is now powering over 100,000 loyalty programs for ecommerce merchants around the world. It’s been an amazing journey to this point, and we’re not planning on slowing down any time soon.

When we started it was rare to see a loyalty program on an ecommerce store. Now, over 100,000 business owners and entrepreneurs trust us with their loyalty programs as a key part of their customer retention strategy.

So what’s changed? And what will loyalty look like in the years to come? Let’s dive in!

Why are more ecommerce brands running loyalty programs?

Business owners want to own the relationship with their customers

Over the past few years, merchants have begun to understand the importance of owning the relationship with their shoppers. Typically, this is effective when done through great email and SMS marketing. But merchants have increasingly begun to supplement these efforts by also providing shoppers with a loyalty program. Why? Rewarding shoppers through easy-to-understand loyalty programs is often the key factor that keeps the relationship fresh between a shopper and the brand.

Significant increase in the cost of advertising prices

The other tectonic shift in ecommerce over the past few years has been the consistent inflation of advertising prices. The Wild West days of 2015-ish when drop-shipping brands could buy ads and then make money on the first sale are long gone. Merchants have realized that to acquire a shopper, it often has to be at a break-even cost—or even at a loss—with the goal of profiting on future purchases. This makes a loyalty program extremely important for brands that have big repeat purchase potential—such as apparel, coffee, supplements, jewelry, and many more.

Making loyalty easy for merchants and shoppers

We’ve focused on making Smile Rewards super easy to use for merchants (as in you can set up Smile Rewards on your ecommerce store in only a few minutes) as well as for shoppers. This has led to the 100,000 business owners and entrepreneurs running today, who have collectively rewarded hundreds of millions of their end shoppers.

The future of loyalty programs

While we’ve made things easy so far, things need to get a whole lot easier in the years to come. At, we spend a lot of time thinking about the future of loyalty programs, and how they can help merchants provide value to shoppers. There’s one important trend that we continue to see.

The friction of interacting with loyalty programs will decrease to zero, while the visibility of loyalty programs will span further across the internet.

As we think about the next generation of loyalty programs, we know that they will be increasingly effortless for shoppers to use. They’ll show up in the right places, at the right moments, and require no background knowledge for customers to make the most of them.

Loyalty programs will also continue to appear in more places across the internet—in marketing, on ecommerce websites, in your wallet, in shopping results, and more. The loyalty programs of the future are coming, and Smile is leading the way.

What’s next for Smile Rewards’s mission is to help as many merchants as possible to encourage more repeat sales and customer loyalty. We’ve already accomplished a lot towards this mission over the past several years, and I’m really proud of our team and all the progress we’ve made.

Transitioning to a remote-first, globally-distributed team has certainly come with its unique challenges, but has ultimately enabled us to better support our merchants as we continue to grow. Since we made the decision in 2020 to go remote-first, we’ve been able to hire the best talent from across the globe and can now offer our merchants 24/7 support without compromising our commitment to a true work-life balance for our team members.

As we proudly pass through the milestone of 100,000 merchants with Smile-powered loyalty programs, we’re looking forward to the future. That future entails continuing to do our best to help our current merchants succeed, welcoming hundreds of thousands of new merchants to start their customer loyalty journey, and evolving what the very idea of a “loyalty program” means for the next generation.

Take a look at our record-breaking numbers from 2021's Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend alone to see just how many shoppers have already delighted in the amazing loyalty programs run by our growing community of 100,000 dedicated merchants.

I'm excited about reaching this significant milestone with the whole Smile team, and we're looking forward to another year of incredible growth. Now, on to a million!

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