Espresso House

Paula Thomas, Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes


Espresso House is the third high profile coffee brand owned by JAB Holdings to launch a subscription service for caffeine loving consumers. Undoubtedly inspired by the spectacular success of the Panera Bread program, Espresso House is the fastest growing coffee shop brand in the Nordic region with over four hundred coffee shops in five countries; Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Germany.

Amazingly, while a culture of drinking copious cups of coffee is often associated with the United States or Italy, in fact Scandinavia tops the charts in terms of global coffee consumption per capita, led by the tiny country of Finland. There, the average person consumes more than triple the coffee of an average American, so it’s no wonder a premium and innovative brand like Espresso House is proving so successful.

Its latest innovation is another superb example of the genius of subscription services when they are executed well, so in this article, we’ll share the approach they’ve taken, but first, let’s take a quick look at their overall loyalty proposition.

The Espresso House app offers stamps, offers and payment features

My Espresso House

  • Simple and successful – like most coffee houses, members of the “My Espresso House” loyalty programme collect stamps every time they buy and scan. For every purchase over 20 SEK (approx $2.45), members get a stamp, and after 9 stamps, they are rewarded with a free drink.
  • The programme offers exclusive deals for members only.
  • Members can use the app to send “gifts” to friends and family in digital form.
  • With industry leaders Starbucks famously incentivising customers to part with their cash in advance – to the tune of $1.6 billion, it’s no surprise to see Espresso House following suit. By topping up their wallet in the app to pay for their future purchases, members enjoy a 10% ongoing discount, and those purchases still earn stamps. Students save even more, with a 20% discount awarded to those members once they validate their student status using their social security number.

Designed for Extreme Loyalty

Espresso House launched its “pioneering” subscription model across their five countries of operation in December 2020.

This product proposition features:

  • A fixed monthly charge of €14.90 euros which allows members an unlimited number of filter coffees or organic tea with one condition – only one cup of tea or coffee can be claimed per hour. This ensures members are not sharing free products with friends.
  • The subscription price can easily be justified as most consumers will claim far more than just the four or five drinks needed to break even on their subscription spend. Clearly once a customer has subscribed, they are likely to remain 100% loyal to Espresso House as the package feels like “free coffee” when it’s pre-paid in one transaction.
  • It also benefits stores who typically enjoy increased food sales from subscribers. Panera Bread quoted 70% increased food sales from their subscribers in initial results published.

The Espresso House app showing strong subscription messaging

Finally, undoubtedly a result of the global pandemic and increased demand for contactless payments, Espresso House launched mobile pre-ordering in late 2020, reducing the time that customers needed to spend in store. Using the app, subscribers simply pre-order, stop by their local store and scan to pay. No need to queue to order, or queue to pay. If that doesn’t result in extreme loyalty, I don’t know what will!

With their focus on premium products, beautiful stores and a clear, consistent and compelling digital loyalty strategy, it’s no wonder that Espresso House achieved 7th place in the ranking of the Top 80 coffee bar brands 2019 in Europe.

We wish them continued success with their innovative subscription programme for Scandinavian and German customers.

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 Host of “Let’s Talk Loyalty” Podcast

With over twenty-five years marketing experience, I specialise in loyalty marketing content. In addition to working with Liquid Barcodes, my consulting 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 proud host of the “Let’s Talk Loyalty” podcast – the industry’s first podcast for loyalty marketing professionals.



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