Croatia’s New Concept

Paula Thomas, Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes


This article first appeared on Global Convenience Store Focus.

As a leading international integrated oil company boasting a team of over 26,000 people and a network of nearly 2,000 retail fuel stations in thirty countries, MOL Group is laser focused on the digital transformation of its business, with a plan to leverage digital data and payment technologies, as well as the latest AI, CRM and loyalty tools and lead the “mobility transformation” in Central Eastern Europe. Headquartered in Budapest in Hungary, MOL Group service stations operate under six retail and consumer services brands, playing a leading role in the fuel industry across Croatia, Hungary and Slovakia as well as the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro.

The company has already achieved extraordinary success re-positioning itself from a pure fuel retailer to a consumer goods retailer, becoming the region’s largest coffee retailer through its Fresh Corner cafe brand, selling over 50 million cups a year across its network of 900 stores.

And so we were excited to discuss the brand’s latest innovation with István Mag, the Head of the Digital Factory at MOL Group who shared the incredible journey of building and launching INALoyalty, the company’s innovative new loyalty programme in the INA network in Croatia, designed to transform its relationships with customers.

István Mag – Head of the Digital Factory at MOL Group

We’ll discuss Mag’s key insights below, however to showcase the programme fully, we’ll first show the brand’s new TV ad which does a superb job of introducing the programme’s overall brand promise and proposition, and is being supported by outdoor, digital and PR activity, as well as comprehensive staff training programme, which together will ensure the programme is positioned perfectly for success.

The TV Launch Campaign for INA Loyalty in Croatia. 

How Does it Work:

  • The INA Loyalty programme is unique in awarding points to members as its earning currency, however it focuses on instant gifts and games rather than burning points as its rewards strategy. The approach is designed to delight customers who love collecting, yet avoid the costly liability of points that can become prohibitive for many fuel retailers.
  • Points are awarded for purchases, birthdays, giving feedback and for building your profile data progressively on the loyalty platform, enabling the business to increasingly learn about their members over time.
  • The loyalty programme benefits are illustrated on a clear table as shown below, and includes four tiers from blue to silver, gold and ultimately VIP status for top customers.
  • Welcome Rewards increase in value as members achieve each tier, from hot drinks for basic blue members, a hot dog or sandwich for silver, a “gastronomic” experience for gold, and “secret” rewards for top tier VIP customers.
  • Members earn points for almost all purchases, whether on fuel, shop products or services at INA stations.
  • Other increasing benefits include discounts on car cosmetics, premium and standard fuel, as well as upgrades on car washing packages for premium members – all shown in the table below.
  • Beyond these tier benefits, the programme includes important mechanisms for rewarding customers, including personalised coupons and challenges that allow customers to earn rewards in line with their own needs.

The INA Loyalty Programme for Fuel Customers in Croatia

Achievements Despite Challenges

Perhaps the most extraordinary achievement for the team is managing to successfully launch its loyalty programme in perhaps the most challenging year the industry has ever seen. And even before Covid-19, INA in Croatia had already endured and recovered from an earthquake and a cyber attack yet the team became even more determined to launch something positive and powerful for the business and deliver on their digital commitments.

Whether in spite of these challenges, or perhaps because of them, Mag is even more convinced that customer relationships are key to their business and that this loyalty platform will ensure a single customer view that will continually improve customer’s experiences. For now, Croatia is the first country in the group to enjoy the new loyalty concept, with plans for Slovenia and Hungary to follow in 2021 and no doubt the entire group will see the positive impact on NPS and customer satisfaction scores when they launch in those markets over time.

Images showcasing the new INALoyalty programme 

Strong Commercial Mindset

What is certainly clear is that the MOL Group is commercially driven and aims to increase its share of customer’s fuel and convenience products spend. It’s benchmarking itself against best practice in loyalty programmes and digital concepts globally across all sectors including fuel and quick service restaurants as well as iconic global coffee brands such as Starbucks.

Alongside the development of this new concept, MOL Group is now leveraging an online learning platform to allow its stations compete with each other in a fun and friendly way that will measure and maximise customer penetration. Over time, they also see the potential to support key supplier relationships with data, insights and customer connections, and we wish the MOL Group every success with this ambitious and innovative project.

About Us:

Liquid Barcodes is a leading global loyalty and digital marketing technology company specialising in the convenience store and foodservice industries. Our proprietary cloud-based technology platform allow 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:

About Me:

Paula Thomas

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 Priority, Three Mobile, Electric Ireland, Allied Irish Bank and The Entertainer Group (UAE), as well as Avios – the global points currency for some of the world’s top airlines. I am also a former judge for the Loyalty Magazine Awards and host of the “Let’s Talk Loyalty” podcast.



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