Liquid Barcodes


Lessons in Loyalty: Rewarding With Stamps

Carolyn Schnare Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes


Keep customers engaged and happy with loyalty program stamp rewards. 

In the ongoing exploration of loyalty programs, this article focuses on the next step in the Customer Connection Cycle: Rewards with stamps.

Over half (55%) of adults worldwide say that offering points or rewards is the top way to keep them coming back, according to a November 2023 survey from Marigold in conjunction with Econsultancy.

Step 5 in the Customer Connection Cycle: Rewards

In the last several “Lessons in Loyalty” articles we explored creating and running a successful loyalty program. Today, we will talk about rewards.

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). Then we talked about solidifying the customer relationship by giving an overview of the Customer Connection Cycle, covering recruiting members into your loyalty program, member engagement strategies, promoting the program, and finally in-store excellence. Now, we will talk about rewards.

Rewards can come in several currencies such as stamps, points, or as a paid subscription program.


5 Reward

Strategies for Excellent Loyalty Program Rewards With Stamps

When launching a retail loyalty program, one of your initial decisions is to decide the currency to track member purchases for timely rewards.

The three most common reward formats are stamps, points, and subscription programs. Stamps, in particular, are widely embraced and recognized. In future weeks, we will explore points and subscription formats.

Everyone remembers paper stamp cards. Sometimes the associate would ink stamp the card and sometimes you had to lick the back of a stamp. Technology to the rescue – no more fraudulent stamps or icky stamp taste on your tongue. Digital stamps have significantly enhanced program performance, flexibility and convenience!

Funnily enough, sometimes the quest to complete the digital (or paper!) stamp card could be as rewarding than the reward itself. Bowen Ruan, assistant professor of marketing at the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa, found in a focus group study that “filling the card completely seemed to be the consumers’ prime motivator, not getting the reward.” Published in the Journal of Consumer Research, “The One-Away Effect: The Pursuit of Mere Completion,” also found that “consumers are motivated to complete goals not only to obtain their reward but because merely completing things is intrinsically motivating and a goal itself.” Maybe it is the fun of winning or the challenge of trying!


Ten Tips for Successful Stamp Reward Programs


Flexible Rewards Levels
Customize your loyalty program to offer rewards like a free coffee every 5th or 10th purchase, or even sooner for higher-tier members. 


Flexible Redemption Options
Customize how and when rewards can be redeemed, whether it can be used at the next visit or on a specific day. Also, you can offer the ability to gift the reward to friends or family.


Personalized Discounts
Reward customer purchases with personalized discounts or vouchers, encouraging repeat visits and purchases. These discounts can be delivered shortly after purchase to drive immediate follow-up purchases.


Welcome Game
Engage new members with a game upon earning their first stamp, rewarding them with an extra stamp. This introduces them to the program and builds excitement for future rewards.


Varied Games for Engagement
Offer a variety of games with different probabilities and formats to keep members engaged. Games can be triggered with each stamp, offering chances to win rewards like free products or additional stamps.


Timely Push Notifications
Use automated push notifications to remind customers when they’re close to earning a reward or when their rewards are about to expire.


Bonus Stamps for Frequent Customers
Automatically award bonus stamps to customers who make frequent purchases within a specific timeframe.


Promotional Campaigns
Implement regular promotional periods featuring daily games and opportunities to win bonus stamps or discounts.


Power Weeks
Host special events twice a year where customers earn double stamps on purchases. This creates excitement and loyalty, especially during competitive periods.


Short Stamp Sharing Campaigns
Launch short-term campaigns to promote new products or partnerships, allowing members to share stamps. 


The Thrill of the Chase is as Exciting as the Capture

A fascinating research paper titled The Endowed Progress Effect: How Artificial Advancement Increases Effort found when people feel they have made some progress toward a goal, they become more committed to achieving that goal. The researchers named this “endowed progress.” When the goal – or reward – is in sight, then the goal becomes more attainable. So, just the mere appearance of progress can have a strong effect. Conversely, progress that is not recognized can be demotivating.

For this reason, strongly consider varying the number of items needed to earn a free item based on the product or use case. For instance, coffee is a daily purchase so 10 stamps might be the threshold. Salads or pizza might be a less-than-daily item so 5 stamps could be the goal.

By visually showing stamp progress to customers in their app, they can grasp how close they are to their reward. And, if you gift them stamps or allow them to earn stamps in addition to the purchase, it gets them that much closer, thus making the chase just as exciting!


Retailer Stamp Superstars

Jordbærpikene, a Norwegian cafe and bakery chain with 44 locations, rewards its most loyal customers in the Jordbærvenn program which translates to “Strawberry Friend!” The retailer offers both stamps for frequent purchases and points for additional redemption options.


Jordbaerpikene stamps Jordbaerpikene stamps


The Smith Oil Company features digital stamps, fuel pay, store locator, friend referral, and more. The Smith Oil loyalty app includes digital stamp cards for several popular items and fuel pay.


Smith Oil


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 realtime 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 programs, machine learning, personalization, gamification, loyalty, 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 Future of Convenience podcast, 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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