Liquid Barcodes


Lessons in Loyalty: Recruit Loyalty Program Members

Carolyn Schnare Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes


The first step in a successful loyalty program is to recruit a robust, loyal membership base with an effective recruitment strategy.

In the ongoing exploration of loyalty programs, this article focuses on the pivotal first step in the Customer Connection Cycle: recruiting members. Establishing a robust and loyal membership base is paramount, and this article outlines key strategies to get you started on the right foot. From program promotion to incentivizing sign-ups with instant rewards like free drinks, snacks, or fuel discounts, the recruitment journey is explained offering guidance to build lasting connections with customers.


Customer Connection Cycle: Step One is Recruitment

In the last three “Lessons in Loyalty” articles, we explored a framework for creating and running a successful loyalty program. Today, we will explore recruiting new members.

According to Statista, 79% of Americans consider a loyalty program when choosing to shop a brand. More than half (60%) expect a discount in return for joining. According to the same report, “Consumers appreciate instant wins, big prizes, and attractive discounts. All that drives sign-ups and encourages purchases, so businesses reap the rewards of having a larger and more faithful customer base, a stronger brand connection, and increased engagement.”

First, we looked into loyalty program foundations with the 3 E’s (having easy, empowering, and engaging programs) and the 3 C’s (clear, compelling, and consistent promotions and communications). Next, we talked about solidifying the customer relationship by giving an overview of the Customer Connection Cycle

The Liquid Barcodes Customer Connection Cycle illustrates how to strategically engage customers through various channels, converting them into loyal program participants. 

Now, let’s dig into the Customer Connection Cycle with member recruitment, the first step in the 7-step cycle.


24-7 coffee


Strategies for Recruiting Members

A primary goal of a loyalty program should be to recruit a robust, loyal membership base. To be clear, recruitment is an ongoing process and an important “always-on” strategy that you must continuously optimize and improve. Getting a customer to join is the first step to start engaging them outside your stores. A great recruitment strategy relies on a range of tactics. Success will require a combination of online and offline channels, paired with clear incentives for both customers and frontline employees.

Customers won’t join your loyalty program unless it is easy and they won’t use it again unless it is rewarding and worthwhile.

1 Recruit

Retail Recruitment Superstars

Smith Oil Company is a 12-store convenience and fuel retailer in West Virginia. It recently rolled out a loyalty program that rivals, if not exceeds, the apps of some of its largest regional competitors. Smith Oil displays QR codes at every customer touchpoint – the fuel pumps, the cooler doors, the cash registers – encouraging customers to join their loyalty program. Upon downloading the app, a user immediately receives a welcome gift of a free fountain drink! Then, they can earn digital stamps for continued purchases.

Smith Oil


Another exemplary program is by Maxol, a long-time Liquid Barcodes customer. With more than 26,000 members, Maxol strongly promotes the value of the program offer, making it nearly impossible not to join. Using colorful digital and physical signage and eye-catching videos, prospective members are offered a free cup of coffee at signup. The benefits in the app are plentiful, as well.





5 Key Recruitment Tactics

Embarking on this recruitment journey armed with the following strategies will not only fortify your loyalty program but also lay the foundation for lasting connections with your customers.

Program Awareness

Display compelling, consistent, visually appealing marketing materials inside the store to recruit new members – on the windows, outside at the fuel island, and to passersby. Clearly explain the sign-up bonus and consider offering exclusive pricing branded as “members only.”

Harness the power of social media platforms for targeted marketing using traditional platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Take advantage of Google Maps and other location-based targeting to share the program. Traditional radio ads are still popular as are targeted ads on music, podcast, and other digital platforms.  Depending on your market, printed mailers might work, too.


Maxol Rosa


Easy Program Sign-up

To recruit a new member, start by simply requesting just the mobile number. Over time, employ “progressive profiling” to collect additional information like email, birthday, and zip code. Each piece of information given can win members a special reward and it adds to your customer information database for further customizable rewards.


24/7 Signup


Instant Sign-up Reward

Whether it’s a free drink, snack, or fuel discount, the membership award must make the effort worth their time. Once downloaded, the members will find even more value!


Smith Oil Welcome


Friends Trust Friends

As you cultivate relationships with each member, tap into their network. Word of mouth is powerful marketing and enabling a “refer-a-friend” feature incentivizes both the referrer and the referred. But, don’t overly complicate the friend recruitment by requiring unnecessary thresholds and also make it immediately rewarding.


24-7 refer a friend


Store Associates

Ensure your frontline employees are well-versed in the program’s benefits and can effectively communicate them to recruits. Give employees wearable buttons and tee shirts to match the register signage. Consider giving employees incentive bonuses for getting new members to join the program. Maybe make it a competition among stores to see who can sign up the most people!


The Customer Connection Cycle Explained

This informative video explains more about the Customer Connection Cycle in this edition of the Liquid Barcodes Convenience Retail Loyalty Playbook video series.



Achieve Loyalty Excellence

Large or small, retailers have found that having a functional, sleek, easy-to-use loyalty app is the optimal way to stand above the competition.

Developing a distinctive loyalty program is essential in the dynamic landscape of convenience retail, where challenges abound. The Liquid Barcodes Convenience Retail Loyalty Playbook is your hands-on tool to make this happen.

We developed the Liquid Barcodes Customer Connection Cycle framework to illustrate how to strategically engage customers through various channels, converting them into loyal program participants. The framework uses proven loyalty mechanisms to ensure customers return sooner, becoming habitual purchasers. 

Recognizing the significance of a strong customer base in driving revenue, the key principle of the Liquid Barcodes Customer Connection Cycle is simplicity, ensuring your program is easy to understand, join, earn, and redeem. It’s not just a proprietary approach; it’s our shared strategy to elevate your loyalty program and drive your business to success.

Click here to download the first few chapters within the Liquid Barcodes Convenience Loyalty Playbook.


LoyaltyPlaybook Preview no shadow


About Liquid Barcodes

Liquid Barcodes is a leading global loyalty and digital marketing technology partner specializing in the convenience and foodservice industries. The proprietary, cloud-based technology platform allows retailers to create and manage their digital marketing campaigns with the “customer connection cycle” process to engage, promote, and reward customers’ activities in real-time across digital and media channels.

Liquid Barcodes loyalty platform is powering loyalty programs for industry partners across several global markets, by offering unique subscription and mobile payment programsmachine learningpersonalizationgamificationloyalty, and other capabilities.

Learn more about Liquid Barcodes at

About the Author

Carolyn Schnare, Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes

Carolyn Schnare has been involved with the convenience retailing industry for two decades with extensive knowledge of customer engagement and marketing, sustainability, and community outreach. Before Liquid Barcodes, Schnare worked at NACS (National Association of Convenience Stores) in a variety of roles from event production to membership and most recently as Director of Strategic Initiatives and host and producer of the popular industry podcast, Convenience Matters. Schnare currently anchors the popular Shop Talk LIVE! video series produced by Global Convenience Store Focus media group.

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Liquid Barcodes

Put a rocket under your loyalty program

With our loyalty platform, we help design and operate world-class, tailor-made subscription and reward programs that make sure your customers always come back.

Book a Demo →

We are trusted by global brands.

Convenience retailers all over the world have engaged and rewarded consumers with our tailor-made loyalty programs.

To our case studies →

Liquid Barcodes
Liquid Barcodes
Liquid Barcodes
Liquid Barcodes

Convenience retailers all over the world have engaged and rewarded consumers with our tailor-made loyalty programs.

To our case studies →

Liquid Barcodes
Liquid Barcodes
Liquid Barcodes
Liquid Barcodes

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