garai

      Timi is a Senior Business Analyst at Antavo. She has helped numerous eCommerce, physical retailers and B2C brands strengthen customer loyalty, and significantly increase annual revenue. Timi is also the head organizer of one of the largest anime conventions in Europe.

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