Why Have a Loyalty Program? Benefits and Considerations
By Pranav Patel

Although many brands spend significant time and energy on improving customer acquisition strategies, efforts to nurture customer loyalty sometimes take a backseat.

Brands that recognize the immense potential in fostering loyal customers can boost an organization’s overall value by implementing a well-designed loyalty program. This article evaluates how to decide whether a loyalty program is the right choice, highlights some important benefits, and offers tips for organizations considering the question, “Why have a loyalty program?”

Why Have a Loyalty Program?

A loyalty program aims to build customer loyalty and foster long-term relationships by providing incentives and rewards to repeat customers. The benefits of a loyalty program can be divided into three main factors:

  1. Customer Retention. The primary goal of a loyalty program is to retain existing customers. By offering rewards and incentives, businesses strive to keep repeat buyers engaged and prevent them from switching to competitors. Loyal customers are more likely to continue purchasing from a brand and contribute to its long-term success.
  2. Brand Value. Beyond repeat purchases, loyal customers are more likely to become brand advocates and recommend them to friends and family. Many loyalty programs include referral incentives as strong encouragement for promotion. Positive word-of-mouth generated by loyal customers can significantly elevate a brand's reputation and help attract new customers.
  3. Competitive Advantage. Loyalty programs can offer brands a competitive edge in a crowded marketplace. By offering unique rewards and benefits, businesses can differentiate themselves from their competitors and cultivate a sense of exclusivity. This can attract new customers and encourage existing clients to remain loyal despite their alternative options.

When designing a loyalty program that stands out from the crowd and resonates with its target audience, retailers must also drive customer engagement, retention, and business growth. Noodles & Co. offers an exemplary loyalty program that leverages its full advantage to increase customer retention, add brand value, and gain a competitive edge. The Noodles & Co. loyalty program encourages brand loyalty and optimizes the customer journey via user experience expertise and advanced analytics. Using business intelligence, customer data platforms, and architecture, Noodles & Co. has created a 360° view of their customers’ needs.

Is a Loyalty Program Right For You?

Implementing a fully optimized loyalty program for your target demographics can help you boost profitability, create personalized experiences for returning customers, and potentially increase the incremental customer lifetime value (CLTV). For some specific instances, however, a loyalty program may not be the best fit for your brand.

For example, if your base of loyal customers is substantial enough to omit increased brand value or competitive edge from the organization’s strategic goals, your leadership will need to evaluate the return on investment (ROI) for administering a loyalty program. Because some program elements require a significant amount of resources to implement and maintain, a cost-benefit analysis would help decision-makers understand the effort required before fully committing to a brand loyalty program.

Critical Considerations For a Loyalty Program

Although every organization's target audience, product/service, and order of operations differ, a few critical considerations across the board are essential to assess when asking, “Why have a loyalty program?”


Like most marketing initiatives, the budget is a pivotal factor for retail loyalty programs because of its significant impact on design, effectiveness, and profitability. Establishing and sticking to a realistic budget ensures that resources are allocated efficiently. Retailers strive to strike a balance between customer incentives and sustainable financial viability, which begins and ends with the budget.

Costs associated with rewards, promotions, marketing campaigns, and program infrastructure can vary in price. To optimize a loyalty program's budget, retailers can use data analytics to scale all expenses in accordance with changing market conditions and customer preferences, ensuring long-term success and a competitive edge in the dynamic retail landscape.

Assessing Budget
  1. How much of the budget should be allocated for marketing and promotional activities to raise awareness and drive customer engagement with a loyalty program?
  2. How will the budget accommodate future program expansions or modifications, based on evolving customer needs and market trends?
  3. Are there opportunities for cost optimization, like using existing marketing channels, partnerships with other businesses, or leveraging customer data analytics to personalize offers and reduce acquisition costs?


Assessing the market competition and landscape is another essential component of the planning process. The competition can provide crucial insights for strategic advantages to help retailers identify existing loyalty programs, features, and strengths and weaknesses. The findings will enable retailers to differentiate their programs and offer unique value propositions.

Assessing Budget
  1. Which competitors in the market currently offer loyalty programs, and what are the key features and benefits of those programs?
  2. Are there any unique or innovative loyalty program features competitors offer that could be adopted or adapted to enhance the company's agenda?
  3. What promotional strategies and marketing tactics do competitors employ to raise awareness and drive customer engagement with their loyalty programs?

Target Audience & Concept

To effectively capture the target audience, the concept behind the loyalty program must position its customers' unique needs, preferences, and behaviors first and foremost. By deriving insights from demographic profiles, purchase patterns, and motivations, retailers can effectively tailor their loyalty programs to engage and retain their target audience.

Identifying opportunities for personalized offers and targeted marketing options is essential. Such laser-focused efforts can help retailers ensure that their loyalty program resonates with customers.

When determining which type of loyalty program to offer, retailers may gather feedback via surveys or focus groups to understand customer preferences, needs, and expectations, thereby informing the design and structure of the loyalty program. For example, such tools can deliver qualitative feedback indicating whether the target audience is more likely to use a loyalty program that redeems points for products/discounts, or one driven by moral values. If feedback suggests the latter case, it may be more beneficial to incentivize customers with charitable donations.

Assessing the Target Audience and Program Concept
  1. Which channels and platforms does our target audience prefer for communication and engagement with brands?
  2. How likely is our target audience to recommend our brand to others, and what factors can be leveraged within the loyalty program to encourage advocacy and word-of-mouth promotion?
  3. How do our target audience's shopping behaviors differ across customer segments or personas?

Get The Most Out of a Loyalty Program With Concord

When asking, “Why have a loyalty program?” there are many benefits and considerations to investigate. Regardless of the potential benefits, each brand should prepare for a loyalty program by assessing the budget, competition, and target audience.

Retailers can hire technical consultants that specialize in creating loyalty programs to fully optimize available resources and ensure every critical question is answered completely.

Getting Started

Concord is a consultancy that combines technology and industry depth with a get-it-done culture to enable resiliency, efficiency, and innovation. Whether you are looking to improve customer satisfaction, implement effective data strategies, optimize cloud applications, or anything in between, we can help.

Contact us today to learn more about customer data platforms in retail, our technology and business consulting services, and how we can help you accelerate business value.

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