Insomnia Inspires Loyalty

Paula Thomas, Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes


This article first was published on Global Convenience Store Focus.

While ‘insomnia‘ is not generally considered an enjoyable experience, one leading retailer in Ireland has leveraged the idea behind ‘being awake’ to build a successful and award-winning independent coffee chain brand. The Insomnia Coffee Company began life in a single bookstore in 1997 and now boasts over 150 stores throughout the country – many operating as franchises in top fashion destinations such as Debenhams and Primark.

Having launched it’s loyalty programme Insomnia Treats almost five years ago in 2014, the company has continued to invest in connecting with its customers as well as adding useful payment functionality to its loyalty app in order to compete with the consumer trends we’ve seen from industry leaders such as Starbucks. And the investments are paying off, with the Insomnia Coffee Company beating tough competition from top retailers Applegreen and O’Brien’s Sandwich Bars to win the “QSR Loyalty Programme of the Year” at the inaugural Irish Loyalty Awards in March 2019.

In this article, we review the strategy and structure behind this highly successful Irish loyalty programme, from a company that has also recently added the title of the ‘Retail Franchise of the Year” and a “Deloitte Best Managed Company” award to its list of achievements.

The Insomnia Treats app – the top QSR Loyalty Programme in Ireland 

Insomnia Treats

Insomnia Treats members enjoy a range of loyalty benefits,

    • The programme offers users the option of a digital app as well as a plastic card or fob to scan at the till to track purchases.
    • Members earn every tenth drink free. You can earn or claim either hot or iced drinks from the company’s range of own-brand drinks.
    • Members earn two “beans” for every euro spent – a 2% earn ratio for purchases.
    • Beans convert to a cash value on the member’s account which can be used against future Insomnia purchases.
    • Birthday treats are offered for all members.
    • Each member also enjoys one free seasonal drink from the exciting products the company launches for every season of the year.
    • In 2016, the company added additional payment functionality and mobile payments as shown in the video below.


Insomnia Coffee Company in Ireland – Treats Loyalty Programme Video Introduction. 

Driving Better Behaviour

One additional strategy we’ve been impressed with is the use of the rewards programme to actively incentivise the use of re-usable cups, with customers earning an extra twenty loyalty “beans” for this specific behaviour. A clever concept to use their loyalty programme to impress eco-conscious consumers who increasingly challenge brands to demonstrate positive brand values throughout their business.

With two “beans” typically awarded per euro spent, this is a generous reward that would otherwise require a €10 spend in store.


Twenty Bonus Beans for using your re-usable Cup

Driving Positive Behaviour Change Using Insomnia Treats Loyalty

In essence, the Insomnia brand is focused on simplicity and staying relevant to its customers and members. Certified FairTrade since 2006, the company estimates that it now sells over 30 million Fairtrade cups of coffee each year. Beyond its loyalty programme, it also offers customers who enjoy gardening the option of collecting bags of recycled coffee beans to use as free fertiliser on plants at home! So simple and so effective.

While Insomnia is only gradually expanding outside of Ireland to its neighbouring market in the UK, its clear that its business philosophy combined with a clear, consistent and compelling digital loyalty programme is driving real business results with a recent restructure and payout of over €12 million in profits to shareholders. Now that is truly the company’s most inspiring treat!

About Us:

Liquid Barcodes is a leading global loyalty and digital marketing technology company specialised for 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, Three Mobile, Electric Ireland, Allied Irish Bank and The Entertainer Group, 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. 



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