App of the Day
Rewards and Loyalty January 9, 2014

Best Customer Loyalty Apps for Businesses

Although I’m sure you have the best customer service and products around, to your customers, doing business with you is not a reward unto itself. In 2013 your customers have more options for finding what they want purchase than at any other time since the invention of “99 cents”. With all of these choices your customers feel like they’re doing you a favor by giving you there business; and truth be told, aren’t they? It’s important for you as a business to show appreciation for your customers choosing you.

That’s why loyalty programs should be an integral part of your marketing plan. However, the “business card bowl” or the buy 10 get 1 free punch card will no longer due. The good news is there are several quality mobile apps to help you out with this. Keep in mind, these are apps that you control, I’m not talking about something like Foursquare orYelp! I’m talking about apps that were developed to enable you to engage your customer’s in entirely new ways to encourage their loyalty and frequency of purchases from your business. So without further ado, here are the best customer loyalty apps for currently available:

1. Perka Cost: $35/month

Perka is a smart loyalty program that helps small merchants and their regular customers support one another. Perka utilizes a proprietary data management system that uniquely gives customers the satisfaction of being recognized with increasing tiers of “perks,” and in turn provides real, meaningful intelligence to merchants. Simply put, the more business your customers give you, the greater value their perks have.

If you’re running a coffee shop, perk level one might garner your customer a free muffin, were as level 10 might get them a week of free coffee. All of this of course in completely up to you as you have the full power to customize your offering via Perka’s web portal. Whereas competing check-in programs reward customers for simply showing up, Perka provides an incentive for customers to actually spend money. This is an extremely cool app and one of my favorites, no doubt.

2. Belly Cost: $79/month (Free trial available)

Customers download the Belly mobile app or pick up a physical card with a QR code from the retailer, and then scan it on an in-store iPad — which Belly provides to merchants — to earn points each time they arrive. Merchants are able to access data about each customer who checks-in using the service, including email addresses that can be used for subsequent email marketing campaigns you can run through the Belly merchant dashboard. This app also integrates with Facebook and Twitter, plus comes with a dedicated account manager than can assist you in getting the most out of the service.

3. PunchCard Cost: Unknown

Punchcard is a local shopping app where your customers earn personalized rewards everywhere they shop. They simply shop at any local business, and once they complete their transaction, they submit a photo of their receipt with the Punchcard app and start a punch card for that business. As the customer adds up the punches for that business they earn free rewards. What I love about Punchcard is that no matter the size or type of your business, PunchCard is doing you a solid by rewarding your loyal customers with rewards like Starbucks gift cards. Think of it this way, the typical punchcard works great for retail and restaurants, but what about the auto mechanic or the dentist? That’s a tougher sell when it comes to customer loyalty cards. I don’t want a free cleaning after getting a cavity filled. I never want to see my dentist again after getting that kind of work done. But if I can get a Starbucks hookup, I’m in!

What I appreciate most about Punchcard is that they seem to “get” the importance of word of mouth and social media when building a customer loyalty strategy. When asked about the importance of social sharing, Punchcard CEO Andy Steur says:

“Consumers maintain a huge influence over the behaviors of their friends online. Businesses that embrace this fact can take advantage of word of mouth marketing by asking their customers to tweet about their loyalty programs or post about their experiences on Facebook. As an added incentive, businesses can offer to reward their customers with bonus points when they share their check-ins and reviews with friends through social media.”

4. Social Twist Cost: Unknown

It’s one thing to reward a customer for doing business with you, we can all agree that’s important. But what about rewarding your customers for being influencers on future business? If a customer loves your business and raves about you on Facebook or Twitter, which in turn brings you 10 new customers, shouldn’t that customer be rewarded for that action? I mean, come on, those posts on social media did way more for your bottom line than her purchase did. How do you reward that type of loyalty? Social Twist is the solution to that very problem. Social Twist monitors your businesses social influencers and helps you reward them accordingly. Social Twist works like this:

  • Social solution for couponing and in-store discounts
  • Use online strategies to drive offline sales
  • Make coupons the incentive for referrals, rather than give them away
  • Work with your retail partner to drive more in-store traffic and purchase
  • Geo-target specific markets and locations
  • Use the SocialTwist social referral platform that comes pre-packaged with workflow and analytics

Social Twist is the logical evolution of “Like Us On Facebook”. It provides a distinct and focused approach to rewarding the people that are advocates for your business. For a more in-depth breakdown of the Social Twist method see the image below.

5. Paywith Cost: Unknown (Free trial available)

PayWith is probably the most unique customer reward app on my list today. PayWith is not just interested in changing the way customers are rewarded for doing business with small to medium sized businesses, PayWith is trying to change the way customers shop entirely. PayWith works with MasterCard World Wide to bring an incredibly unique mobile marketing and mobile payments solution to the consumer market. PayWith produces what they call “mCards” a safe and secure mobile MasterCard with a predetermined limit using only the mobile phone. This development gives PayWith the ability to be transacted by over 32 million merchants with no new hardware and no new software required. When asked about PayWith’s place in the mobile payments market their founder had this to say:

“Ultimately, we ended up creating an entirely new type of mobile card (mCard) that has many of the benefits of credit and debit cards, with none of the security concerns or new technology hurdles” -David Strebinger, PayWith founder

These mCards cards can be created by merchants for their customers, by organizations for their members, by groups for their followers and even by individuals for their friends and family. The “mCard CREATOR” can track the purchases, spend, frequency, visits, marketing message, and communications that took place and led to the end consumer transacting in-store or online. I’m not sure that I’m totally sold on this idea of mCards quite yet, however I do applaud Strebinger and his team for being bold and changing the game.

6. SpotOn Cost: Unknown (Free trial available)

Let’s be honest, one of the biggest bummers about implementing a customer loyalty program for your business is that frankly punchcards are really pretty lame. It’s a pain in the next to manager. Your customers sometimes forget them. It’s really not a whole lot of fun. The founders of SpotOn recognize that and developed not only a tablet app for businesses to use to help track their customer loyalty, they throw in the tablet as well!

SpotOn offers a consumer-facing loyalty platform and a merchant-facing marketing machine. For consumers, SpotOn eliminates the need to carry multiple punch cards with a seamless digital check-in to access rewards and perks. Using SpotOn’s tablet-based dashboard, merchants now have an entirely new and simple way to connect with their customers using social, mobile and email marketing. With one click, merchants can learn more about their customers by viewing typical spend and campaign redemption activity. SpotOn was founded by serial entrepreneurs with decades of experience helping local businesses increase profits with technology solutions.

SpotOn has proven to be wildly popular with customers and businesses large and small. SpotOn’s tablet-based loyalty and marketing technology is already being used by more than 250 business chains in 800 locations, such as Dairy Queen, Chick-Fil-A, and L&L Hawaiian Barbecue restaurants. What I particularly love about SpotOn is that SpotOn provides users with a card that they can then scan at any member merchant to log their visit. When merchants sign up for the service, SpotOn installs a tablet at each location. Customers can then check in while they’re checking out, making it easy, fun, and convenient.

7. Key Ring

Many stores offer loyalty programs where you earn cash back or points for every purchase. To track your purchases you’re given a plastic card with your membership barcode and it has to be scanned before you buy. I love those programs, but I don’t enjoy having my key ring cluttered with a bunch of little tags. The Key Ring app stores your loyalty card information so that you can just scan your phone at check-out. Some merchants even load coupons. Simply sync the app to see what the latest deals are and if your cart contains something with a corresponding coupon, the discount is automatically deducted when your loyalty card is scanned. My local grocery store, Kroger, syncs coupons and it is a lifesaver. If you are offering a keyfab, push your customers to use Keyring. I promise they will thank you!


Loyalty deserves to be rewarded. As a business owner in the most competitive consumer age the world has ever seen, you need to do whatever it takes to make a first time customer a long term friend of your business. By signing up and using the apps I’ve shown you today, you’re taking big steps towards customer reward success. If you have questions or comments about customer reward strategies, email me at

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