I don't think I will ever be able to stress how important it is for companies to adapt to today's current climate. As we've stated before, the future of the loyalty program is digital. There are many reasons why we hold this to be true. For starters, consumers are 82% more likely to shop at stores and eat at restaurants who have loyalty programs. Also, upgrading to a digital loyalty program saves you the stress of incurring more cost from the renewal of punch cards and other items.

But the problem that a lot of business owners find themselves running into is which loyalty program to choose. Odds are, most small businesses don't have thousands of dollars to spend on web developers to create an entirely new digital program. But they also don't have the money to spend on ones that are already created. Because it can be tough to find one that is the perfect mix of inexpensive but quality, I've gathered a mini list of the three best digital loyalty programs in 2019.

Each of these is unique in their own way and all come at different price points. It's up to you to decide what fits in your budget and what satisfies the needs of your business.


First, I'll start with Fivestars. They are a fairly large digital loyalty program with over 13,000 businesses using their product. What they try to focus on the most is to be the number one small business marketing tool. According to their website, they "offer fortune 500 technology to local businesses." As a small business owner, this seems pretty nice, right?


Some of their notable features are helping you craft a digital rewards program that gives customers points and gifts for their purchases. Then they build a set of automatically sent campaigns to welcome new customers, celebrate their birthdays, and bring back those who haven't visited recently.

Your customers can sign up in-store or with their mobile app so you’ll collect accurate customer information over time without slowing down your line (which a problem that a lot of businesses face).

Their AutoPilot feature automatically sends your customers an app notification, text message, or email with special offers that bring them back "10x more effectively than other marketing tools." With their promotions tool, you can create custom promotions that target all customers, new customers, or other specific groups.


Now you're probably thinking at this point how you can use a product like this. Well, it does come at a price. Their basic plan includes two customer-facing tablets, POS integration, the Autopilot program, on-boarding, and three training sessions for $279 per month.

The next tier includes unlimited promotions, "text to join" feature, weekly performance report, and autopilot for $299 per month. They offer a third tier for enterprise level clients. This tier comes with all the above features as well as customer acquisition and "so much more" (that's word for word what is on their website).

All in all, Fivestars does come with a good amount of features, but for a small business, that price might not be feasible.


Second, we're going to talk about Bellycard. According to their website, they have over 8,500 clients and 7 million customers using the loyalty program. What draws people to  Bellycard is the fact that so many different types of businesses can use their program. It's not just tailored to restaurants and retail, but can be used by personal trainers, bowling alleys, and more.


Now it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty and talk about what they offer. Through a customer-facing digital rewards program, Belly helps you identify the habits of your most loyal customers and reward them for their loyalty. You can boost customer loyalty with unique rewards that are tailored to your business. You can also track customer activity and understand who your customers are, how they're engaging with your program, and what drives them back in.

They have integrations with Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp, which lets your customers share their experience of using Belly. This gives your small business the exposure it needs to gain new customers through these networks.


Bellycard's pricing is significantly lower than Fivestars. Their first tier, labeled as "Belly Lite" is $129/month. It comes with the loyalty program, customer list builder, 12 email campaigns, the Belly mobile app, and Facebook like integration.

Their next tier is the "Belly Elite" tier. This one is $179/month and comes with all the above features as well as, email marketing automation, online listing manager, unlimited email campaigns, targeted customer acquisition, and configurable loyalty tools.

Their last tier is the "Enterprise" tier. With this tier, you get a branded loyalty program, POS and systems integration, configurable program design, ability to collect and activate first-party data. The price for this tier is not listed to the public and requires you contact their sales team.

Bellycard has some great features and their prices aren't the absolute highest in the market, but there is a significant difference in features between the two tiers. Also, contracts run for 12 months. The cost of the iPad, iPad stand, application software, and unlimited rewards cards are included in the subscription costs for the highest plan, but an additional $150 installation fee is charged for lower plans.

If you cancel the service at any time within the 30 day trial period, then Belly will issue you a refund. Cancellations after the trial period are subject to a 6-month cancellation fee. Contracts do not end automatically after twelve months; instead, they continue on a month to month basis until the merchant cancels the service or the contract is renewed.


Last but not least I'm going to be covering Loyal. Loyal is a new and developing loyalty program that will be launching March 2020. This digital loyalty program is awesome because it's all about providing valuable services to both business owners and their customers.


To start, the mobile app itself is a very clean cut and easy to navigate design. Not everyone is tech-savvy but the functionality of the app means anyone can easily use it. Loyal also doesn't require any hardware so that means no installation fees, no need to make tedious software updates, or worrying about programs freezing up.

Business owners have the freedom to create their own deals and offers as well as set up a points and rewards system that makes sense for them. It's entirely up to you how you want to tailor the program to your customers. The program is easy to set up and takes less than five minutes to be up and running.

You can have an unlimited amount of customers using this program so the opportunities for growth are endless. Customers can also use the social sharing integrations which make it easy for them to use word of mouth to gain some buzz around your company.

Through the app, you'll also be able to see key analytics that will help you learn more about your customers and how they're spending. This means you can create custom campaigns that reflect the buying patterns of the people who shop from you most.


The pricing portion here is going to be a tad short simply because the program is free. No, I didn't mistype or make a mistake. Yes, the program is free. And because it's free this means there are no long and complicated contracts, strict cancellation policies, or even cancellation fees. For small business owners that don't have a huge budget or the time to remember to submit a 60-day cancellation notice, Loyal is a great option.

Keep These Things In Mind When Choosing A Loyalty Program

1. Price
2. Set up
3. POS
4. Data & Analytics
5. Point redemption
6. Consumer access

All of these programs are great for their own reason. Whether you need a digital loyalty program for one location or 100, one of these three should work for you.