Flagship Program Update: Dunkin’ Doubles Membership

Paula Thomas, Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes


In July 2018, we wrote an article highlighting our favourite learnings from the DD Perks program, the loyalty program operated by the retailer that was known at the time as “Dunkin’ Donuts”. With the company re-brand to simply “Dunkin” apparently complete (the brand has not managed to secure the domain and is still having to use, we are taking the opportunity to check in on their loyalty updates and innovations – the most exciting of which is the sheer growth in numbers! From an already impressive 8 million members in 2018, to now boasting more than 16 million DD Perks members in just six years, there are clearly plenty of things we can continue to learn from this brand, which proudly describes itself as “one of the fastest-growing loyalty programs in the industry“.

The first, my favourite, is an intention to doing “fewer things better” – an insight published in their 2019 Annual Report. DDPerks continues to earn its place as one of those “few things” the company is committed to doing better, having previously described it as the foundation for its one-to-one marketing’. So let’s look at what this mega brand has been up to over the last few years in order to drive this growth and double its membership in just two short years.

Dunkin’s digital strategy in 2020

Points for all Payments

The underlying “always-on” loyalty proposition of DD Perks has remained consistent for members, with 5 points earned per dollar spent, and rewards in the form of drinks once 200 points have been earned (a $40 spend).

Two major enhancements were launched in 2019, the first of which was to make the program “more flexible by expanding multi-tender to members nationwide.” Previously, DD Perks members had to pay using a pre-registered Dunkin’ gift card, however the program gradually introduced its loyalty benefits to customers “no matter how they pay” with expansion  to over 1,000 stores in April 2019, and full nationwide availability later that year in October. This means that customers now earn DDPerks points whether they pay using cash, credit or debit cards, or more recently, Apple Pay and Google Pay, regardless of whether they present the app or the newly launched physical loyalty card to track their points and purchases.

This decision seems to be have been the key improvement that has doubled their membership growth, with about 2 million members joining from 2018 to 2019, but the brand then tripling that acquisition rate, with 6 million members alone added from April 2019 to the time of this article in August 2020. Incredible!

All purchases now earn DDPerks – not just  purchases on gift cards

Guests and Gifts

The second key enhancement in Dunkin’s digital strategy is allowing anyone – regardless of whether they are members of DDPerks – to enjoy on-the-go mobile pre-ordering as a “guest” within the Dunkin’ app. Opening up the digital ecosystem to allow any customer, not just loyalty members, to use the on-the-go ordering function is a great way to immediately drive customer loyalty, but it also makes it more likely that guest users may decide to sign up for the Perks program. The “on-the-go” facility works with any form of payment, and works for both drive-through and in-store customers.  


More recently, the company has started to promote lesser-known benefits of its loyalty program – my own favourite is the simple “gifting” concept that has been added as a quick and easy way to share unexpected donut joy between friends and family as shown here:

Gifting is a key feature of Dunkin’s latest digital strategy

In closing, we were impressed by the loyalty research coducted by Brand Keys as a consultancy firm who last year researched 921 brands with 55,000 people to decide the “Top 100 Loyalty Leaders” across 11 key consumer categories.

Remarkably in this research, Dunkin’ has earned a No. 1 ranking for customer loyalty in the coffee category for 13 years running! The research firm explains: 

“Loyalty is six times more powerful than satisfaction, eleven times more accurate than recommendations, eighteen months ahead of focus groups and tracking studies, and can optimize brand marketing, advertising and media outreach by twenty percent.”

With such powerful commercial importance, it’s exciting to see Dunkin’ continuing to implement an innovative digital & loyalty strategy, and deliver such exceptional growth in membership as well as a “strong performance” for investors.

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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