I’m excited to share that our evaluation of loyalty technology providers — “The Forrester Wave™: Loyalty Technology Platforms, Q2 2019” — is now live. In our 28-criterion evaluation, we identified the top 13 loyalty technology vendors — Aimia, Annex Cloud, Brierley+Partners, Cheetah Digital, Clutch, Collinson, Comarch, CrowdTwist, Epsilon, ICF Next, Kobie, Merkle/HelloWorld, and SessionM — and researched, analyzed, and scored them.

While this is not Forrester’s first loyalty Wave, it is the first time we’ve focused on standalone technology providers rather than hybrid solutions that combine technology and services. This reflects the continued investments in technology from the vendor side and the increasing importance buyers place on tech features and functionality in the vendor selection process.

As we found in our last Wave evaluation (“The Forrester Wave™: Customer Loyalty Solutions, Q3 2017“), the vendor landscape has largely embraced an evolution beyond purely programmatic loyalty. So with this evaluation, we wanted to see how the technology in particular has evolved to manage both the transactional and emotional aspects of relationship management. The results? It’s still a work in progress. All the providers are investing in data management, analytics, AI, and emotional measurement capabilities, which will help them meet the needs of modern loyalty. However, they remain most proficient in programmatic basics such as currency and promotions management.

As core loyalty management functionality becomes commoditized, the ability to transform data into customer insights that marketers can actually use, to encourage ease of use with flexible and usable tools for promotions and performance management, and to enable integration and partnerships that help marketers embed and integrate their loyalty programs across the organization will dictate which providers lead the pack. Vendors that can provide embedded analytics, marketer-friendly tools, and partner ecosystems will take the lead and help their clients engender long-term relationships with their customers.

To see how the evaluated vendors stack up, Forrester clients can find the full report here. Please keep in mind that the written report just scratches the surface of the full evaluation. To view the detailed evaluations and create a customized ranking, download the Excel sheet associated with the Wave graphic (Figure 1 in the report).

What’s next? We just kicked off another loyalty Wave evaluation of service providers. Stay tuned for the results, which will publish in July. If you’re interested in digging deeper into the findings of the technology evaluation or want to discuss the loyalty vendor landscape more broadly, please schedule an inquiry.