Update: This post was updated 4/27/2017 to add Loopy Loyalty and Loyverse POS and remove Preferred Patron
“There’s only one thing I value in this world, Stephen, and that’s loyalty. And without it, you are nothing.”
I never thought I’d end up quoting George Clooney’s “The Ides of March.” But Internet marketers know it rings true, that loyalty is just as important in the world of online marketing as Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character makes it sound.
If you don’t have customer loyalty, you don’t have customers—at least, not for long.
Even the enduring love of your customers has a price. Keeping your customers coming back for more requires time and energy—and in many cases, a deep pocketbook. Fortunately we’ve taken the time to digup all the up-to-date open source and free customer loyalty software solutions out there so you don’t have to.
One of the earliest and most common iterations of a customer loyalty program for brick-and-mortar businesses are those “12 stamps and you get a free sandwich” cards. Loopy Loyalty takes that card and puts it on customers’ phones.
- Analytics dashboard shows who has the card, who uses it, and when they use it most
- Tracks the effectiveness of your loyalty programs
- Card lives in their mobile wallet, meaning there’s no app for customers to download
- Loopy Loyalty doesn’t track customer conversations or integrate with any customer service software or CRM software.
Loopy Loyalty is a free and easy way for SMB brick-and-mortar businesses to pilot a customer loyalty program.
2. Loyverse POS
Loyverse is a free POS with built-in customer loyalty functionality and inventory management. You don’t need to buy any new hardware to use Loyverse; it works on your smartphone or tablet. It also has some CRM and analytics functionality.
- Capterra reviewers love how easy it is to use and the online support.
- Customers must install the Loyalty Ocean App to participate in your loyalty program
If you don’t have a POS set up, or are unhappy with yours, Loyverse POS is a great free POS with customer loyalty functionality.
Free Trial Options
SailPlay Loyalty is one software solution that hits all of the items on our checklist: a free trial, a member portal, membership management, and a gift card system—just about everything you could hope for.
- Easily-created gift cards work for retail as well as for online shops
- Reference tracking is intuitive and easy to navigate
- Discount management is smoothly incorporated with other features, such as customer activity reporting
- Online support and business hour support available
- Comprehensive training, including documentation, live online, and “in person”
- Only the trial is free
By now you’ve probably surmised that we have a lot of good things to say about SailPlay Loyalty. We put it near the top of the list because it belongs there. And with a free trial to boot, there’s no excuse not to give it a try and see if it doesn’t boost the quality of your customer loyalty management.
The Loyalty Box makes the list because it’s pretty, it’s easy to use, and it’s simple enough to use as starter software yet comprehensive enough to keep. Think of it like the puppy you got for Christmas that was a great novelty at first, but ultimately grew up to become your best friend. And like a new puppy, The Loyalty Box is easy to work with.
- Friendly customer service (both online and via phone during normal business hours) is key for anyone new to customer loyalty
- Reasonable pricing once you get past the free trial, at just $50 a month per store
- Comprehensiveness rivals SailPlay, except for one small area…
- Referral tracking leaves much to be desired—that is, to say, the referral tracking is basically nonexistent.
If it didn’t come up short on just one issue—the referral tracking—there would be an argument that this loyalty management software should be at the top of the list. With everything else, from a gift card system to a loyalty card system to a member portal to customer activity reporting, it’s a great option.
Following in the tradition of whimsically-titled software solutions, Walmoo sounds like a solution for the modern web marketer. But does it have the quality to back it up?
- Easy to integrate with retail-style purchases
- Free version is limited, but the starting price is reasonable and depends on unique monthly visitors
- Customer account management and activity reporting is easy to access and navigate
- Better for smaller company; there are no corporate memberships to be found
- No referral tracking or effective membership management
Walmoo is a perfectly serviceable solution if you’re a small company that wants to get started without breaking the bank. But the lack of comprehensive features and round-the-clock customer service will frustrate the larger companies in need of something a little more capable.
LoyaltyTrac is somewhat difficult to find online—you’ll often find yourself searching through their parent company, Performance Loyalty—but once you break through the marketing haze you’ll find satisfying, secure software with a no-risk trial.
- Good, responsive customer service
- High-quality training and documentation makes it easy to manage for beginners
- System automation is easy to manage and maintain
- The reports can be slow to load for some users.
- Fees. If you’re not using the trial, the ongoing fees can be as much as $499 and up.
The biggest benefit to LoyaltyTrac is that it integrates with most retail and restaurant point of sale systems (POS) and dealership management systems (DMS).
Open Source Options
Although the market of open source customer loyalty software is slim, that doesn’t reflect poorly on Yotpo—only its name does. But if you can get past that, you’ll find an effective and high-quality solution that rivals just about anything out there.
- Plenty of training and documentation, including webinars, live online training, and in-person training
- Good pricing, at just $25/month per user, and there’s a free version
- Quick “five minute” install makes it ideal for anyone not familiar with customer loyalty programs
- Customer support leaves something to be desired, with only basic “business hours” support available
- The emphasis on customer reviews leaves out many other important internal customer loyalty management features such as effective reference tracking
Yotpo is the big fish in the small pond of customer loyalty software open source solutions, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook any free/freemium options and skip straight to it.
If Yotpo is the big fish in a small pond, where does that leave the other open source customer loyalty programs? As you might imagine, there’s not a whole lot to be found out there. That we discovered Bungee at all is impressive, but online reviews of the software have been mixed.
- Customer service is well-reviewed and thorough, with quick response times leading the charge
- Easy to integrate Bungee with your current internal systems
- Fair pricing structure is favorable to smaller companies looking to compete with larger customer loyalty programs
- The emphasis on doing things Bungee’s way—creating a loyalty program website, for example—turns a lot of people off
You won’t find a lack of positive Bungee reviews online, but you’re safer going with Yotpo or a freemium option instead. It has the customer service to compensate for some weaknesses—such as creating a “Bungee loyalty program” instead of a loyalty program of your own—but even customer service can’t cancel out bad ideas.
When you select a free/freemium or open source option, look for comprehensive software—with customer referral tracking, gift card creation, and the works—and be leery of inferior programs that offer fewer options and ask for more money. Quality in customer loyalty is largely determined by how many options for customer retention the solution gives you; after all, even the customer loyalty programs need to earn customer loyalty—in this case, yours.
For a full selection of customer loyalty software, check out our directory, where you can sort by features.
Looking for Customer Loyalty software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Customer Loyalty software solutions.