Getting Started with Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs let customers store points on digital cards. Meeting program rules accumulate these points. Besides managing loyalty cards and program rules, Voucherify provides a rewards catalog and an omnichannel notifications system to provide a fully gamified experience to your customers.

This article will guide you through key concepts and definitions of loyalty campaigns in Voucherify. 

Contents

  1. Glossary
  2. Loyalty Workflow
  3. Loyalty Points Expiration
  4. Earning Rules
  5. Rewards
  6. Cockpits
  7. Tiers
  8. Notifications
  9. Metadata
  10. Maintenance & tracking
  11. Useful Resources

Glossary

Here are the key definitions you need to understand how loyalty campaigns work.

Loyalty card 

A digital card with a unique code that works as a digital wallet for customer's points. 

Earning rule 

Earning rule defines an action(s) that assigns a particular number of loyalty points to a customer's loyalty card. There is no limit on the number of earning rules in a single loyalty campaign. Each earning rule has a timeframe that defines when it is active.

Loyalty tier 

Tiers are different levels of membership in your loyalty programTier is defined by a minimum and maximum amount of points on a customer's loyalty card. You can map different rewards and earning rules to each tier. 

Reward 

Customers can get a digital or material incentive in exchange for their loyalty points.

Notification 

A  message sent from Voucherify to an end customer or third-party application through which you can send loyalty cards and inform about collected points or redeemed rewards.

Customer cockpit 

An individual customer space presents the number of loyalty points, rewards, assigned referral codes, and incentives like discounts or gift cards. You can copy and share links to fully branded cockpits and enable your customers to exchange loyalty points for rewards independently.

Reward redemption

The action of exchanging points for a chosen reward. Reward redemption results in redeeming points and updating the balance on a loyalty card.

Loyalty card publication 

The action of assigning a unique card to a particular customer. Loyalty cards need to be published before customers start collecting points. 

Loyalty points expiration

Loyalty points accumulated on a loyalty card can expire in a pre-defined time frame. Points expirations can be defined on the campaign level. Points are accrued with no expiration date when no expiration rule is defined in the campaign.

Auto-join campaign 

Optional campaign mode ensures that customers automatically get a loyalty card published (assigned) to their profile when they meet at least one earning rule with an updated points balance. 

Join-once campaign 

The setting for this feature is turned on by default in the Dashboard. This mode ensures that each customer can own only one loyalty card from the campaign. You cannot toggle this on/off in the Dashboard.

Auto-update campaign 

Optional campaign mode that ensures the application automatically generates new loyalty cards when the initial batch runs out.


Loyalty workflow

Voucherify supports you in every step of your loyalty program. First, it lets you build your program conditions, set up rewards, and automate notifications.

Next, you need to assign (publish) loyalty card codes to particular customers so they can collect points for specific reward actions. Voucherify continuously monitors their behavior and updates their loyalty score. Using customer cockpits, you can let customers track their scores and redeem points for loyalty rewards. 

If you decide to use non-material rewards such as discounts, gift cards, or pay-with-points rewards, Voucherify will support you with validating and redeeming rewards in your store. Finally, Voucherify helps you understand what works and what does not with real-time tracking of your loyalty campaigns and performance reports.

Lets take a closer look at the key concepts.


Loyalty Points

Loyalty points accumulated on a loyalty card can expire in a pre-defined time frame.

Expiration period

Points expiration can be defined in months and are always based on the activity date (e.g., order date). For example, if you set a 12-month expiration period and points are accrued for an order on 15.04.2022, the expiration date will be 15.04.2023. 

The  points expiration date is the last date to spend the points. So, in the above example, an expiration date set to 15.04.2023 means that the customer can use the points until the end of 15.04.2023, and from 16.04.2023, the points will be treated as expired and cannot be used any longer. 

Points expiration date nuances

Not all months have the same number of days. Voucherify handles these cases by rounding down the expiration date to the last day of the month in which the points are due for expiration. In particular, for points accrued on the 29th, 30th, or 31st day of the month, the expiration date is  rounded down to the end of the month. So, for example, points accrued on 31.01.2021 with a month expiration period will expire at the end of 28.02.2021.

Expiration date rounding

Besides the option to set the points expiration period in months, there is also an option to round up an expiration date to a specific date, such as:

  • End of the month,
  • End of the quarter,
  • End of the half-year,
  • End of the year,
  • End of the particular month (e.g., end of February).

With the above options, it is possible to define that point expiration will occur not every day in the year but only on particular days. The expiration rules can work on a:

  • Monthly basis - at the end of each month,
  • Quarterly basis - at the end of March, June, September, and December,
  • Half-year basis - at the end of June and December,
  • Annual basis - at the end of the calendar year (end of December) or any other particular month (e.g., end of February, May, etc.).

Points redemption and transfers

Here are some guidelines regarding points redemptions and transfers.

  • Using any points with a past expiration date is impossible
  • If the card contains points that expire on different dates, then redemptions consume the points that expire sooner.
  • When you transfer points from one card to another, the expiration date is reset for the transferred points on the transfer day. For example, if the transfer occurs on 21.04.2022 and the expiration is set to 1 month, the points will expire on 21.05.2022 after the transfer.

Points returned during redemption rollback

Points are returned to the card, but the expiration date is reset to a  new date. For example, if the rollback occurred on 21.04.2022 and the expiration is set to 1 month, then after the rollback, the points are credited back to the card but now expire on 21.05.2022.

Exporting points expiration periods

You can create a CSV file of all your points expirations for a campaign. Navigate to your campaign, choose the Points Expiration tab, and click on the Export tool.  View this article for more information on exporting points expirations.

You can also track points expirations, explained in detail here.  

Add or remove points manually

You can add or remove points via the Voucherify Dashboard. In the Customer view, click on the Wallet tab > Loyalty Cards, find the loyalty card you are interested in, and click on the loyalty card code. You will be redirected to the loyalty card view. In the upper right-hand corner, click on the icon that resembles a card. 

A popup window will allow you to modify the points manually. To  add points, enter a positive number, choose one of the three expiration date options, and click Add. Points added manually can either inherit the expiration date defined in the campaign, have a custom expiration date, or not expire.

To  remove points, enter a minus sign followed by the number of points and click Subtract. If the card contains points that expire on different dates, then removing points will consume the points that expire sooner.


Earning Rules

Earning rules define actions that customers must take to receive loyalty points and, as a result, redeem points for loyalty rewards. You can create eight types of earning rules in Voucherify: 

  • customer segments, 
  • paid orders, 
  • and custom events that customers perform in your application/website,
  • customer joins the loyalty tier structure,
  • customer leaves the loyalty tier structure,
  • customer's loyalty tier is upgraded,
  • customer's loyalty tier is downgraded,
  • customer's loyalty tier is prolonged.

Moreover, using validation rules, you can extend each earning rule with metadata and additional constraints.

Each earning rule can have its time frame defining when it is active. If you don't specify an earning rule's start and expiration date, it will inherit the campaign time frame (start and expiration date). All time-related limits are optional and described precisely in this guide.

Timeframe options include:

  • Start date & time
  • End date & time (expiration)
  • Valid in this timeframe only (recurring)
  • Valid on particular days only

You can turn on and off earning rules in the campaign dashboard > earning rules.

Creating an earning rule is a four-step process:

  1. [Required] Define the earning rule details, such as name and the timeframe in which it will be valid (timeframe is optional).  All time-related limits are described precisely in this guide.
  2. [Required] Assign a point value.
  3. [Optional] Add custom attributes to the earning rule using metadata by defining key/value pairs. Please read our guide on how to start with metadata to learn more.
  4. [Optional] Add validation rules that limit earning rule usage to predefined circumstances.

Order has been paid

Points are added to the loyalty card when a new order changes its status to PAID. 

You can assign a fixed number of points or reward customers proportionally to a spent amount or a metadata value. 

If you calculate the points proportionally, the customer will get a defined number of points for every predefined value in the selected metadata or spent amount. There are seven standard options based on the amount spent, the quantity of items in the cart, and customer or order metadata. 

The metadata must be a number type defined earlier in the Project Settings > Metadata Schema. Please read our guide on how to start with metadata to learn more.

Fixed

Awards a fixed number of points for paying an order.

Proportional

  • Pre-discount order amount - Awards customers X points for every Y spent, excluding discounts (order total amount counted before the discounts were applied).

  • Total order amount - Awards customers X points for every Y spent, including discount (order total amount counted after the discounts were applied).
  • Pre-discount amount spent on items - Awards customers X points for every Y spent on items excluding discounts (total amount spent on a particular product or product collection counted before the discounts were applied).

  • Amount spent on items - Awards customers X points for every Y spent on items, including discounts (total amount spent on a particular product or product collection counted after the discounts were applied).

  • Quantity of items in the cart - Awards customers X points for every Y items, excluding free items (quantity of a particular product or items from a selected product collection, including products added for free).

  • Order Metadata - Awards customers X points for every Y in the metadata attribute. The metadata must be defined in the Order schema and must be a Number.
  • Customer Metadata - Awards customers for every Y in the metadata attribute. The metadata must be defined in the Customer schema and must be a Number.

You can add custom attributes to the earning rule by defining metadata key/value pairs. You can attach additional requirements that customers must meet to earn points using validation rules. Rules can define cart structure and volume, customer attributes, or specify qualified customer segments. Go here to learn more about validation rules.

Earning rules examples:

  • 1 point for each $0.01 spent if the total order amount is less than $50.
  • 1 point for each $0.1 spent if the total order amount is more than $50.
  • 20 points for every item from the “Kitchen” collection. 
  • 1 point for every $ spent on collection with SALE items.
  • Multiply by 3 value of customer metadata “age” to get points value.
  • Multiply by 2 value of order metadata “priority” to get points value.
  • 2 points for each $1 spent if a customer is in the Premium Customers segment.
  • 20 points if the order is paid and the payment method is Visa.
  • 50 points if a customer had a MacBook in their cart.

Custom Events

Custom events are actions taken by your customers that you track in your application or website and pass to Voucherify using our API. Using events in earning rules enables you to reward customers for custom activities of your choice, e.g., leaving a review, tagging your brand on social media, attending an event, and more. 

First, define your events in the Event Schema in the Project Settings. 

The Schema gathers definitions of events you can later pass to Voucherify and use in your loyalty campaigns. 

The customers get points every time they perform the required action (a custom event is sent to and received by Voucherify). You can assign a fixed number of points or reward customers proportionally to a metadata value. 

If you calculate the points proportionally, the customer will get a defined number of points for every value in the selected customer or event metadata. The metadata must be added to the Metadata Schema in your Project Settings.

  • Customer Metadata - Awards customers for every Y in the metadata attribute. The metadata must be defined in the Customer schema and must be a Number. Read more in our guide on how to start with metadata.
  • Custom Event Metadata - Awards customers for every Y in the metadata attribute. The metadata must be defined as a property of the event chosen in the first step (Details). This is defined in the Event Schema and must be a Number. Read more in our guide on how to start with event schemas.

You can add custom attributes to the earning rule by defining metadata key/value pairs. 

In the last step, validation rules enable you to limit the event-based earning rules.

Basic Rule Builder Advanced Rule Builder

Limit the event-based earning rules to specific:

  • customer segments

Limit the event-based earning rules based on specific:

  • customer segments
  • customer metadata
  • custom event metadata

When a custom event defined in the earning rule is sent to and received by Voucherify, the application checks if a customer linked to the event matches the segment, customer metadata, and/or custom event metadata rules. 

Earning rules examples:

  • 100 points if a customer subscribes to a newsletter.
  • 50 points if a customer leaves a review.
  • 200 points if a customer registers for a paying plan.
  • Points equal to the volume number of the newsletters that the customer subscribed to
  • Points equal to the customer metadata attribute customer_life_time_value
Please note that using custom events requires help from your developers. Go to our Events API to learn more details.

Entered segment

Segments group your customers using predefined criteria. Customers who match segment rules enter the segment and earn loyalty points. While building segments, you can mix different criteria based on customer attributes (standard and custom ones) and their order history. Segment-based earning rules ensure that points are assigned only if all segment conditions are met. 
Select one of your existing segments created in the Customers section beforehand to build a rule.

When a customer enters the segment, points are added to the loyalty card. You can assign a fixed number of points or reward customers proportionally to a metadata value. The metadata must be defined in the Customer schema and must be a Number. Read more in our guide on how to start with metadata

You can add custom attributes to the earning rule by defining metadata key/value pairs. Validation rules define additional segments a customer needs to belong to and segments excluded from getting the points. You can also extend the customer criteria and define required customer metadata. Use the advanced rule builder to define customer’s metadata rules.

Earning rules examples:

  • 10 points if a customer enters the New Customer segment (criteria: Profile created less than 1 day ago). 
  • 250 points if a customer enters a segment Premium (criteria: Total order count more than 5 or spent more than $500).
  • Customer enters the “Loyal customers” segment, and the number of added points equals the number of their subscription days (metadata attribute).
  • 50 points if a customer enters the Active Mobile App Users segment (criteria: metadata attribute mobile_app is true and last purchase less than 30 days ago)

When you confirm the earning rule with Save, the list will show you all added earning rules and assigned numbers of loyalty points. 


Joined tiers structure

Tiers are different levels of membership in your loyalty program. Tier is defined by a minimum and maximum amount of points on a customer's loyalty card. You can map different rewards and earning rules to each tier. Tier-based earning rules ensure that points are assigned only if all tier-related event conditions are met. 

To build a rule, select one of your existing tiers created in the Tiers section beforehand.

Points are added to the loyalty card when a customer joins the tier structure. You can assign a fixed number of points or reward customers proportionally to a metadata value. The metadata must be defined in the Customer schema and must be a Number. Read more in our guide on how to start with metadata

You can add custom attributes to the earning rule by defining metadata key/value pairs. Validation rules define additional segments a customer needs to belong to and segments excluded from getting the points. You can also extend the customer criteria and define required customer metadata. Use the advanced rule builder to define a customer’s metadata rules and custom event metadata.


Left tiers structure

Tiers are different levels of membership in your loyalty program. Tier is defined by a minimum and maximum amount of points on a customer's loyalty card. You can map different rewards and earning rules to each tier. Tier-based earning rules ensure that points are assigned only if all tier-related event conditions are met. 

To build a rule, select one of your existing tiers created in the Tiers section beforehand.

Points are added to the loyalty card when a customer leaves the tier structure. You can assign a fixed number of points or reward customers proportionally to a metadata value. The metadata must be defined in the Customer schema and must be a Number. Read more in our guide on how to start with metadata

You can add custom attributes to the earning rule by defining metadata key/value pairs. Validation rules define additional segments a customer needs to belong to and segments excluded from getting the points. You can also extend the customer criteria and define required customer metadata. Use the advanced rule builder to define a customer’s metadata rules and custom event metadata.


Tier upgraded

Tiers are different levels of membership in your loyalty program. Tier is defined by a minimum and maximum amount of points on a customer's loyalty card. You can map different rewards and earning rules to each tier. Tier-based earning rules ensure that points are assigned only if all tier-related event conditions are met. 

Select one of your existing tiers created in the Tiers section beforehand to build a rule.

Points are added to the loyalty card when a customer's tier is upgraded. You can assign a fixed number of points or reward customers proportionally to a metadata value. The metadata must be defined in the Customer schema and must be a Number. Read more in our guide on how to start with metadata

You can add custom attributes to the earning rule by defining metadata key/value pairs. Validation rules define additional segments a customer needs to belong to and segments excluded from getting the points. You can also extend the customer criteria and define required customer metadata. Use the advanced rule builder to define a customer’s metadata rules and custom event metadata.


Tier downgraded

Tiers are different levels of membership in your loyalty program. Tier is defined by a minimum and maximum amount of points on a customer's loyalty card. You can map different rewards and earning rules to each tier. Tier-based earning rules ensure that points are assigned only if all tier-related event conditions are met. 

Select one of your existing tiers created in the Tiers section beforehand to build a rule.

Points are added to the loyalty card when a customer's tier is downgraded. You can assign a fixed number of points or reward customers proportionally to a metadata value. The metadata must be defined in the Customer schema and must be a Number. Read more in our guide on how to start with metadata

You can add custom attributes to the earning rule by defining metadata key/value pairs. Validation rules define additional segments a customer needs to belong to and segments excluded from getting the points. You can also extend the customer criteria and define required customer metadata. Use the advanced rule builder to define a customer’s metadata rules and custom event metadata.


Tier prolonged

Tiers are different levels of membership in your loyalty program. Tier is defined by a minimum and maximum amount of points on a customer's loyalty card. You can map different rewards and earning rules to each tier. Tier-based earning rules ensure that points are assigned only if all tier-related event conditions are met. 

Select one of your existing tiers created in the Tiers section beforehand to build a rule.

Points are added to the loyalty card when a customer's tier is extended. You can assign a fixed number of points or reward customers proportionally to a metadata value. The metadata must be defined in the Customer schema and must be a Number. Read more in our guide on how to start with metadata

You can add custom attributes to the earning rule by defining metadata key/value pairs. Validation rules define additional segments a customer needs to belong to and segments excluded from getting the points. You can also extend the customer criteria and define required customer metadata. Use the advanced rule builder to define a customer’s metadata rules and custom event metadata.

When you confirm the earning rule with Save, the list will show you all added earning rules and assigned numbers of loyalty points. 


Rewards Catalog

The rewards catalog collects all rewards that your customers can exchange points for. To define your catalog, prepare rewards beforehand in the Rewards dashboard section or add new rewards on the spot while creating a loyalty campaign.

Follow this guide to learn what rewards you can create using Voucherify. Remember to map each reward to the points value and confirm the reward with the Save button. Added Rewards will be listed in the Rewards catalog.

When a customer collects enough points, the reward will be active in their cockpit. Exchanging points for rewards invokes reward redemption and updating the customer's loyalty points balance. You can track these changes in real-time by monitoring the campaign dashboard. 


Customer cockpit

Voucherify automatically creates a cockpit for every customer synced/added to your account. Cockpits work like digital wallets, with all loyalty rewards activated according to the current customer's points balance.

If you share cockpit URLs with your customers, they can redeem points and get rewards independently. The cockpit URL is available in the Distribution variables. You can add the variable to the template, and the application will populate the proper value when sending messages.

Tiers

The tiering functionality allows you to create different membership levels in your loyalty program. 

Customers have two options for qualifying for a tier: points-based and time-based.


Points Balance

In the first option, customers qualify for the tier if their points balance is in the points range of the tier. This means that they fall out of a tier if their point balance is out of the defined range and enter a tier if they reach the minimum required to be in that tier. You can customize this further by specifying when the tier will expire for a customer. This happens when the customer falls out of the points range by default.

Using the Custom option, you can define a period for which the tier is valid even though the customer falls out of the points range. The expiration date counter starts when the customer reaches the minimum required points needed in the tier. You can define the expiration period in months and also choose to round the expiration date to some period (e.g., end of the month, quarter, year, etc.).


Points collected in a period

In the second option, customers can qualify for the tier if they collect enough points in a given period. So, in addition to reaching a points range, the customer also needs to have collected the points within a set period, which can be a month, quarter, half-year, or year.

Period Definition
Calendar Month

Points collected in one calendar month

January, February, March, etc.

Calendar Quarter

Points collected in the quarter

  • January - March
  • April - June
  • July - September
  • October - December
Calendar Half-year

Points collected in the half-year

  • January - June
  • July - December
Calendar Year

Points collected in one calendar year

January - December

Here are how tier start and expiration dates are defined:

Tier start date Definition
Immediately When the tier threshold is reached, the customer is immediately upgraded to the tier.
For example, if we have monthly qualification periods and the customer collects a required number of points on the 10th day of the month, the tier will start from that day.
Next qualification period When the tier threshold is reached, the customer is upgraded to the tier from the subsequent qualification period start date.
For example, if we have monthly qualification periods and the customer collects a required number of points on the 10th day of the month, the tier will start from the 1st day of the following month.
Tier expiration date Definition
End of the qualification period The tier will be valid till the end of the qualification period in which the tier was granted.
For example, if we have monthly qualification periods, the tier will be valid until the end of the month it was granted.
End of the next qualification period The tier will be valid till the end of the next qualification period in which the tier was granted.
For example, if we have monthly qualification periods, the tier will be valid until the end of the following month based on the month the tier was granted.
Extensions For both options (end of the qualification period and end of the next qualification period), adding additional time for tier expiration in days or months is possible.
For example, if we have monthly qualification periods, then the tier will be valid till the end of the month or the end of the next month in which the tier was granted and defined an additional 7 days period in our extensions. The tier will expire not at the end of the month but on the 7th day of the month.

Besides a points range, each tier has its rewards and earning rules mapping. It means that the same earning rules and rewards can be assigned to a different points value:

  • Earning rules mapping defines points multipliers that increase or decrease the number of earned points per rule;
  • Rewards mapping defines multipliers that set new reward price values for the tier members. Customers from different tiers may need more or fewer points to get the reward. A reward can be turned off for a tier with the Not available option. 

Notifications

Voucherify supports many automatic notifications that communicate with your end customers or 3rd party applications throughout the loyalty journey. While creating a loyalty campaign, you can set up the following communication workflows:

  1. Send loyalty cards – publication (assigning) a card to a customer triggers a message. First, publish loyalty cards using the dashboard or API (more in this guide). Then, schedule notifications with the loyalty card code variable. As a result, each loyalty card owner gets a message with their digital card. 
  2. Notify about new points – new points on the loyalty card trigger a message. Voucherify tracks all changes in points balance and sends messages automatically.
  3. Notify about reward redemption and updated points balance – the message gets to the customer when they redeem their reward. Voucherify tracks all redemptions and sends messages automatically.

Each notification type can send messages to the end customers (SMS, emails) or 3rd party applications (webhooks and built-in integrations with MailChimp, Braze, ActiveCampaign, and Intercom). Notifications scheduled while creating a loyalty program will be visible in the Distributions tab in the dashboard. Read more about setting up distributions in this guide


Metadata

Metadata extends your loyalty workflow with custom attributes. You can use metadata attributes on many levels:

  • create validation rules with customer, order, or product metadata and assign them to your earning rules;
  • Assign different metadata attributes to each tier.
  • Add new metadata fields for campaign attributes to improve tracking and reporting. Added attributes can only be assigned to the program metadata or inherited by all loyalty cards created within the campaign.

Please read our guide on how to start with metadata.


Tracking results

You can track the real-time performance of your loyalty program on many levels. Using the dashboard and API, you can monitor and analyze the campaign metrics and each participant's activity individually. 

Loyalty Program Performance

Click on the loyalty program name to visit the campaign dashboard. You can see the following campaign metrics:

  • Active distributions and sent messages (they can deliver rewards, inform about added points, send loyalty cards, and more).
  • Top earning rules and top rewards.
  • A sum of points gained by your customers sorted by date.
  • Conversion rate chart that shows the total number of redeemed points sorted by date.
  • Recent program changes and customer actions.

Customer Activity

Voucherify enables you to track end-customers activity in particular loyalty campaigns. Click on the customer's name to visit their profile and go to the Activity tab. Using filters, you can choose a specific campaign of loyalty or list activities from all your loyalty programs. Moreover, you can filter out customer activities within the given timeframe.

Read more about Loyalty Maintenance and Tracking.

You can also use our API to filter all customer activities by date or a specific event. Visit our Developer Hub to learn more.

Transactions

Transactions are point movements on the loyalty card and can be viewed and exported by navigating to the particular loyalty card and clicking on the Transactions tab.


Useful Resources

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