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Software Options for Small Business Customer Loyalty Programs

POS Systems like Square, Clover and Toast have revolutionized Customer Loyalty Programs for Small Businesses. Each comes with powerful modules that can be enabled to identify customers and track their purchases, historically a capability limited to larger businesses with sizeable budgets. Combined, these platforms serve nearly 2.5 million small businesses, though a relatively small number are taking full advantage of the loyalty opportunity. This article will provide a review of the loyalty capabilities within each platform and help identify next steps for developing your loyalty program

Square Loyalty

Square serves the full range of merchants and has a whopping 2 million active sellers. A significant emphasis is on Small Business, with 61% selling less than $150,000 per year.  Pricing is structured in tiers, which provides a more attractive price point for smaller businesses but scales higher for larger businesses. Square Loyalty offers a full featured solution, with several price tiers based on company size.

The Square Loyalty enrollment process utilizes phone number as a requirement, and if desired the welcome text message can be used to offer additional points to add an email to the account. Tracking is accomplished with a linked credit card, and the points earning scheme can be customized.

SquareCashApp2In terms of loyalty program design, Square offers the ability to set point levels at the SKU or category basis (including exclusions) and also allows merchants to offer up to 15 unique rewards. This level of granularity allows each reward to feature specific products and offer redemption opportunities at several different spend levels. Point expiration rules are customizable, which is helpful in managing points liability cost. 

A major innovation from Square is the integration with their Cash App, which offers convenient access to loyalty points across all Square programs. By removing the need for remembering individual account access details, Square makes it much easier to keep each program top of mind and overcomes a significant barrier.

In terms of promotional capabilities, the Square Marketing add-on provides personalized email and text messaging capabilities, building on the free Square Customer Directory which provides CRM database capabilities.  More information on Square Loyalty here.

Clover Rewards

Clover is another major player in the marketplace, with over 125,000 stores using their POS. Average size of the participating retailers is larger than that for Square, in fact recent Gross Payment Volumes for Clover are exceeding Square even though there are fewer locations. From a loyalty and customer engagement perspective, Clover offers these larger businesses capabilities that are a bit more sophisticated, though at a slightly higher price point ($99 per month for the Customer Engagement Plus module).

The Clover Rewards app pulls together all of the participating locations one place, though with a bit more focus on commerce and loyalty than Square’s cash app which also includes peer to peer payments and other features. One standout is the Order Ahead capability: loyalty members can be awarded extra points for each advance order, and they get the added benefit of skipping the line. Due to the payment processing integration, auto-pay is another useful feature, avoiding missed credits for loyalty members due to using a different credit card. And perhaps most compelling is the ability to sense when members enter the store using an integrated Bluetooth Beacon or check-ins, which can provide a unique opportunity to recognize best customers. All of these aspects combine together to facilitate a positive loyalty experience.


The Promos module includes targeted campaign development and execution through all channels. Clover thoughtfully includes pre-built campaigns for Welcome, Birthday, VIP and Winback audiences, which can make including these important programs less of a chore for the small business owner. For more information on Clover Rewards visit their website.

Toast Loyalty

Toast is one of the top Point of Sale (POS) software solutions for restaurants, touting 60,000 locations with rapid growth and a reasonable price tag starting at $50 per month. Like many of the new generation of SaaS providers, they offer a full range of optional modules. Restaurants that use their Loyalty and Email Marketing modules enjoy strong features for driving repeat business at a low cost.

From a guest standpoint, Toast works very smoothly when utilizing the mobile payment terminal. Sign-up is easy, and uses either email or mobile # for future communications. The credit card will serve to track future purchases for loyalty credit, and multiple credit cards can be utilized.

The restaurant team can use self-serve tools to customize their loyalty program design including the core earning scheme and special promotions. There are options to provide bonuses based on time/day and order type, offer enrollment bonuses and even birthday treats. The Email Marketing module allows the integrated launch of email campaigns to make guests aware of the benefits. Users can manage their accounts and see their balances online. Lastly, reporting dashboards provide a snapshot of program activity and other key metrics. These are the kinds of functionalities that the big brands pay well into the six figures for each year.

Toast Loyalty

While Toast does not have an app the integrates cards across all loyalty programs, they do provide the ability for members to save the membership card which uses a QR code for identification. You can visit Toast Loyalty for more capabilities information.

Small Business Loyalty Program Opportunities

The recent advances in POS systems put a high impact loyalty program within reach, which is great news for the 2.5 million businesses who use Square, Clover or Toast. However, the challenge is to structure your loyalty program to break through the clutter, engage your customers and delight your best guests. Most small businesses stop at configuring a basic rewards program point scheme, which leaves a lot of the upside untapped.

To find out more about how Small Business Loyalty programs can easily tap into proven loyalty best practices, please read this accompanying article. Or if you’d like to request a complimentary consultation, please Contact Us