7-Eleven is the number one convenience retailer in the world, so it’s incredibly exciting when the company announces its latest innovations, especially for us when it comes to the evolution of its 7Rewards loyalty program in the USA. Launched as a digital platform in 2015, 7Rewards was initially introduced with a digital stamp card, focused exclusively on its iconic drinks such as Slurpees with the promise of every 7th drink free. The simplicity and consistency worked, with over 9 million customers engaging, but loyalty programs can easily lose their impact if they don’t evolve.
In true market-leading style, the brand recently announced the addition of a generous points program, introducing a new ‘earn and burn’ currency mechanic that rewards customers with a phenomenal 25 points for every dollar they spend in stores. Points are sometimes seen as too traditional for contemporary brands to use, but 7Rewards explains that points allow them to “gamify the customer experience”, and already the company has announced that their membership has grown by 33% to over 12 million members as a result of it’s expanded program. Stamp cards PLUS points for maximum impact!
Encouraging redemption of actual rewards is a proven loyalty strategy that drives consumer behaviour with brands, with 7-Eleven quoting compelling commercial results and impact on driving customer spending once they’ve been rewarded, quoting that “when customers redeem their free cups, they spent 30% more on average than when they were purchasing cups before 7Rewards℠“. With results like that, it’s unsurprising the business wants to offer its customers, even more, variety and qualifying products to buy, and points offer its retailers the perfect mechanic to manage the earn and burn benefits for customers – all digitally managed within their program.
In addition to consistent year-round benefits, points are incredibly flexible, so the currency allows programs to use bonus points on a tactical basis to keep their programs fresh. The mechanic can be adapted to reward spending ($) or visits, category promotions or even specific activity such as gifting digital coupons to friends and family. It can also drive high-profile sweepstake-style campaigns such as the ‘Million Points Giveaway’ launched in March, where 7Rewards will create seven ‘Pointillionaires’. It’s a fun and effective idea, and clearly part of their strategy to make every interaction with the program “valuable and delightful” in a way that customers can easily understand.
Balancing the program to appeal to behaviours of different demographics, four key success factors of the 7Rewards program include:
- The use of ‘instant gratification’ with every customer who downloads the app earning their first drink or snack free. This is a highly effective ‘value exchange’ as consumers (myself included) are sometimes reluctant to take the time to join a new loyalty program, even though we know we should!
- The use of ‘delayed gratification’ – people also like to feel their ongoing behaviour has value. The simple stamp card tracking works to ensure customers know that every 7th drink is free.
- A generous points structure of 25 7Rewards points per dollar spent. Investing to drive the increased basket spend they’ve seen from members who’ve redeemed a free reward. Points remove the need for lots of discounts and instead they build inherent value in the program. The more points they earn, the higher the barrier for customers to exit! A great business strategy to tap into FOMO… (fear of missing out….)
- The element of fun! The latest evolution of the 7Rewards program is this week’s announcement of a movie collaboration with DeadPool2 which includes an innovative augmented reality game in-stores, branded merchandise and sweepstakes. As the ‘first of its kind’, this nationwide partnership offers a whole new dimension and the results will be fascinating to follow.
7-Eleven has a clear focus on digital innovation – alongside these 7Rewards enhancements, recent innovations include 7Now (an app offering app ordering for delivery or collection), two distinct partnerships with Amazon, firstly to sell 7 Select products on the Amazon marketplace but also the launch of Amazon Cash, and even their move to providing banking services.
7-Eleven are clearly determined to adapt to the emerging generation of digital natives whose evolving shopping habits and loyalty needs require a whole new mindset and focused approach. Stay tuned for updates on their success with this powerful program, leveraging two distinct loyalty mechanics to drive their commercial performance. We’ll be watching and reporting back to you as their results and insights are shared, and make sure to check out our article discussing other 7Eleven digital innovations that go beyond their loyalty program – but drive loyalty through excellence nonetheless.
Liquid Barcodes is a leading global loyalty and digital marketing technology company specialising in the convenience store and food service industries. Our proprietary cloud-based technology platform allows retailers to create and manage their digital marketing campaigns with a proprietary process we call the “customer connection cycle’ to engage, promote and reward customers’ activities in real time across digital and media channels.
How we do it:
We have developed the most advanced loyalty and digital marketing technology platform specifically for convenience store and foodservice retailers globally.
Retailers use our self-service dashboard to create and manage loyalty driven marketing campaigns that increase purchases with their existing customers, as well as effectively target and acquire new customers through partners or paid media channels.
One core component of live loyalty is gamification. We have gamified branding, loyalty and promotions. We believe this approach is essential in order to get customers’ attention and ultimately truly engage them with repeatable actions thereby winning their loyalty.
Check out some of our exciting/proven results here:
Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes and Independent Loyalty Consultant.
With over twenty-five years marketing experience, I specialise in loyalty marketing consulting, managing consumer loyalty propositions, strategy and operations. In addition to working with Liquid Barcodes, my clients have included Telefonica O2, Three Mobile, Electric Ireland, Allied Irish Bank and The Entertainer, as well as Avios – the global points currency for some of the world’s top airlines. I am also a judge for the Loyalty Magazine Awards.