Shopify · Apps

3 Leading Loyalty Program Apps for your Shopify Store

In this article, we will provide a comprehensive review of some of the most robust and multi-layered loyalty apps. By learning about their functions and features, with quick pro-tips here and there, you will have the opportunity to start turning customers into loyal clients with strong brand advocacy.

3 Leading Loyalty Program Apps for your Shopify Store hero image

Every brand aims at being loyal to its customers and at making its brand advocates feel truly appreciated. In e-commerce, loyalty programs turn out to be a highly effective and engaging method for achieving this.

The strategies behind these programs will bring your clients back through rewards, discounts, and many other thrilling incentives.

Thankfully, there are various tools in the Shopify App Store that are only one easy install away.

In this article, we will provide a comprehensive review of some of the most robust and multi-layered loyalty apps. By learning about their functions and features, with quick pro-tips here and there, you will have the opportunity to start turning customers into loyal clients with strong brand advocacy.

Table Of Contents

  • The Beauty and Power of Loyalty Programs

  • #1 App – Smile.io

  • #2 App – Yotpo (formerly Swell)

  • #3 App – Loyalty Lion

  • Conclusion 

The Beauty And Power Of Loyalty Programs

The world’s largest, yearly study about loyalty and engagement conducted by HubSpot found that over 55,000 customers are more likely to recommend brands with good loyalty programs. 

As an example for growth, you can see the statistics of Sephora’s loyalty platform: The programs are enjoyed by more than 30 million loyal members in 2021. On top of that, the memberships provided by loyalty campaigns make as much as 80% of their annual revenue from sales.

In case Sephora’s example did not manage to create an awe-inspiring feeling for loyalty programs in you, we would like to add the fact that  79% of consumers from an intercontinental research state that they are more likely to continuously engage with a brand and re-purchase from them if they offer loyalty campaigns.

Loyalty programs provide a stimulus that you can deliver to your audience.

This is exactly where the beauty of this marketing activity reveals – loyalty programs are a simple yet remarkably powerful tool for generating not only repeating purchasers but also devoted brand advocates. 

These strategies incentivize the client to be active and keep coming to your website, continuously.

Here are a few great tactics for rewarding your buyers:

  • earning points through a specified way

  • sharing site links and referrals

  • purchasing a set amount 

  • VIP levels with finer benefits as they increase

  • social media follows

  • leaving reviews on products

  • visiting a specific page, which would also increase SERP ranks

  • any other custom method that your program provides

Making your audience happy creates a pyramid of referrals, thus allowing your brand to grow through mouth-to-mouth recommendations. Loyalty campaigns are a big part of starting your wave of delighted, returning clients. 

The start of it all is likely, to begin with, a loyalty program.

The best part of this new age of e-commerce is that loyalty programs can be easily implemented and applied to your store through installing the apps of such platform providers.

In the next part, by revealing the strengths and weaknesses and assessing the pros and the cons, we will compare 3 of the best loyalty program apps offered at the Shopify App Store.

Craft Berry Pro Tip:

It costs up to 7x times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an old one. Therefore, building your branded loyalty program through one of the apps listed below would be a splendid assist.

Let’s see what each of them has to offer. 

1. Smile.io

4.7 / 5 from 4200+ Shopify reviews

Best choice for: New merchants who want to implement a loyalty app within their store

“Reward your customers, make them smile” – these are the words you will hear on their introduction video and no other tagline could better describe this app – the determination to make your customers smile with rewards.

INITIAL THOUGHTS

The welcome procedure is quick and gets you rolling in no time. The free features offer you a simpler platform, which still gets the job done perfectly.

After you set up your profile, you will have access to two campaigns – points and referrals (both considered to be highly popular and effective). 

You can customize it as you wish, without having to pay, through color changes, placement alterations, and visibility on different devices.

Even their branding is inserted in a way that doesn’t make it intrusive and customers could easily miss it.

Everything that Smile.io offers is immediately on display, providing you easy access to its gadgets.

UNIQUE PARTS

  • Complete Free Plan

You receive every main aspect of a loyalty program, leaving out the extras and special appliances to the higher plans. Analytics and ready-to-use email templates are just a few tools you get for free!

  • Automatic Customer Emails

A wonderful way to keep your customers and clients engaged. An automatic email is sent out when someone gets rewarded. On a client’s birthday, they could receive a bonus reward such as discounts or points, which greatly improves their customer experience.

  • 30+ Integrations

You can easily integrate Smile.io with various other apps, like ESPs for additional personalization, further improving your loyalty program.

  • Fluent Usability

The straightforward usage of the platform allows you to be proficient. The app has a clean interface, which won’t get you tangled up.

CUSTOMER SUPPORT

As it is an important and weighty part of our review articles, we always reach the support team and check how responsive and helpful it is. 

We contacted their team with an urgent request. The answer was speedy and everything concluded within the day, even without having an offer for 24/7 assistance on any plan.

The agent we spoke with was kind and welcoming. The team of Smile.io accepted our inquiry and granted us access to the full force of the app (the highest plan), with all of its components, so we could test it out in its entirety.

Alongside the kind support team, Smile.io provides a helpful resource center, a blog, and many beneficial articles and documents. 

PROS AND CONS

Pros

  • Easy-to-use interface

  • Automatic, editable customer emails

  • Scarce Smile.io branding on the Free plan

Cons

  • No customer support around-the-clock

  • Higher plans do not offer great value, compared to their prices

REVIEWS AND TESTIMONIALS

Thousands of stores use the loyalty program of Smile.io and naturally, there are thousands of reviews and testimonials about the app.

Large corporations chose this tool for their customer campaigns and below you can read some of their testimonials.

Samantha Donohue from Evy’s Tree says – “Our repeat customer rate has grown every year with Smile and has allowed us to build a true brand community!” and “Customer engagement has improved as well as a 58% growth in repeat customers!”

Samantha Donohue

Evy’s Tree

Quote Source

Tyler Handley from InkBox states – “In the first month after we launched our Inkfam program, we saw an 80% increase in repeat purchases and issued over 3 million points to our 70k loyalty members.”

Tyler Handley

InkBox

Quote Source

More brand names that employ Smile.io include – SteelSeries, RunGum, Topps, Polaroid Originals and these are just a few of the armada of clients.

SUMMARY AND PRICING

Whichever plan you start with, Smile.io will make it easy to set up. Your customers will get intrigued with an appealing design from the app.

Their free plan will grant you all the fundamentals of a loyalty program.

Smile.io’s starter plan will cost you $49/month, allowing you to fully customize everything.

Moving up to their “Growth” plan, which will unlock the “Nudges” tool (on-site pop-ups). With a price of $199/month, this plan will also give you access to the advanced analytics dashboard.

Their two biggest plans “Pro” and “Enterprise” provide you with almost the same tools between them, like a VIP loyalty program. Nonetheless, their price difference is a whopping $401/month.

ABOUT THE BRAND AND THE APP

Being the most downloaded loyalty program app from the Shopify App Store leaves Smile.io with a good reputation.

Smile.io supports 50,000+ brands and implements in the arsenal of many international enterprises. The app engages a staggering 100 million participating clients and customers.

It has been on the market for over a decade and the team keeps on growing all around the world, winning prizes every year.

Their office is based in Canada, but the employees are scattered across the continents, providing you with a multinational platform and support.

2. Yotpo (Formerly Swell)

4.7 / 5 from 2400+ Shopify reviews

Best choice for: Store owners who want an app with more features and have experience with loyalty programs

Yotpo is one of the most premium-looking platforms for your loyalty programs.

Numerous fast-growing brands use the loyalty campaigns provided by this app to achieve their first and repetitive engagements.

With 2000+ reviews on the Shopify App Store, this next app on the list is a prime choice with impressive features and traits.

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Right from the start, Yotpo welcomes you with an excellent setup of the program.

You feel the absolute control that you have over most aspects of your loyalty program.

You could freely edit percentages and values or create custom messages for your clients, depending on the program they initiated.

You flow through the introduction and initialization with easy-to-understand instructions.

The platform is enriched with features and tools (e.g. exhaustive performance analytics). 

All fancy opportunities that Yotpo provides might be a little overwhelming at first, but all the more is usually all the better.

Most tools listed in the next part are included by Yotpo in their free plan so keep on reading to gain a wider perspective about the app.

UNIQUE PARTS

  • Premium Look and Feel

It’s important for apps to give you a sense of a high-quality platform and service. Yotpo covers this part flawlessly, thus further increasing your optimizations to better performance, just by using a good-looking visage.

  • Exceptional Control Over Features

It’s not as straightforward as some other loyalty program providers, because Yotpo sets a higher bar when it comes to free customizations. Versatility is in full force right after installation.

  • Separate Performance Analytics

A great feature, offering a separate and more thorough look of your performance, guiding you to better execution of your campaigns.

  • Worthwhile Scalability

Yotpo is completely ready for your enterprise. Higher plans supply you with quarterly appointments, consulting, custom tasks by their developers, paid membership, and VIP programs.

  • 17+ Loyalty Campaigns

More than enough loyalty programs, providing you flexibility and different paths to go along. You start strong with 14 campaigns available on the free plan.

CUSTOMER SUPPORT

The customer support team is ready for your questions and difficulties around the clock.

We got an answer and a detailed explanation to our inquiry within a minute, entirely elucidating the matter and dispatching us to further information. They were also kind enough to provide us with insights on how it would be best to proceed.

You could always search for your solution throughout their help center, sporting well over 100 topics.

PROS AND CONS

Pros

  • Thorough and easy-to-understand customizations

  • Rich platform, allowing many adjustments

  • A 24/7 support team

Cons

  • Surcharge for offline sales

  • Probably not the best option for startup brands as it is quite complex 

REVIEWS AND TESTIMONIALS

Yotpo and its loyalty program platform have no shortage of good reviews and testimonials.

The CEO of Steve Madden wrote in his testimonial – “Yotpo’s agile and single-platform approach improves our ability to provide a unified customer experience, not just for Steve Madden but across all our brands.”.

Steve Madden

CEO of Steve Madden

Quote Source

The President of Steve Madden, Jeff Silverman appends to the above quote by saying – “I have an enormous amount of confidence in the partnership we have developed with Yotpo because of their firm devotion to service and innovative products that actually perform.”.

Jeff Silverman

President of Steve Madden

Quote Source

Yotpo’s platform has a myriad of huge clients like Bob’s Discount Furniture, Brooklinen, and Helly Hanson. All of which has left fine and respectable reviews.

SUMMARY AND PRICING

You could stand your ground with their free plan, which has the plenteous main package.

Starting multiple campaigns, provisioned by Yotpo, you will surely grab the customer's attention from at least one of them.

The free plan allows you up to 100 orders, free of charge, with countless campaigns and customizations. 

Once you go over the hundredth order, it will be a good idea to transfer to their “Silver” plan. Standing at $29/month, this package provides you with even further customizations, tweaks, and brilliant campaign action which allows you to reward your Instagram followers.

Next on the ladder is their “Gold” plan, which has a bigger jump surrounding the cost with a $249 price tag. This opens up the possibilities for custom actions within your app and for priority support.

Their endgame plans are “Platinum” and “Enterprise”. These two are aimed at big companies with thousands of clients. 

The ultimate plans do not offer a monthly subscription, rather a cost starting at $8400 annually. This will open the doors to their “Paid membership” campaign, which is an absolute loyalty program. Further, you will receive consulting and onboard support, “VIP tiers” for your clients, advanced campaign options where you could reward your customers through practically any way you can imagine and not just with points. The Yotpo team will create a “case-by-case basis” development for your loyalty platform as well.

With Yotpo, scalability won’t be an issue when it comes to loyalty programs. This pioneering app and the team behind it deserve the good reviews they receive.

ABOUT THE APP AND BRAND

Over 10 years inside the scene of store apps and store building, Yotpo (previously known as Swell) and its team provide strong, skilled expertise for your store.

The loyalty program app has been cherished in the Shopify App Store for years and continues to be.

International brands that could back up Yotpo’s tools include GoPro, MVMT, Steve Madden, and GymShark.

Craft Berry Pro Tip:

A customer is 4 times more likely to purchase from you when referred by a friend. A loyalty program by one of these apps will ensure you gather a lot of referrals from your customers.

3. Loyalty Lion

4.6 / 5 from 400+ Shopify reviews

Best choice for: Merchants who want a platform with a simple interface and abundant features

A loyalty program app that flies by under the view of a lot of people is Loyalty Lion.

In its simplicity, we found easy-to-access tools that could give you an edge and uniqueness in your own loyalty program.

Keep on reading to find out why we think Loyalty Lion deserves a top spot throughout its niche (and is already headed there).

INITIAL THOUGHTS

The setup was quite quick and easy to understand without any customizations. 

Loyalty Lion uses the wording “rules” instead of “actions”, but the point is still the same – means by which your customers can rack up points. All the rules are displayed in the same, neatly ordered space in which your rewards/points are gathered. 

The dashboard is rather eccentric, but nevertheless, still easy to navigate. One could quickly coordinate well within the platform, just because everything is easily reachable. The speed of the app installed in your Shopify store is impressive which greatly improves users’ experience with the program.

Craft Berry Pro Tip:

Take a look at our thorough Speed Optimization article and learn how to optimize the speed of your Shopify store, boost conversions and reduce your customer bounce rate.

We were greeted with a pop-up a minute in, asking us to take a survey. Usually, we would think that this is not cool, but this research contributes to your store by giving you data on how you compare to others in your market, something you might not have known previously. So we could let this survey slide.

The app provided by Loyalty Lion is an all-around ideal solution for your loyalty program.

It provides you with the ability to enhance the platform, without jumping to a huge monthly bill, but instead, acquire the tools that you would actually use one by one.

During our testing phase, Loyalty Lion’s easiness gave us a wider view of its potential scope and it showed us some unique features, which we go through in our next section.

UNIQUE PARTS

  • “Point slider” Feature

Though only available to Shopify Plus merchants, the points slider at checkout allows your clients to only spend a specified amount of points. This attests to the people who have already purchased from you, who can keep some of their points and come back for future shopping!

  • A Tab for Your Requests

An excellent incentive that allows you to request a feature you would like to have in the next update. The tab is embedded inside the app’s platform, so you don’t have to leave your workspace.

  • Insightful Help Centre

Loyalty Lion really shines with their affluent blog and general help center. The articles for the app are explained fully and there is a myriad of information, facts, and crucial tips on loyalty programs.

  • Designed for Shopify Plus Merchants

If your brand is already an established enterprise, choosing Loyalty Lion wouldn’t be a wrong call. You can integrate your loyalty program with every Shopify Plus feature and bring your customization to the next level. Their clients could testify to this by looking at how Loyalty Lion helped them grow.

  • Easy-to-access and Explained “Approval period” of Different Actions

This feature is unique in Loyalty Lion by the fact that it is explained so simply. You can find it in every new rule that allows this option and set it up to your liking.

CUSTOMER SUPPORT

You could chat with an agent about any question or difficulty you might face, right within the app.

The support team was quick and handled our inquiry – firmly and kindly. Even without the offer of round-the-clock assistance, you can swiftly get help through their live chat.

Loyalty Lion makes it important for themselves to listen to their users through their “Request a feature”! In there, you can add your demand for future elements that you would like to see in your loyalty program.

Other clients can then vote on your proposition and the team will review and potentially fulfill your request.

PROS AND CONS

Pros

  • Easy-to-navigate and responsive platform

  • The team listens to and constantly reviews merchants requested features demands

  • Choosing preferred enhancements, instead of paying for a fixed monthly plan

Cons

  • No integrations on the free package

  • Limited without committing to a plan or adding enhancements

REVIEWS AND TESTIMONIALS

Many who have found the treasures of Loyalty Lion are left happy and now prosper.

The swimwear brand Cupshe got their repeat purchase rate higher by 50% after setting up their loyalty program.

The brand Overtone achieved a 20% increase in customer spending by their loyalty program members and saw a 17% of annual revenue increase.

The widely known company TheChive / The Chivery got their annual revenue to rise by 51% by using Loyalty Lion’s customer campaign app!

You can read the reviews and case studies of Loyalty Lion’s app, but hours won’t be enough to go through the testimonials and critiques.

SUMMARY AND PRICING

Loyalty Lion is a solid choice for your loyalty programs, backed by a skilled team.

Although their free plan won’t offer you much flexibility, you can simply add on the features you would like to use for a small monthly fee, starting from as low as $5, instead of jumping to a much-higher-priced plan.

Their lowest-ranked package Small businesses give you access to all of their core loyalty program elements. The plan starts at $159/month.

Focused on bringing you a higher quality experience, the platform’s doors open really wide within their “Classic” bundle, with a $399/month price tag. ESP integrations and custom ruling are but a few aspects that you will be able to manage.

Their “Advanced” and “Plus” plans are purely aimed towards Shopify Plus merchants. With costs of $699/month and $1500 respectively, these packages will induce Loyalty Lion’s team as your partner. The platform’s full power and functionality will be at your fingertips with complete customization, senior onboarding management, and a Slack channel for direct communication.

ABOUT THE APP AND BRAND

Loyalty Lion started with a vision that surrounded itself with loyalty, which attracted the eyes of many big-named funders. 

The brand became the first Shopify Plus technology partner in 2014 and has grown within the structure of many big e-commerce players like TheChive and Dr. Axe.

Craft Berry Pro Tip:

A buyer who enrolls in a loyalty program, packs a basket size 40% larger! Choosing one of these apps for the experience of your customers and the growth of your business will be nothing short of essential.

Conclusion 

Showing customers and clients your loyalty encourage them to show advocacy to your brand.

Through loyalty programs, you form a feeling of a partnership between your brand and the customers.

Smile.io is your best choice if you are just starting out. Its simplicity will guide you well in learning about loyalty programs and how they perform in your store.

Loyalty Lion is the sweet spot between the three, with affordable scalability and a team of great experience.

With Yotpo, you will get the most out of a loyalty program app, with numerous customizations and abundant management. 

Starting with any of the listed apps above will certainly become a vital part of your business strategy. A loyalty campaign will start a ripple of referrals and the overall growth of your brand.

If you experience difficulties with the download and installation of your app of choice, you can always reach out. We promise we will do our best to gladly assist you.

Last updated: July 2021