A sophisticated customer loyalty program is vital to increasing sales and customer lifetime value (CLV) for any business.


A loyalty program is key to sustaining long-term growth and improving customer retention. It costs five times less to retain an existing customer than it does to acquire a new one. And research shows that a customer who signs up to a loyalty program is 47% more likely to buy from you again. It pays to invest in a rewards program for your most loyal customers.


LoyaltyLion and Smile.io are two of the most popular loyalty schemes in the market. Both provide insightful analytics, enable customisation and allow strong integrations, but which one is better for your business?


It is important to choose a loyalty platform that suits your brand and your customers. Here’s a breakdown of how LoyaltyLion and Smile.io compare in the way they approach analytics, customisation and integration.

What Does LoyaltyLion Do?

LoyaltyLion is an advanced customer engagement platform that surpasses traditional loyalty programs. Unlike simple points systems, LoyaltyLion offers a comprehensive approach to building and sustaining customer loyalty. The platform employs personalised rewards and exclusive perks to encourage repeat purchases and foster long-term customer relationships.


Whether you're a large eCommerce enterprise or a smaller boutique, LoyaltyLion is designed to create meaningful customer experiences. It functions as more than just a loyalty program; it serves as a strategic tool for turning one-time buyers into dedicated brand advocates. 

What is Smile.io?

Smile.io is a comprehensive customer rewards platform designed to facilitate the implementation and management of loyalty programs for businesses. Through seamless integration, businesses can establish and customise their own loyalty initiatives. Smile.io allows for the rewarding of customers based on various actions, such as purchases and engagement on social media. It goes beyond simple points systems, offering a strategic tool for fostering customer loyalty and community building.


Businesses can tailor loyalty programs to align with their brand identity, creating a personalised approach to customer retention. Smile.io serves as a practical solution for transforming one-time buyers into loyal, engaged customers by providing a structured framework for incentivising and rewarding customer interactions.

How Do LoyaltyLion and Smile.io Compare?

When it comes to customer loyalty and rewards programs, both LoyaltyLion and Smile.io stand out as leading platforms, each with its unique strengths. LoyaltyLion places a strong emphasis on creating a personalised and engaging loyalty journey, going beyond traditional point systems. It's a platform that excels in turning one-time buyers into devoted brand enthusiasts through a blend of exclusive perks and tailored rewards.


Smile.io also offers a comprehensive toolkit for businesses to seamlessly implement and manage loyalty programs. Its focus is on providing a versatile solution that allows businesses to reward customers for a range of actions. While LoyaltyLion emphasises a holistic and experiential approach, Smile.io is known for its practical and customisable loyalty program framework. Let's dive into the specifics to uncover how these platforms cater to different facets of customer loyalty.



Analytics allow you to make informed decisions and can make a big difference when you are competing against other businesses within your market. Data and insights help you become more aware of what your ROI is and allow you to discern what’s driving sales and where you can make improvements. Analytics for your loyalty program is just as important.


Both Smile.io and LoyaltyLion offer analytics and insights across their loyalty products, but we’ve found that LoyaltyLion provides a more comprehensive approach with deeper analytics and more advanced tools.



Smile provides only basic analytics around members, points and referrals. Customers have to upgrade to get dashboards that offer more in-depth reporting. Their basic plan focuses on value generated, rewards issued, referral purchases, referral traffic, points earned/redeemed and program members with granular details for the past 30 days. Advanced analytics is available from their Starter plan upwards. Smile only provides on-demand access to your loyalty data at their Plus plan level. 



On the other hand, LoyaltyLion offers enhanced analytics and insights on customer behaviour. You can use these insights to target high value and at risk customers and increase CLV. LoyaltyLion has a feature called ‘Customer Value Snapshot' which gives you access to a comprehensive analysis of your customer’s buying behaviour. With this information you can build a better understanding of your customer’s value and you can create more revenue-driven marketing efforts. LoyaltyLion also has advanced A/B testable tools which will allow you to test in real-time, iterate and optimise your strategies to ensure they have the greatest impact on your loyalty program. Additionally, LoyaltyLion’s Recommendations Board uses your data to prioritise loyalty tasks according to the ROI they will deliver ensuring that you can accelerate your marketing efforts and increase the impact of your loyalty program.



Having the ability to customise your loyalty program is key to ensuring your customers have access to on-brand loyalty experience. You’ll also be able to reflect your brand values across your loyalty program. Both of these elements are key to building loyalty, customer retention and increasing revenue.


As your store grows, you'll also need a loyalty platform provider that is able to scale with you. Customisation is key when it comes to scalability.



Smile only works with a pop-up loyalty widget with limited customisation. With Smile, there is no SDK available and a full-page program is not an option. Any decent level of customisation required by a merchant will be either tough to accomplish or extremely expensive because Smile is a plug-and-play loyalty solution.


Smile’s loyalty program isn’t meant for advanced merchants who may have headless Shopify, multiple sites or a B2B channel and therefore is not an ideal loyalty solution for merchants who want more freedom to customise.



LoyaltyLion offers a fully integrated, customisable loyalty page that offers different levels of customisation based on the resources, capabilities and size of your team. Through LoyaltyLion’s Loyalty Page Editor you can create and customise a loyalty page displaying your customers’ loyalty information and alter the page’s colour palette to align with your brand.


LoyaltyLion provides comprehensive SDK and API support which means you can work with developers and eCommerce agencies to build a loyalty experience that mirrors your brand identity and create a fully interactive page within your store’s code with no iframe or pop-up.



Strong integrations will allow you to use your whole marketing suite seamlessly to power your business and drive internal productivity. The importance of a strong and easy-to-use customer rewards program that integrates with a variety of solutions can’t be underestimated. It could be the difference between you and your competitor.



For Smile.io, integrations are one of their strengths. Smile has integrations with leading email marketing solutions like Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor Commerce, and with customer review platforms like Yotpo, Okendo and Gorgias.



LoyaltyLion takes pride in their integrations with best-in-class technology providers. While Smile.io offers an array of integrations, LoyaltyLion provides greater depth with their integrations, particularly with Email Service Providers (ESP).


For example, LoyaltyLion has a market-leading integration with Klaviyo for email triggers including custom activities. While Smile pushes across only five fields with no pre-built triggers, LoyaltyLion pushes over twenty-four dynamic fields enabling extensive integration with Klaviyo.

Ease-of-Use and Setup

Time is always of the essence. That's why it's important to note how easily a loyalty program can be implemented.



Smile.io excels in setup and ease of use, presenting a user-friendly experience for businesses. The intuitive interface facilitates the customisation of reward structures, allowing businesses to align loyalty initiatives with brand identities and customer preferences effortlessly. However, it's worth noting that while Smile.io provides a high degree of customisation, some users may find certain elements slightly limited in flexibility, potentially restricting the creation of highly unique loyalty program structures. Additionally, for larger-scale businesses with intricate requirements, Smile.io's integration framework may require careful consideration to ensure it aligns seamlessly with their specific needs. 



LoyaltyLion stands out for its user-friendly setup, offering businesses a seamless journey from integration to day-to-day management of loyalty programs. The setup process is designed to be intuitive, guiding users through the configuration of comprehensive loyalty programs effortlessly. LoyaltyLion's strength lies in its extensive customisation options, enabling businesses to tailor loyalty initiatives to specific brand identities and customer preferences with ease. However, it's essential to note that the platform's feature-rich nature may present a steeper learning curve for some users, particularly those new to loyalty program integration. While LoyaltyLion provides a wealth of customisation, businesses may need some time to explore and optimise the full suite of capabilities. Despite these considerations, LoyaltyLion remains a powerful choice for eCommerce enterprises seeking a robust and flexible loyalty program solution.


Customer Support

Choosing a tool for your eCommerce store, no matter what it is, is not merely a transaction but a partnership, and having reliable customer support is akin to having a trusty ally in your corner. Whether you're navigating the integration of a new solution, troubleshooting unexpected issues, or seeking guidance on maximising the tool's potential, responsive and knowledgeable customer support can be the linchpin of success.



Smile.io has recognised the pivotal role of customer support when it comes to the success of merchant loyalty programs. They offer easily accessible customer support through live chat for all plans, including their Free plan. However, should you have the Plus plan, you'll have access to their Jump the Line Priority Customer Support which, as it says, means you'll jump the line and be first to receive assistance.



LoyaltyLion truly takes their customer support seriously. Not only do all plans receive basic live and email chat support, with the Plus plan taking priority, but they also provide onboarding support by means of either a Manager or Senior Manager, depending on your plan. They will also provide initial strategy and setup advice for all plans. Brands on the Advanced and Plus plans receive pre-launch support and access to a Customer Success Manager (CSM). On the Advanced plan, you'll receive an Account Manager at renewal and access to business reviews bi-annually. On the Plus plan, your Account Manager will be available at all times and your business reviews will be available quarterly. Those on the Plus plan will also receive post-launch optimisation support.



Of course, price always plays a factor when you're deciding on the best third-party application for your brand. Remember, it's important to note all the additional features you'll receive on each plan for each tool. Until you do that, though, here's a summary.



Starter plan: $49/mo provides up to 500 monthly orders.

Growth plan: $199/mo provides up to 2,500 monthly orders and you'll be able to offer your customers items like free product rewards and VIP tiers.

Plus plan: $999/mo provides up to 7,500 monthly orders and you'll receive a higher level of customisation capabilities along with extra data access.



LoyaltyLion's pricing is very specific due to the extensive provisions and capabilities. Their Classic plan is $399/mo while their Advanced and Plus plans are based on consultation. 


Why LoyaltyLion is the Best Customer Loyalty App For Your Shopify Store

LoyaltyLion is our preferred partner over Smile.io because LoyaltyLion offers more insightful analytics, a greater level of customisation and stronger integrations with best-in-class technology solutions.


With their enhanced analytics and insights we can target high-value customers and reliably increase CLV. Equally, LoyaltyLion allows a high degree of customisation which enables us to experiment and create a loyalty program that reflects our values. On top of that, LoyaltyLion’s strong integrations enable us to produce a broad and cohesive tech stack.


LoyaltyLion is a loyalty platform powerhouse that is helping Blend Commerce reach new customers, strengthen relationships with existing customers and exceed our loyalty program goals.


Want to learn more about how a loyalty program can take your business to the next level? Get in touch with us at Blend.

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Marketing Strategist

Our problem-solving enthusiast and Marketing Strategist, Carmen, has expertise that lies in the realms of analytics and strategy, where she’s been known to work magic and famously knows all the answers. What truly sets Carmen apart is her unquenchable thirst for knowledge. She’s continually adding new skills to her arsenal, all with the goal of making Blend an even better place and providing comprehensive solutions for our clients when it comes to their overall marketing strategy, whether on-site or through marketing.

Published: December 20 2021

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