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How Loyalty Punch Cards Draw Customers to Your Business

Being awarded a punch card during your morning milk run at the neighborhood convenience store or after treating yourself to a fresh manicure at your favorite nail salon for that upcoming date is a simple yet rewarding experience (literally and figuratively!). Watching the cashier punch a hole and hearing the click of another step toward receiving a gallon of milk or $5 off a manicure service can be incredibly satisfying. It’s the simple things, as the phrase goes, that may really inspire us. Many of us can see our grandmothers back in their youth gathering a collection of punch cards in her purse, which becomes a staple, much like her go-to lipstick or a package of tissues—the necessities. It’s a very effective method that transcends time, age, and industries; everyone can benefit from them. That said, that’s why it’s common ground to be offered a loyalty punch card or access to a business’s customer loyalty program.

Most companies set up these loyalty programs to thank their customers for their repeat business and to encourage them to continue making purchases until they receive rewards. In the past, punch cards have been key parts of any successful loyalty program. These basic cards grandma used to carry in her purse or the digitalized punch cards conveniently tucked in apps on your phone can go a long way in terms of attracting and keeping your biggest followers, even though it may not appear that way at first glance.

What are customer loyalty punch cards?

For those who are unfamiliar, punch cards are just business cards that can be stamped after each transaction and then redeemed for rewards. They are physical in the traditional sense and typically printed on thin paper that resembles cardboard. However, a large number of businesses choose to create digital punch cards that customers may access via a mobile app or on their phone.

Customers often obtain rewards with loyalty punch cards after making a particular number of purchases. If they are using a physical card, each time they make a purchase, a hole is punched through an icon (such as a milk carton) on the card. A reward is given to the customer once all icons have been stamped. Customers typically receive a fresh punch card and begin the procedure again once a punch card has been completed and the reward has been claimed.

Digital loyalty punch cards

However, many businesses these days have used a digital punch card loyalty program to provide customer rewards. Customers generally scan a unique QR code or barcode on their phone at the register with loyalty punch cards, and an algorithm tracks purchases until they hit the reward level. Alternatively, if a person buys something online, they can typically log into their customer account and see how much of their purchases count toward their reward limit.

No matter what kind of loyalty punch card you employ, make sure to tailor your cards to your requirements. The incentives you provide should be relevant to the goods and services you presently sell, be specific to your business, and be helpful to your customers. For instance, if you own a pet store, you can offer your customers and their furry companions a business card with ten paw print icons. After all of those ten paw print icons are stamped, whether that be physically or digitally, a customer can get a free bag of dog treats or a plush toy to give to their yorkie.

While we’re on the topic, let’s further discuss real examples of loyalty punch cards and programs from businesses you may be familiar with.

Examples of customer loyalty punch cards


Many of us are familiar with the sweet satisfaction of driving through Starbucks to pick up our go-to order, especially given the love people have for their tasty treats. By signing up for their loyalty punch card program, known as Starbucks Rewards, you can be rewarded with anything from free coffee and tea refills to customized drinks and a birthday reward. You get one Star for every dollar spent when you go to the store and pay with the app. After earning as few as 25 Stars, customers can start redeeming perks like free drinks and food.


Nothing makes a pizza lover happier than a hot, fresh pizza pie and a cold bottle of their favorite soda to relax with after a long week. The digital loyalty punch card program offered by Domino’s, known as Piece of the Pie Rewards, gives customers the chance to accrue 10 points for each order through their website and mobile app. After a customer reaches six orders, or 60 points, the next pie they order is free.


The Beauty Insider rewards program created by Sephora is the ideal program for makeup enthusiasts who rely on the makeup store to stock up on their favorite red lipstick and face toner. By signing up, members earn one point for every dollar spent and receive access to savings, free samples and gifts (like a birthday freebie), members-only, limited-seat makeup classes, and exclusive experiences at different point thresholds, such as the Seasonal Savings Events hosted every year, where members of specific tiers receive an exclusive discount percentage.

Why do punch cards boost loyalty among customers?

Just to refresh ourselves, customer loyalty is the willingness of a customer to frequent your business and make repeat purchases, typically as a result of the outstanding experiences you provide them. With this concept in mind, the simple explanation for how punch cards enhance loyalty is that it encourages customers to make additional purchases as a result of you giving them the excellent experience of obtaining rewards. Because of a brand’s loyalty program, 79% of customers are more inclined to do business with it in the future, a probability that is shared by both younger and older adults. Remember how we mentioned earlier that punch card loyalty programs transcend time and age? However, there are additional factors that make punch cards a generator of loyalty.

You maintain their interest

Customers who forget about your business aren’t going to be loyal. A critical factor of customer loyalty is engagement, and punch cards keep engagement high because customers know they can get rewards from repeat interactions. Customers that receive rewards understand the value of establishing a relationship with your brand, and as a result, will return frequently. Customers are also more devoted to businesses that give them value, which is exactly what the benefits do.

Let’s say you own a sports shop. A mother who comes in with her son who’s going to be part of the hockey team and needs equipment for the upcoming season. You offer a punch card loyalty program via a mobile app, and by her signing up for the program, her purchase will go towards future purchases. In that moment, she realizes that she wants to revisit her love for yoga and decides she wants to get slowly reacquainted with it and decides to purchase that mint-colored yoga mat she eyed on her way to check out. She realizes that if she continues to visit, she will be one step closer to earning additional supplies, such as yoga blocks, a strap, and a bolster. She views it as having the best of both worlds: the opportunity to rekindle her passion while also generating rewards.

You express your gratitude

When customers feel their business is valued, they want to continue doing business with you. Rewarding them is a simple method to let them know you care. You’re enticing them to return rather than just giving them their receipt and telling them to have a nice day. Giving them a discount or a free item is a great approach to let them know you appreciate their continued preference for you over your competitors. What rewards illustrate is that you care about your customers, which it what it comes down to, which inspires them to become loyal followers of your business.

Think about how many grocery stores offer a free turkey or ham during the Thanksgiving season. In most cases, if you spend a certain amount of money during a specific period, the businesses will offer you the choice of either item to go with your homemade pumpkin pie or your grandma’s stuffing recipe. When customers know they will be rewarded for their loyalty to their hometown grocery store, they will spend more. It’s a win-win situation for both you and your beloved customers.

An emotional connection is established

Many customers could rely their purchasing choices on the emotions they develop for a brand. By providing top-notch customer service, worthwhile goods and services, or continuous engagement with the help of a loyalty punch card, you can create these connections. Together, these components enable you to forge closer connections with your customers. Customers keep coming back because the thought of getting a reward motivates them to use up all the punches on their loyalty card. They can become familiar with your company through repeated visits, which fosters an emotional bond. Customers who feel emotionally connected become loyal, and loyal customers frequently return.

You are rewarding them for minimal additional effort

Customers don’t want to feel like they have to go above and beyond just to make a purchase from your store. They desire an easy-to-follow process and prompt resolutions to their issues. In light of this, little customer effort is a foundational element of loyalty. Punch cards contribute to this since they merely encourage customer behavior that is already occurring. To receive a reward, customers don’t have to go the extra mile in order to earn a reward.

The competitors can’t compare to you

When customers have the opportunity to receive discounts and freebies from you based on their purchase behavior, it’s highly likely that they’re going to choose your business over a competitor. Why would someone miss the chance to get a free milkshake from their favorite local ice cream shop by walking down the block to the ice cream business that offers no benefits at all? Whether it’s an ice cream shop you own or a vintage clothing boutique, a physical or digital punch card for small business purchases is a great way to encourage customers to buy from you and you only. Loyalty punch cards are a terrific method to entice people to buy from you and you alone, whether you manage an ice cream shop or a vintage clothing boutique. Fortunately, you have complete control over how to modify your services in accordance with the resources at your fingertips.

Creating business loyalty punch cards

When it comes to establishing a loyalty punch card for your business, there are three main steps to follow. Let’s explore them!

1. Decide on your reward structure

It’s crucial to decide how you want to thank customers for making repeat purchases. A product discount could be offered after a certain number of visits, for example. Or, when the buyer makes 5 purchases, how about 20% off any item? People could even have the opportunity to accumulate points and receive rewards in this way. In this case, you can construct tiered point thresholds, select a point-per-purchase amount, and provide specific discounts or freebies at each level, like two points for each dollar spent and an eyebrow wax or can of hairspray when 100 points are earned at your hair salon. Be sure to consider what your capabilities are and how much you’re able to invest in customer rewards. Nearly a quarter of the marketing budgets of businesses with loyalty programs are usually devoted to CRM (customer relationship management) and program management.

2. Build your physical or digital loyalty punch card

You get to choose whether you want to go the more conventional route with a physical card or choose a more modern flare with a digital one for customers to access their loyalty punch cards. Many printing businesses and office supply stores provide relatively affordable design templates and printing services based on your unique demands if you want to create a physical card. On the other hand, there is a ton of software accessible to help you expand your virtual offerings if you’re trying to construct a digital loyalty punch card.

3. Promote your loyalty card program to your customers

Finally, it’s time to market your loyalty punch card program like the world is depending on it! Inform customers that it is available. Share information as part of your email outreach, market the program directly in your stores, and promote it on your website and social media. To improve participation and, therefore, ROI for your company, you’ll want to emphasize your program as much as you can.

Let’s suppose a recently engaged woman is looking for her dream wedding dress. As she performs wedding-related research, she notices your bridal shop’s loyalty program on her social media feed, which prompts her to visit your business. And when she learns that she can accumulate points for other items, like a lace headpiece for her flower girl or a discount off alterations, it can encourage her to keep returning until her big day as well as her friends to come to your shop and look at cocktail dresses to wear to her wedding. This can make the experience of shopping for one’s big day even more fun!

Utilizing loyalty punch cards in your business

Loyalty punch cards are a simple and powerful way to engage your customers, and are suited for just about any business, whether it’s a bridal shop or the local pet store. Punch cards are useful tools for fostering customer loyalty, regardless of whether you decide to provide them physically or set up a virtual system. Customers’ purchases from your business are actions you can profit from and reward with incentives that encourage repeat business. Here at Loyal-n-Save, we make it easy for you to create the ideal punch card program with our unique features and benefits. With Loyal-n-Save, a multi-channel campaign management software, you can easily create targeted campaigns, increase income through marketing strategies like mobile push alerts and emails, and encourage customer competition through a fun, gamified app—talk about a powerful marketing tool chock full of perks! Let’s get you started today; reach out to one of our specialists today for further information.

This article was written by Loyal-n-Save, an omni-channel customer loyalty solution for retailers looking to increase customer retention and new customer acquisition.


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Posted on Aug 9, 2022


Danielle Dixon

Danielle is a content writer at Loyal-n-Save. She specializes in writing about implementing loyalty solutions proven to help a company grow.

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