We’re two months into 2018, we thought we’d to take through 2017 to find out our favourite loyalty programmes. This time, Brandfire have looked at 5 Best Loyalty Programs of 2017 around the world and at home here in Ireland.

There are 3.8 billion US loyalty members and 1.6 billion of those are members of retail loyalty programmes.

Loyalty program are a important strategic and tactical play for companies.

  • It’s a leading indicator of consumer repurchase intentions and loyalty
  • It’s a point of differentiation
  • It reduces customer churn
  • It increases customer lifetime value
  • It reduces negative word of mouth
  • It’s cheaper to retain customers than acquire new ones

In addition, customer loyalty leads to profits. Increasing customer retention by just 5%. can boost profits by 25 – 95% ( Bain & Co)

So not surprisingly, Investments in customer loyalty programs are trending up. For example, 57 percent of marketers plan to increase spending in customer loyalty programs in 2018.

So with this in mind, Brandfire has decided to share with you some of our favorite loyalty programs around the world and at home here in Ireland.

1. Supervalu

We starting at home with Supervalu Real Rewards. In every respect this can be described as Ireland first Coaltion Loyalty program.

A coalition loyalty program is a multi-company/brands  rewards program. Members who are participate have the opportunity to earn points from several partner brands and can redeem the points in any of the participating partners brands.

Successful coalition programs will almost always have a supermarket to drive that frequent shopping experience. Other partners will include a fuel partner, a utility partner and a credit/debit card sponsor. a department store sponsor, a credit or debit card sponsor, etc.

Supervalu has already partnered with Bank of Ireland and Electric Ireland and we can expect to see more partners come on board in 2018.

In addition, SuperValu has launched eShops, an online shopping portal centre with more than 100 online brands, that allows customers to earn reward points when purchasing goods from the likes of eBayExpediaDebenhams, and Eason.

Supervalu rewards their customer with a point for every € spent in Supervalu.

Under the new scheme customers who link their Bank of Ireland credit cards to SuperValu’s loyalty card will earn 250 bonus points, which can be swapped for money-off vouchers.

Customers will also earn two points for every €1 spend when shopping in SuperValu with their Bank of Ireland cards and one point for every €10 spent on other purchases.

By linking their loyalty card to their Electric Ireland accounts they will get 250 points, which can be used to offset their energy bills.

SuperValu has also launched a loyalty app which will allow customers to access their rewards online and on their mobiles.  The app will also house vouchers and coupons. So no need to worry anymore about forgetting the coupons at home.

This loyalty program provides customer with multiple ways to earn and redeem points. The app provides a super easy way to collect this points, store your information and more importantly spend those well earned points.

2. Pizza Hut Delivery

Like lots of home delivery QSR brands, Pizza Hut Delivery in the US is rewarding customer for ordering on their mobile rather that the phone.

We like the simplicity of this program. The more you spend, the more you are rewarded.

This is a points based program where members earn 2 points for every dollar spend. Members can earn a free medium pizza when they have earned 200 points ( spend $100) or can upgrade to a large pizza with 50 points ( spend $25). So it is not too difficult to start earning some real value in points.

Pizza Hut delivery compete directly with Domino’s. This program is described as having “unlimited points” since it allows users to earn on every dollar, contrary to Domino’s Piece of the Pie which provides a limit on points earned.

Domino’s Piece of the Pie’s biggest weakness is Hut Rewards’ greatest strength. While Domino’s only allows users to earn a maximum of 10 points on every order, Hut Rewards’ earning potential is unlimited.

This is a great example of a loyalty program where it is easy to earn points and easy to spend points. Moreover, members can start to earn real value in the points quickly which encourages engagement, more frequent shopping and higher average spend.

3. Sephora’s

We are staying the US with another great loyalty program example – Sephora. Sephora is one of the largest cosmetic chains in the world with over 3000 stores nationwide and over 400 in the US. The Beauty Pass was launched in 2014 and today has more than  1 million customer.

This is a great example of a tiered program where members can move up tiers as they spend more. The more profitable/ valuable customers are treated differently and rewarded accordingly.

Below is a good example of an infographic which highlights the key earning and redeeming opportunities.

The Sephora has also done a wonderful job of creating an exclusive element to their program.

Members who earn “VIB” status after spending $350 earn handpicked gifts and a free makeover. And at VIB Rouge status, with a threshold of $1,000, members unlock the door to exclusive events, and additional merchandise tailored to their preferences.

Providing members with distinct ways to amass and use loyalty rewards points can not only help your program stand out from a crowded playing field, but can also drive growth and retention.

The loyalty program also leverages member preferences to personalize the member’s experience through product recommendations and beauty tips, but also uses that information to create curated product sets for rewards.

This is a great example of also using their CRM and transactional data to communicate and provide rewards that will resonate with member and it reflects the member shopping experience and preferences.

4. North Face VIPeak Rewards Program

North Face launched their program in April 2013 and is a great example of combining CRM insights with rewarding customers.

VIPeak is a points program where members receive points when they buy online and in branded  North Face stores.

VIPeak also provides other points earning opportunities when members participate in activities such as running events or participate in in-store activity.

The redemption model is a little different from some of our previous examples.

Once a year, members are invited to redeem their accumulated points from an experience-filled reward catalog such as trips, personal experiences with some of North Faces sponsored athletes, tickets to events etc.

If a member is not interested in redeeming from the catalog, they will be automatically issued a reward certificate that can be used in-store or online.

The ROI certainly stacks up with over 400,000 members and the average member spending 20% more that non- members.

Data Analysis’s is a key strategic component with a continual focus on customer insights and testing various projects through their data

North Face study purchase behavior and tailor messaging to that. The communication is built around a number of factors such male and female triggers and weather.

VIPearks also monitors and responses to social media. The track sentiment to understand what comments are out there with their brands and dive down into product feedback.

VIPeak is a good example of creating a program that rewards members with treats that reflect the brands and the brands customers. Activities and experience are core  values of the North Face program and this is very much reflected in their loyalty program.

5. Mastercard – SCAN, SPIN AND WIN

Our last loyalty program uses a combination of gamificiation and mobile only.

Mastercard in Denmark wanted to strengthen their position in the “Everyday spend”. They knew that their customers recognised the value of a using their Mastercard for those big purchases but what about the smaller purchases such as lunch or even that cup of coffee.

So they introduced “ Scan, Spin and Win” – a game app that would increases customer loyalty, sales and entertains customers all at once.

Customer simply  scanned their Mastecard receipt and uploaded to the rewards site. The member had the opportunity to spin the wheel to win one of 49,000 instant prizes.

The prices vary from free magazine subscriptions, discounts on movie tickets, to golden tickets to enter a competitions where they can win large prizes such as travel gift certificates worth $4,600.

The ROI  was very impressive. In the first 4 weeks, Mastercard enjoyed 150,000 unique interactions and there was a 23% increase in transaction value.


These are only some of the loyalty programs that caught our attention last year. While they are all different, the same core principles of a successful loyalty programme applies:

  1. Easy to register
  2. Easy to earn
  3. Easy to redeem
  4. Rewards that resonate with the customer

These are just a small selection of some of our favourites but it might give you some inspiration making your next loyalty programme successful. If we’ve missed any of yours, let us know!

Posted in Loyalty & Rewards