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Digital loyalty programs, or virtual customer loyalty programs, aid businesses in keeping customers interested and committed for the long haul. In this post, we'll uncover the essentials of these programs, explore their benefits, and guide you through effective implementation strategies. This blog is your resource for understanding how digital loyalty programs can enhance customer relationships and drive business success. Let's dive in.


What Is A Digital Loyalty Program?

A digital customer loyalty program is an online marketing strategy used by companies to reward loyal customers and encourage them to take actions beneficial to the business. Whether it's through accumulating points for purchases, participating in online activities, or sharing brand experiences on social media, these loyalty reward programs are tailored to foster a deeper connection between the brand and its customers. 

By integrating seamlessly into the digital experience of consumers, digital loyalty programs not only enhance customer satisfaction but also drive repeat business and brand advocacy.  


What Are The Benefits Of A Digital Loyalty Program? 

Maximize the loyalty program benefits to your business by taking advantage of the digital landscape. Here are the most notable benefits that a digital loyalty program can bring to your business:

  • Higher Customer Lifetime Value (LTV): Loyalty reward programs aim to increase customer loyalty, which effectively increase the lifetime value of customers by incentivizing repeat purchases and fostering long-term relationships.
  • Increased Customer Engagement: These programs keep customers engaged with the brand through interactive and personalized digital experiences, leading to stronger brand loyalty.
  • Data-Driven Insights: Digital loyalty programs provide valuable data, offering insights into customer preferences and behaviors. This data helps businesses make informed decisions and tailor their offerings to better meet customer needs.
  • Ease of Promotion and Sharing: Customers can effortlessly share and promote your loyalty rewards program through digital channels, expanding your reach and attracting new customers through referrals.
  • Seamless Integration with Digital Marketing: These programs can be easily integrated with other digital marketing strategies, enhancing overall marketing efforts and creating a cohesive customer experience.
  • Real-Time Feedback and Adaptability: Digital loyalty programs allow for real-time customer feedback, enabling brands to quickly adapt and improve their offerings.
  • Enhanced Personalization: The personalization capabilities of digital loyalty programs, driven by customer data, lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, which are key factors in customer retention.


How To Run A Digital Loyalty Rewards Program 

There are three options for successfully running a digital rewards program for customers. Let's explore those here:

Manually build a program from scratch 

Building a digital loyalty rewards program manually involves creating your own system from the ground up. This method involves developing a custom system from scratch, demanding considerable investment in time, technical expertise, and a comprehensive understanding of your customer base. For instance, a major retail chain might decide to create a bespoke point-based system, integrating complex algorithms and databases to track purchases and rewards. However, even for these larger entities, this approach can become a long-term challenge, often more complex and resource-intensive than initially anticipated. It requires ongoing maintenance, updates, and potentially significant overhead costs, making it a less practical choice compared to leveraging specialized loyalty program platforms.

Use technology that is built-for-purpose 

Built-for-purpose customer loyalty software is specifically designed for running digital loyalty programs for companies with smaller marketing budgets (under 5 million in ARR). These platforms come with pre-built features like point tracking, reward management, automated messages, and customer analytics. Redeeming points is a breeze too, ensuring your customers enjoy their rewards without any hassle. What's more, brands like Friendbuy often integrate with the tools you already use, seamlessly fitting into your existing setup.

Partner with a leading solutions provider 

For businesses with a substantial customer base seeking to maximize their loyalty program's effectiveness, partnering with a leading solutions provider like Friendbuy is the ideal solution. This approach offers a comprehensive, white-glove experience, where expert assistance and advanced technology come together to create and manage a highly effective customer loyalty program. 

The team at Friendbuy offers specific, actionable guidance every step of the way, from designing customizable reward events to interpreting actionable analytics. 

loyalty program software widgets (1)

Friendbuy’s loyalty program software is not just about rewarding customers for valuable actions like purchases, referrals, app downloads, or program opt-ins; it's about enhancing the overall customer lifetime value through a meticulously crafted, personalized approach. 


How To Choose The Right Rewards For Your Customers

Crafting an effective loyalty program hinges on selecting rewards that resonate with your customers and align with your business model.

Here are a few different types of loyalty rewards:

  • Points-Based Rewards: Effective for businesses seeking to encourage repeat purchases. Customers earn points for every dollar spent, and also for actions like writing product reviews or social media engagement. This system is beneficial for brands aiming to boost engagement and turn customers into brand ambassadors.
  • Tiered Rewards: Utilizes gamification principles, ideal for businesses looking to incentivize existing customers to engage more with the brand. This approach is effective for both customer loyalty and referral programs, offering increasingly valuable rewards for continued engagement.

Points based member tiers

  • Surprise & Delight Rewards: Unexpected rewards given to customers as a thank you for their loyalty. These can include free items, exclusive discounts, or other perks that foster positive customer relationships without expecting anything in return.
  • Cash Back Rewards: Suitable for businesses where offering a percentage of a customer's total purchase value as cash back for future purchases can encourage repeat business and increase customer satisfaction.
  • Subscription-Based Rewards: Great for businesses with subscription models, offering perks like free shipping, discounts, or members-only content. The key is to provide value that exceeds the cost of the subscription.
  • Charitable Rewards: Aligns a business with customers' values by allowing them to donate their rewards to a charity of their choice. This is particularly effective for businesses with a focus on social responsibility.
  • Game-Based Rewards: Adds an element of fun to loyalty programs, rewarding customers for participating in games or contests. This approach is suitable for businesses aiming to enhance customer engagement.
  • Community-Based Rewards: Rewards customers for participating in a brand's community, such as writing reviews or sharing content. This approach is effective for brands looking to boost engagement and generate user-generated content.

Want more actionable advice? Take a look at our in-depth guide to choosing loyalty rewards for more details.


How To Promote Your Digital Loyalty Program 

With sophisticated customer loyalty software, like Friendbuy, you'll be able to automate a lot of your promotions through technology integrations. Here are some of the most effective ways to promote a customer loyalty program to your customers:

  • Email Campaigns: Utilize targeted email marketing to inform existing customers about your loyalty program. Highlight the benefits and rewards to encourage sign-ups. Send out quarterly loyalty program emails to keep customers engaged. (See how Friendbuy integrates with Klaviyo.)
  • Text Messages: Send personalized SMS messages to customers, offering them a quick and convenient way to join and engage with your loyalty program. (See how Friendbuy integrates with Attentive.)


  • Website Banners: Place eye-catching banners on your website, especially on the homepage, to grab visitors' attention and direct them to your loyalty program.
  • Product Reviews: Encourage customers to leave product reviews by offering loyalty points or rewards for their feedback. Integrating a review request with your loyalty program can turn a one-time buyer into a repeat customer and a vocal advocate for your brand. See how Friendbuy integrates with Delighted Okendo, and Yotpo.
  • Social Media Promotion: Leverage your social media platforms to spread the word about your loyalty program. Create engaging posts and stories to highlight the perks and rewards.
  • Influencer Partnerships: Collaborate with influencers and brand ambassadors who can authentically promote your loyalty program to their followers, expanding your reach.
  • In-App Notifications: If you have a mobile app, use push notifications to alert users about your loyalty campaigns, latest offers, and how to redeem rewards.
  • Loyalty Program Landing Page: Create a dedicated loyalty program landing page on your website with detailed information about your loyalty program, making it easy for interested visitors to learn more and sign up.
  • Partnerships with Complementary Brands: Partner with other brands to cross-promote your loyalty programs, reaching a wider and potentially new audience.
  • Special Launch Offers: Create special offers, like a free trial, or extra rewards for early sign-ups to generate initial excitement and participation.
  • Interactive Content: Use quizzes, polls, and interactive content on your digital platforms to engage users and subtly promote your loyalty program.


How to Measure the Success of Digital Loyalty Programs

Measuring the success of digital loyalty programs is important to understand their impact and effectiveness. To effectively gauge the success of digital loyalty programs, consider tracking the following key metrics:

  • Enrollment Rate: This KPI measures how many customers sign up for your loyalty program, reflecting its attractiveness and conversion rate. Factors influencing enrollment include the clarity of benefits, brand trust, and ease of signing up.
  • One-and-Done Rate: This rate indicates how often customers engage with the loyalty program only once and then become inactive. A high one-and-done rate suggests issues within the program that need addressing.
  • Active Rate: This measures the percentage of active customers in your loyalty program and provides insight into the program's overall engagement level.
  • Redemption Participation: This tracks the number of users redeeming loyalty points and rewards, indicating the program's activity level and engagement.
  • Sentiment: Understanding customer sentiment towards the loyalty program is crucial. This can be measured through surveys and feedback, focusing on both quantitative and qualitative data.
  • Redemption Rate: This KPI measures the percentage of customers redeeming their loyalty incentives, indicating the level of engagement and value customers find in the program.
  • Tier Distribution: Analyzing the distribution of customers across different reward tiers can reveal how motivating and attainable these tiers are.
  • Member Growth: This looks at the increase in loyalty program members and the channels through which they join, helping to identify effective strategies for member acquisition.
  • Member Lift in Spend: This measures the direct impact of the loyalty program on customer spending, indicating its effectiveness in boosting sales.
  • Reward Redemption Rate: This tracks how frequently customers redeem the rewards offered, reflecting their engagement and interaction with your brand.
  • Churn Rate: Monitoring churn rate, or the percentage of customers leaving the program, is essential to understand how well the program retains customers.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): CLV measures the average amount a customer spends over their relationship with your brand, indicating the long-term value of customer retention.
  • Customer Retention Rate: This rate measures how well the loyalty program keeps customers over time, which is critical for long-term success.
  • Repeat Purchase Rate: This KPI tracks how many customers make repeat purchases, providing insight into the loyalty program's impact on customer buying behavior.

Learn moreHow To Maximize Success With These Loyalty Program KPIs


6 Examples Of Today’s Most Popular Digital Loyalty Programs 

Here are some of the most notable digital rewards programs that exist today:

1. Starbucks Rewards

Starbucks has one of the most successful digital loyalty programs. It allows customers to earn stars with every purchase, which can be redeemed for free drinks, food items, and more. The program also offers personalized offers and the convenience of ordering and paying through their mobile app.

starbucks program (1)

2. Sephora Beauty Insider

Sephora's program is a hit in the beauty industry, offering members exclusive rewards, discounts, and experiences. Members earn points for every purchase, which can be exchanged for a variety of beauty products. 

sephora redeemable points (1)

3. OLLY's Digital Loyalty Program

OLLY, a wellness brand, partnered with Friendbuy to revamp their loyalty program. They sought a platform specializing in loyalty and referral programs and found Friendbuy's rich integrations with leading martech solutions like Attentive to be a game-changer. This integration enabled OLLY to send triggered SMS messages to customers for key loyalty events, such as moving up a tier or referring a friend.

olly loyalty program landing page tiered rewards-min

The transition to Friendbuy was streamlined and strategic, focusing on aligning the loyalty program with OLLY's business goals and customer behaviors. The program was designed to be customer-centric, clearly communicating the benefits of different tiers to customers. 

Read the full case study: Why OLLY switched their loyalty program to Friendbuy

4. Sony Rewards

Sony offers a program where customers can earn points through various activities, including purchases and engaging with the brand's content. These points can be redeemed for Sony products, experiences, and more.

5. Saalt's Digital Loyalty Program

Saalt, known for its menstrual cups and period underwear, turned to Friendbuy to enhance their loyalty and referral programs. Previously, their program was rigid and ineffective in driving customer engagement and referrals. With Friendbuy, Saalt was able to customize their loyalty rewards, tailoring them to customer behaviors and purchase patterns. They implemented rewards for first-time purchases, customer engagement activities like quizzes, and joining email and SMS lists.

saalt loyalty program ways to earn

This strategic approach, facilitated by Friendbuy's integration with Klaviyo, significantly boosted Saalt's repeat purchase rates and customer engagement.

Read the full case study: How Saalt Skyrocketed Repeat Purchase Rate with Friendbuy

6. Target Circle

Target's loyalty program provides customers with personalized deals and discounts. Members earn rewards on every purchase and get access to special sales and offers.



Digital loyalty programs are a powerful tool for enhancing customer relationships and driving business growth. We've explored the essentials of setting up these programs, from understanding their benefits to implementing effective promotion strategies. If you're looking to create a successful digital loyalty program, consider leveraging the expertise and technology of Friendbuy. 

Ready to get started? Contact Friendbuy for tailored word-of-mouth marketing solutions that align with your business goals and elevate your customer engagement.