9 Customer loyalty programs for small businesses to implement in 2024

9 Customer loyalty programs for small businesses to implement in 2024

If you own a small business, the most important thing to remember is achieving business growth with a limited budget and resources. Instead of approaching new customers to boost revenue, you should consider having a customer retention strategy to keep existing customers and improve customer lifetime value. This will help you save more time and money.

Loyalty programs can be one of the most effective ways to strengthen customer loyalty to your brand and facilitate them to return and spend more on your products or services. In this article, we will look at customer loyalty programs for small businesses and how you can leverage them.

9 Customer loyalty programs for small businesses you must know

1. Referrals


A referral loyalty program is a great way to build customer loyalty for small businesses.

By offering discounts or bonuses for referrals, you can facilitate customers to keep doing business with you. This loyalty program demonstrates your appreciation for their continued business and allows you to build a network of pleased customers who are more likely to recommend you to others.

A restaurant might implement such a referral program by presenting discounts, free drinks, and free meals. When a referral customer enrolls in the loyalty program and makes their first purchase, the referee gets the prize. Further, referred customers are more likely to spend more than customers acquired in traditional ways.

2. Birthday Rewards

Birthday Rewards

According to a recent study, customers are likely to remain loyal to a business if they accept some birthday reward. Birthday rewards are an underrated way to build customer loyalty for a small business. These rewards not only show the customer that you value their loyalty but also encourage them to continue doing business with you.

This strategy works so well that Starbucks also uses it. Starbucks‘ customers can choose a free drink from their expansive birthday menu. Therefore, consider offering a birthday reward to keep your customers happy and improve loyalty.

Rewards could be in the form of a voucher, discount, bonus, or gift. It doesn’t have to be costly or extravagant – even a 10% discount will suffice.Thus, ensure the birthday reward is personalized and relevant to customers’ needs and interests.

3. Flash Deals

Flash Deals

Presenting discounts and bonuses is a fantastic way to set up a loyalty program. What if you could take it a step further and provide flash deals? Flash deals are short-term, time-sensitive offers that incentivize your customers to purchase now.

They’re a great way to increase sales and build a sense of urgency. And best of all, you can utilize them to target specific groups of customers or products. Marketing teams form customer profiles to recognize behavioral patterns and buy histories to inform these decisions.

Remember a few things if you’re considering offering flash deals to create customer loyalty for your small business. First, you must ensure the discount is significant enough to attract customers. Second, the deal’s details must be communicated so everything is clear.

4. Points and Rewards

Points and Rewards

Loyalty programs that involve points and rewards are the most common way to develop customer loyalty for small businesses. These programs are common because they work and are effortless to implement in virtually any industry.

Offering points or rewards for purchases can encourage customers to return and help entice new customers. Ask them to fill out a customer loyalty application to get started. There are a few different ways you can structure a loyalty program.

One option is to give discounts or vouchers for future purchases after a certain number of earned points.

Another option is showing referral bonus points or spending a certain amount. You can also offer gifts after a certain number of purchases.

Whatever sort of loyalty program you determine to implement, make sure it is easy for customers to understand and participate in. The more complex the program, the less likely customers will benefit.

5. Provide free offers and upgrades.

One of the most effective ways to prompt customers to make more purchases is to offer them additional purchase values. You can consider providing buy-one-get-one offers that enable them to get a free new product when purchasing one of the best-selling items. Since customers can experience the new item for free and may love it, they will be more likely to buy it when it is officially available.

Moreover, if your product is a software or application that must be frequently updated to improve user experiences, you can offer loyal customers free upgrades to the latest version. This way, you retain current customers and gain new ones with attractive incentives.

6. Create a VIP club

Another way to build customer loyalty is by forming a VIP club. When joining this club, customers can be shown member-only options such as new product pre-experiences, free samples, time-sensitive deals, and more.

As a small business, you can create this reward program with a limited budget, which will not cost you too much. This is also a splendid way to gather valuable customer data for future targeted marketing campaigns.

7. Subscription-based programs

Subscription-based programs are significant for small businesses because you know the customers will be coming back. Customers pay a monthly fee to receive their subscription, which can have advantages such as discount codes and free goodies. They’ll feel special as they can access premium information that non-subscribers won’t see.

There are many different subscription boxes available. Companies such as Hello Fresh offer customers boxes of produce each week, bi-weekly, and monthly to make meals. They typically show their customers the third box free as a thank you.

8. Mission-driven loyalty programs

Not every loyalty program seeks to reward customers. Some businesses want to deliver mission-driven loyalty programs. Some companies partner with non-profit charities so that they will match or donate on your behalf with every purchase made. 

9. Take advantage of partnerships

In addition to your resources, you can also make the most of partnerships for your reward program. For instance, it is a good idea to partner with other businesses in your local area for cross-store discounts, shared promotions, or sale-off events that can encourage customers to buy at your store more often. You should locate businesses with overlapping customer bases to make it more comfortable and more natural to create cross-promotions.


As we’ve learned, a loyalty program is a great way to nurture customers to return to your small business and help you offer good customer service. If you’re working with a small budget, it can be an excellent way to increase revenue and ignite word-of-mouth promotion.

Regarding customer loyalty programs for small businesses, ensure you’re selecting the right one, as every business is different. You can look at your competitors and see what they’re doing to get motivation on what might work for you.


Shivani is a content writer at InviteReferrals. She writes SEO articles, blogs, and guest posts for businesses to improve website ranking on SERP. She follows a balanced approach for the quality of content and its marketing. She loves to do creativity, although she had an English major in her graduation.