Loyalty programs are a retention strategy that helps bring customers back to your business while building brand loyalty through rewards, referrals, and VIP programs. The sole purpose of a loyalty program is to turn one-time customers into repeat customers and build a loyal following.

Shopify Plus brands utilize loyalty programs to increase repeat purchase rates and boost customer retention. A branded loyalty program can also increase average order values, set you apart from competitors, and improve customer engagement. 

Shopify Plus loyalty programs transform customer relationships by engaging past, current, and future customers. Recent A loyalty program is an opportunity to reactivate dormant customers who lasthave not shopped with you a while ago. For example, customer loyalty stats show year-over-year growth in average order value (AOV) when shoppers use a brand’s loyalty program. Shoppers redeeming Smile.io rewards coupons have a 16.5% higher AOV than those using non-Smile coupons.

The Guide to Setting Up a Loyalty Program for Shopify Plus
Learn how the top Shopify Plus brands create a loyalty program that customers love. Learn from the top ecommerce brands in different industries.

What is Shopify Plus?

Shopify Plus is an enterprise-level ecommerce platform designed for high-volume brands. With Shopify Plus, brands (merchants) can tailor their ecommerce experience for their customers. You have increased customization options at checkout, priority support, automation tools that integrate with other software, and advanced scalability for a true omnichannel experience. 

How To Scale An Ecommerce Business (2024 Guide) | Smile.io
Find effective strategies to scale your commerce business. From optimizing operations to customer loyalty, learn how to drive sustainable growth.

Shopify Plus stands out from other Shopify plans because it offers the ultimate toolkit for those looking to elevate their online store to the enterprise level. It provides the infrastructure needed to handle massive traffic spikes, complex integrations, and global expansion. 

screenshot of Shopify plus features and platform
Shopify Plus has features to take Shopify merchants even further

Challenges when launching a loyalty program

Numerous common challenges can occur when launching a loyalty program with the wrong partner or with a tech partner and app that doesn’t specialize in loyalty programs. These include integration complexities with your existing tech stack, migration problems if you move platforms, program management, and generating customer engagement. Understanding and evaluating these challenges is essential to prepare for a successful loyalty program implementation. 

Strategic planning and finding the right tech partner can solve these challenges for complex ecommerce brands on Shopify Plus.

screenshot of dr. sams loyalty program
Dr. Sams migrated to Smile.io and saw big results in its first week

Dr. Sam’s took this approach when migrating to Smile.io from another provider. After using another loyalty program provider for years, Dr. Sam’s was unsatisfied with its loyalty program’s performance. Frustrated with its current program’s engagement rates and price, the team switched to Smile.io. 

In just one week of its relaunch with Smile.io, Dr. Sam’s achieved a 98.71% redemption rate and over £25,000 in Smile-Generated Value (orders with a Smile.io rewards code). Check out the full case study

Leveraging Shopify Plus features, such as embedded content and extensions at checkout, can help you overcome these common challenges. You can keep your loyalty program top-of-mind with embedded storefront components like points on the product page, dedicated loyalty landing pages, and redemption at checkout.

screenshot of a shopify brand redeeming points at checkout
Keep your loyalty program in front of customers with redemption at checkout

Embed loyalty program content across your site with: 

  • Points on the product page.
  • Points on the account page.
  • Redemption at checkout.
  • An SEO-friendly dedicated loyalty landing page. 
Increase Conversions with Embedded Loyalty Content
Increase conversions with embedded loyalty content on your ecommerce site on product pages, account pages, loyalty landing pages, and more.

5 Benefits of Shopify Plus loyalty programs

1. Enhanced customer retention

It’s estimated that 41% of an ecommerce store’s revenue is created by only 8% of its customers, and the top 5% of customers generate 35% of revenue.

Loyalty programs on Shopify Plus are powerful tools for creating a brand community that drives repeat purchases and nurtures customer relationships. By offering meaningful rewards, discounts, and exclusive perks to returning customers, your rewards program incentivizes continued engagement and fosters a sense of appreciation and belonging to your customers. 

Shopify Plus merchants can deepen customer loyalty and drive sustained revenue growth with a loyalty program that speaks to what customers are actually looking for. One of the best features of Shopify Plus is deep analytics, which helps businesses make data-driven decisions for the company and overall loyalty strategy. 

What is a Repeat Customer, and Why are they Profitable?
Repeat customers are more profitable than one-time shoppers. Learn the definition, benefits, and ways to identify and increase repeat customers.

2. Increased average order value (AOV)

Average order value is a valuable insight when looking at your ecommerce store’s health. The higher the AOV, the more profitable you are. Our loyalty in ecommerce data indicates that AOV increased year-over-year in 2023 for most industries in ecommerce. 

Rewarding customers can significantly incentivize higher spending per transaction by tapping into psychological principles such as reciprocity and the desire for value maximization. When customers are offered rewards, whether in the form of discounts, loyalty points, or exclusive perks, they feel appreciated and compelled to spend more.

How to Calculate Average Order Value & 5 Tips to Increase It
Looking to discover your average order value? Learn to calculate average order value here; as well as tips and tricks to increase it!

Additionally, the prospect of unlocking greater rewards encourages customers to maximize their purchases to reach thresholds for earning bonuses or advancing to higher tiers in a VIP program. This is where strategically planning your rewards and loyalty to align with customer preferences pays off. Launching a program based on your customers’ wants can effectively stimulate higher spending per transaction while fostering customer satisfaction and loyalty.

3. Better customer insights

One key benefit of a Shopify Plus loyalty program is that it provides a wealth of first-party data. First-party data is information collected directly from your customers or website visitors. It can be collected on your website, through your app, or via channels like email, a loyalty program, and text/SMS.

Data collected from loyalty program interactions is a goldmine of valuable insights into customer preferences and behavior. Customers’ purchase frequencies, AOVs, and other data points can be seen.

Key retention metrics to focus on with your loyalty program are repeat purchase rates, customer churn rate, and repeat purchase probability. Shopify Plus merchants can access these reports to decide where to guide their business.

Smile.io | Analytics and reporting
Elevate your loyalty strategy with access to 25+ specialized reports.

Businesses gain a deeper understanding of what resonates with their customers by analyzing which rewards and incentives drive the most engagement and conversions. Moreover, tracking customer interactions within the loyalty program, such as redemption patterns, frequency of purchases, and engagement with exclusive offers, allows businesses to segment their customer base and personalize marketing efforts accordingly. 

How The Minifig Co. Uses Embedded Loyalty to Drive Sales
Discover how a LEGO toy brand, The Minifig Co., boosted AOV, purchase frequency, and redemption rates with a seamlessly embedded loyalty program.

4. Improved customer engagement

Building a personalized loyalty program for your customers is vital in elevating customer engagement and fostering brand loyalty. Businesses demonstrate a deep understanding of their customers by tailoring rewards and experiences to individual preferences, purchase history, and behavior. This personal touch enhances the overall shopping experience and strengthens the emotional connection between customers and the brand. 

The Minifig Co. is a LEGO minifig toy brand that has seen a 52% increase in its rewards redemption rate year over year due to personalized loyalty activity for its program members.

The Minifig Co. was able to embed loyalty program content across its product and customer account pages. This helped users see their point balances while they were shopping, resulting in active loyalty program participants spending an average of 57% more per order with Minifig.

“It’s helping people engage with our rewards program better! Getting to see the points earned on a product or your points balance directly on the account page is incredibly helpful,” Garett says about how his customers use the new embedded content. See the full case study here.

5. Competitive advantage

A well-executed loyalty program can be a powerful differentiator for a Shopify Plus store, setting it apart from competitors. By offering a seamless and rewarding shopping experience, your ecommerce brand can attract and retain customers seeking value beyond just products or services. Personalized rewards and experiences tailored to individual preferences can create a sense of exclusivity and deepen customer engagement, fostering long-term loyalty.

By leveraging Shopify Plus’ flexibility and scalability, you can innovate and adapt your loyalty and rewards program to meet evolving customer needs and market trends, demonstrating agility and responsiveness that competitors may lack. This is especially true if you can find ways to extend your loyalty program with bonus points, gamification, and using your rewards as an event-based marketing tool.

How To Run a Successful Bonus Points Event
Drive rewards and loyalty program participation. Here is a how-to guide on how to run a successful bonus points event for your rewards program.

Factors to consider when choosing a loyalty program

Integration with Shopify Plus

The importance of choosing a loyalty program that integrates seamlessly with Shopify Plus lies in its ability to optimize customer engagement, streamline program management, and drive sustainable ROI. 

A well-integrated loyalty program with Shopify Plus ensures that data flows seamlessly between the loyalty program and the backend of your ecommerce analytics. This enables real-time tracking of customer interactions, purchases, purchase frequency, and reward redemptions. This integration allows businesses to deliver personalized experiences and rewards based on up-to-date customer information. 

A seamless integration makes program management easier, with industry and program reports tailored to help you make strategic decisions and analyze data insights.

The most significant consideration when choosing a loyalty program that integrates with Shopify Plus is whether your loyalty program can grow and scale as your business grows. By leveraging Shopify Plus’ native features and capabilities, integrated loyalty programs can quickly scale and adapt to ensure a healthy ROI. This is a perfect fit and where Smile.io comes into play with Shopify Plus brands. Smile.io is forward-compatible with Shopify Plus and it’s native features. 

Customization capabilities 

A customized, branded loyalty program is essential for a loyalty program to succeed. You should tailor your loyalty program to align with your unique brand value, aesthetics, and messaging, ensuring consistency across all customer touch points. 

Creating a custom loyalty program enables businesses to tailor rewards, incentives, and experiences to match their customer base’s specific preferences and behaviors. This personalized approach enhances the loyalty program’s relevance and perceived value and increases customer satisfaction and engagement.

Top 10 Customer Loyalty Programs of the Year (2023)
We compiled a list of our top 10 customer loyalty programs of 2023. These 10 ecommerce brands each have a unique aspect on their loyalty programs

Australian jewelry brand Francesca aims to offer customers the best prices. Its loyalty program, Franc Rewards, allows customers to redeem discounts ranging from $15 to $200. The brand’s loyalty program name, currency name, and branding make it stand out from competitors. 


When implementing a loyalty program, it’s essential to consider if there are additional features you can utilize as your business grows. Whether it’s additional reports, omnichannel compatibility, or features that can help engage customers and drive ROI. 

Smile.io | Loyalty points programs for growing businesses
Increase retention and boost customer engagement with an easy to use loyalty program built for growing businesses!

Having a loyalty program that can offer scalability is vital so you don’t start from zero once you hit a wall and discover your loyalty program partner can’t provide a service you need or desire. By ensuring scalability, businesses can future-proof their loyalty programs and support sustained growth while maintaining high customer satisfaction and engagement levels.

Key Takeaways:

 - Shopify Plus brands leverage points, referral, and VIP loyalty programs to increase repeat purchase rates, boost customer retention, and enhance brand loyalty.

- Loyalty programs transform customer relationships by engaging past, current, and future customers, reactivating dormant ones, and increasing average order values.

- Strategically planning personalized rewards aligned with customer preferences stimulates higher spending and fosters satisfaction and loyalty.

- Data collected from loyalty program interactions offers insights into customer preferences and behavior.

- Leveraging Shopify Plus' flexibility and scalability enables innovation and adaptation to meet evolving customer needs, demonstrating agility and responsiveness.

Loyalty programs are a retention strategy that will drive repeat purchases and offer an additional valuable touchpoint that can foster brand loyalty. Shopify Plus bands that offer loyalty programs have built strong communities that foster loyalty around a singular product, service, or band mission. Shopify Plus loyalty programs transform customer relationships by engaging past, current, and future customers and inviting them to be more than just customers but members of a community. 

Launch your Shopify Plus loyalty program.
Launch with Smile.io and increase ROI