The time to move to a SAAS loyalty platform is now. Brands worldwide are taking stock of their customer engagement strategies and applications to prepare for a post-COVID world. As they do, marketers are realizing that launching a loyalty program or an overhaul of their existing program is the need of the hour.\nThis trend is being driven by significant tailwinds that include shifting customer preferences, the growth of digital-native competitors, COVID-fueled changes in customer buying patterns, and the vast amount of data brands have been collecting (yet ignoring) for years. Amid these changes, loyalty has grown beyond points and tiers to evolve into an integrated experiential model that drives strategic outcomes for brands.\nAs a result, brands need to consider where modern loyalty platforms fit within their overall customer engagement strategies and how they can seamlessly integrate loyalty with the rest of their customer-facing touchpoints. We believe that cloud-based SaaS products offer significant advantages over available legacy systems for loyalty platforms:\n\nFaster go-to-market for loyalty: SaaS products are already built, and brands need only provide the configuration requirements. SaaS loyalty platforms include robust member management, program earning mechanisms, rewards management, loyalty promotions, built-in analytics and more. Most platforms also come with a plethora of pre-built APIs to integrate with other applications, such as POS or ecommerce. Setting these up from scratch in a custom application usually takes a long time and requires many iterations.\nThe benefits of the cloud: Because SaaS loyalty products are cloud-native, they offer flexibility, scalability, dependable uptime, and a variety of pricing structures. Cloud technologies are especially suited for industries like retail that need to plan for peak seasons. In addition, the security and multi-region deployment of a typical cloud-based product improve data security and redundancy, helping prevent data breaches.\nFlexibility to evolve the program: Loyalty programs need to keep evolving based on overall strategy, changing customers and shifting market dynamics. A SaaS-based loyalty platform provides better opportunities for updates and can evolve into a more emotional program enriched by personalization and intelligence. Leading platforms in this space invest in research and development to constantly improve their products.\n\nSuccess will depend upon selecting the right SaaS platform and integrating it into the rest of the customer engagement stack\u00a0\nBrands looking to make the jump to a SaaS solution will face the critical decision of selecting the right platform for loyalty. To ensure oversight and due diligence, the process of choosing a loyalty platform should leverage:\n\nAn end-to-end evaluation framework that is designed to efficiently and effectively capture what you have today, what is available in the market\u2014and the risks, issues, and opportunities you can resolve and\/or utilize for your organization.\nA robust analysis of business (and technology) tailored to understand the need, evaluate relevant options, and select the best approach. Look for a flexible solution that can be easily integrated with your existing technology.\nA trusted partner that can help you not only select the right platform but also integrate it to make the most out of the investment. Qualities to look for in a partner include proven expertise in helping companies establish a solid digital foundation and the ability to maximize workflow efficiency, create an evolving architecture and plan for globalization.\n\nOnce the platform is chosen, stakeholders should define short, and long-term action plans and activities needed to achieve the organization\u2019s strategic objectives. At this point, the organization should foster stakeholder collaboration and program management to create a project plan, supply resources, identify key success metrics, and manage the project. Finally, the organization should integrate loyalty with the rest of the tech stack, especially regarding customer-facing applications, underlying customer data platforms (CDP) or customer relationship management (CRM) technology, and analytics.\nApplying new strategies is always a challenge, even for the most flexible companies, but brands cannot afford to ignore the benefits of loyalty in today\u2019s business environment. Selecting the right loyalty SaaS platform and leveraging an effective implementation strategy is key to launching successful loyalty programs and building relationships with satisfied customers.\nLearn more about how PK can help you win with the right loyalty SaaS platform at pkglobal.com.