Digital Punch Cards: The Future of Loyalty Programs

Ira Nachtigal
April 14, 2021
3 min read
person using virtual punch cards with the tablet
Ira Nachtigal
April 14, 2021
3 min read

Businesses have depended on digital punch cards to maintain customer loyalty for centuries. But times are changing with the advancement of technology, and tangible loyalty punch cards are gradually becoming obsolete.

Thankfully, new technology and a global health crisis have made way for an even better alternative: digital loyalty punch cards.

What are Loyalty Punch Cards?

A punch card is a card or piece of paper that a consumer presents to a seller, which is, over time, filled with a certain number of stamps, based on different purchases. A loyalty punch card serves to allow a customer to eventually claim a reward based on the points collected.

But this outdated form of loyalty marketing strategy is not without its drawbacks.

Customers who use traditional punch cards are always at risk of either losing, tearing, or forgetting their cards when buying products. Not to mention that it raises sanitation concerns amid a global health crisis.

Digital punch cards are used by a variety of businesses —from restaurants to salons— in order to secure client loyalty. But recent research has shown the vast majority of consumers would rather use a virtual punching card than an actual card.

Creating and Customizing A Virtual Punch Card

To make a digital loyalty punch card, you first need to join a loyalty program that uses a punch card app. Once that’s done, it is up to you to determine the details  — such as the number of stamps a buyer should acquire before they are eligible to claim their loyalty reward. A loyalty program can help you decide whether the punches are done manually or automatically.

After you set up an account with a loyalty program, connect the punch card loyalty app for small business’ device, and you are good to go!

How do You Use a Punch Card App?


You use a virtual punching card the same way you use a regular punch card, only this time, through your phone. This way, clients avoid losing their cards and having to get a new one every time they come in. With every purchase, a client will get a virtual stamp, and after they receive the required number of stamps, they can receive their reward.

Why Use Digital Punch Cards?

There are plenty of loyalty program benefits with your digital punch cards.

First and foremost, it is a highly practical method of securing customer loyalty.

Once processed by your device, the punch card information can never be lost. Even more, you can use the collected data to follow your clients’ purchasing habits and keep track of your return on investment (ROI). Additionally, you completely eliminate the risk of fraud by getting counterfeit cards.

Keep up with the Times

Peoples’ increasing dependence on smartphones is yet another good reason to employ this loyalty tool. It gives you easy access to millennials, who represent the biggest generation group in the US at over 70 million.

Therefore, it is highly likely that a significant percent of your customers will be millennials and expect or prefer the digital alternative of punching cards.

Data-backed Efficacy

Research has shown that it is cheaper and easier to retain customers than to obtain new ones.

It is more likely that a customer will shop at a place that has a loyalty program, because who doesn’t want well-earned freebies? 

Employing a virtual punch card and digital loyalty card creator encourages repeat purchases and keeps customers coming back to your brand for more. One study found that 90% of consumers prefer a digital punch card to a paper one. Even more, a new loyalty analysis in the US showed that over 70 percent of Americans use smartphones, which makes virtual punch cards the real deal. 

Get Closer to your Customers

Another stark difference between a paper and virtual punch card is the wide range of possibilities that the latter open for your business. A virtual punch card creates a better opportunity for you to communicate with loyal clients, whether through messages or notifications. Sending clients regular notifications also keeps them updated on your latest loyalty promotions.

Unlike paper cards where purchases are usually fixed to a single product, a digital card allows you to earn promotions and rewards based on in-depth information gathered through the app.

You can create a special offer for a customer’s birthday or go the extra mile and notify customers via phone when they are near your business location.

With Glue Loyalty, You Get the Optimum Punch Card App

Virtual punch cards are the future and Glue Loyalty’s advanced loyalty program and meticulously designed digital punch app are at the forefront of the business.

Glue’s automated loyalty programs give your business the opportunity to exponentially expand its customer base, all while retaining your existing clients through a smart, intuitive, and simple-to-use app Glue is designed to reward consumers based on their own preferences and keep them coming back.

Related articles