Liquid Barcodes


Loyalty Marketing – Latest Insights

Paula Thomas, Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” — the famous quote from Charles Dickens was the perfect opening line used at the recent Loyalty Magazine conference in London to describe the current state of the loyalty marketing industry. As one of the judges for the Loyalty Magazine Awards, I joined other industry experts from all over the world to discuss the ‘perfect storm’ within loyalty marketing today. We debated data concerns in marketing (due to GDPR regulation), the complexity (and opportunities) with emerging loyalty technology platforms and also the pressure to demonstrate ways that we, as loyalty leaders, are delivering commercial returns through the projects and programmes we operate. The conference was an ideal opportunity to connect with other industry leaders from around the world, and this article captures some of the key themes of the day.

Consumer Concerns: 

As a truly global conference with delegates from five continents, market differences are expected, however the main loyalty challenges identified were remarkably similar. With the emergence of the ‘attention economy’ and the ‘social economy’, it is simply critical to connect with customer’s goals in order for brands to earn attention and engagement. The speakers agreed that the two issues most customers are still struggling with are loyalty programme complexity and the time to earn a worthwhile reward — issues that are as old as the industry itself, so brands clearly need to continually improve even the basics of programme management.

Insights from an award-winning retail loyalty programme Raymond Rewards from India, showed how in the space of just two years, they successfully recruited over 5 million members and achieved profitable growth using the power of segmentation and personal recommendations to influence and drive product purchases, rather than dilute their brand through coupons or discounts. This was achieved despite immense initial resistance from stakeholders, as franchise holders were exceptionally skeptical how powerful a loyalty programme would be. In just two short years, these business owners who operate over 1,300 stores throughout the country have been slowly won over by the data which proves the commercial impact and returns from their shared investment. The programme has delivered an incredible 20% growth in visits/footfall to stores and significantly higher spend from programme members despite ever-increasing competition from international fashion brands. One favourite insight/lesson from this programme was the decision to capture ONLY a mobile number as the single data point required for registration, with data being enriched over time using Facebook API’s and other databases. A truly customer-centric approach.

Social Media

Customers in Control 

GDPR was discussed as a major challenge for brands that manage customer databases. Although currently limited to companies with customers in Europe, the experts’ view was that similar legislation will certainly be adopted as standard globally, although the timescales will vary. It makes sense therefore to plan accordingly, as the potential backlash from any breach makes privacy a key management concern for the industry.

While companies who capture data currently use it to benefit themselves and their programme members, an interesting idea emerged as to whether consumers may in time begin to transfer their data from one brand to another (eg Tesco to Sainsbury) in order to personally monetise this asset which clearly they own. While there are no signs yet of this power shift, it certainly offers an interesting perspective — and challenge — to those of us who own or manage large and powerful customer databases.

Impressive results were also shared from a leading programme in the South African market which invites its members to “Make Every Swipe Count”. A delightful community-based programme, its success is attributed to solving key social issues that customers truly care about. Launched in 1997, My School/My Village/My Planet programme is a world class example of delivering double-digit sales growth for its partner stores through the power of ‘convenient charity’. In addition to funding charity donations of almost half a million dollars every month, the programme itself is also profitable and benefits from consistent word-of-mouth marketing which is measured using the net promoter score approach.

Myschool myvillage myplanet

Transformative Technology

Loyalty marketing is experiencing explosive growth with an ever-increasing array of technology platforms on offer. Blockchain was the most-talked-about topic, but even those involved with trial projects using a distributed ledger approach agreed that its time has not yet come. Described as “noise” (for now), marketers were urged to be clear what business issue they are focused on solving before exploring blockchain as an option. To date, it has been used to deliver projects such as the initial proof-of-concept for the Dubai Points programme, however, there is no single-use case that the technology addresses. While it can reduce inefficiencies, it typically provides just one layer of the many capabilities that loyalty programmes need. Blockchain was described as “good for data, and good for rules”, but marketers still need CRM and accounting modules so the key message was for us to continue focusing on the key consumer issues and delivering shareholder value while keeping one eye on this emerging area. The experts agreed it will be another two to five years before we see mass adoption of blockchain.

Technology was also hailed as the under-appreciated “free-to-consumer marketing channel” — a key benefit in this “attention economy”. Many marketers assume the same restraint is needed sending out loyalty communications as they do with sales communications, missing the key point of difference in how welcome the messages are from a well-run loyalty programme. This advice came from the man who launched the famous £100 million programme Tesco Clubcard in the UK market, and his message was clear — loyalty is NOT dead (but sending out plastic cards and posted letters might be!).


Loyalty Lessons

In closing, loyalty marketing was described as an industry “at a crossroads” — a fascinating intersection of “inertia, panic and possibilities”. It is clearly evolving both technically and commercially given how customer behaviour is changing, and when done well, loyalty marketing becomes the real ‘glue’ that connects brands to their customers. True loyalty success was described as retaining customers “even when they are faced with a meaningful competitive alternative”. Data is a tool that enables a brand to “thank and stretch” its customer’s spend — a powerful proposition for any industry or economy looking for solutions to drive commercial performance.

Despite the cost and complexity of delivering world-class loyalty propositions, it’s clear that brands that put the customer at the heart of their business focus do truly differentiate themselves. Loyalty marketing offers an approach that strengthens customer relationships through the power of fair trade. In this evolving world where consumers value integrity, consistency and mutual trust, loyalty marketing is an essential tool that can truly drive profitable growth.


About Us:

Liquid Barcodes is a leading global loyalty technology company specialized 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: MBA. Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional (CLMP).

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, 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. 


Blog post

Everyone Wins With App Games

Games reward customers for visiting an app and encourage them to visit the store. Customers love to feel appreciated, they love a good deal and they especially love winning.  Customers are excited when they get a good discount or coupon. And, they truly feel like winners after playing and winning a game. It is easy […]

Blog post

Liquid Barcodes Connects With Convenience Industry Leaders in Texas

The Liquid Barcodes team networks and learns at 2023 NAG Conference in Austin, Texas. Last week, Liquid Barcodes attended and exhibited at the US convenience industry conference held by the National Advisory Group (NAG). Among those present from the Liquid Barcodes team were Saurabh Swarup, General Manager of North America and Jose Santiago, Head of […]

Blog post

5 Cs of Summer: Cold Coffee, Clean Cars & Convenience

Subscription programs are a great way to secure long-term customer loyalty and revenue. Whether you are providing a subscription for beverages or car washes, securing recurring monthly revenue is imperative to stay competitive.   Summer is around the corner and retail marketers are crafting sunny campaigns to increase customer traffic to the store. Help those […]

Blog post

Circle K Makes a Splash With Car Wash Subscription Program in Europe

Circle K has extended its highly successful car wash subscription program to Norway after successful implementations in the United States, Canada, Denmark, Sweden and Estonia. Circle K’s vast global network of car washes has digitally transformed operations with its revolutionary car wash subscription program. First launched in Denmark and the U.S. in 2020, the program […]

Blog post

Newly Redesigned Brezelkönig App Accepts Payments and Rewards Loyalty

Swiss foodservice chain Brezelkönig releases app update which offers customers the convenience of earning rewards and paying for products with the app in stores.  The recently-updated Brezelkönig app allows pretzel-loving customers to enjoy recognition and rewards for their loyalty. Additionally, the Brezelkönig app accepts payments to make the customer experience even more convenient.  Brezelkönig is […]

Blog post

Sunshine Gasoline Introduces ACH-Only Mobile Payment for Fuel

Florida convenience retailer releases fuel payment app accepting only ACH payment, saving thousands in payment processing fees for the retailer. Sunshine Gasoline upgraded its Max Carwash App to Sunshine Brand featuring a special fuel pay program, powered by C-StorePay by Liquid Barcodes, which allows consumers to conveniently pay for fuel using the app. Customers simply […]

Blog post

2022: An Outstanding Year for Liquid Barcodes and Our Customers

In 2022, Liquid Barcodes witnessed a year of unprecedented growth with customers, products and team members. Every great business has an inspiring founding story and Liquid Barcodes’ 10-year journey is inspiring the future of loyalty. Beginning as a startup in Norway, the company opened its second office in the United States in early 2022 and […]

Blog post

What Is C-StorePay?

Liquid Barcodes’ proprietary C-StorePay makes paying for fuel, in-store merchandise, and subscription programs convenient for customers, reduces credit card fees for retailers, and integrates easily into existing loyalty programs Announced in October 2022, the revolutionary Liquid Barcodes C-StorePay product rose to the top of retailers’ 2022 wish lists at the NACS Show, even achieving a […]

Blog post

Polish Retail Leader Żabka Launches Coffee Subscription Program

Polish retail giant, Żabka introduces a monthly coffee subscription program across its vast store network. With its new coffee subscription program, Żabka Polska will certainly dominate the beverage category in Poland’s unique convenience market. In July 2022, Dr. Adam Manikowski, Managing Director of Żabka Polska, was featured on the popular Global Convenience Store Focus video […]

Blog post

Loyalty Apps Engage Customers

98% of loyalty app users love using a loyalty app and want more features from it. In September 2022, NACS published a report examining customer engagement with convenience loyalty programs. Unsurprisingly, customers feel most engaged, appreciated and valued by the stores to which they belong in a loyalty or membership program – nearly ¾ of […]

Blog post

Save Thousands in Credit Card Fees With ACH

Visa and Mastercard announced an increase in interchange fees earlier in the year and retailers are taking action and sending a message by migrating their customers to new solutions, including mobile app-based ACH payments, and in the process increasing profits by not only reducing credit card fees but also boosting loyalty via innovative app-based incentive […]

Blog post

Maxol Launches First-of-Its-Kind Loyalty App

Maxol, Ireland’s largest family-owned forecourt and convenience retailer, announced it has launched a new customer loyalty app with never-before-seen features in the Irish market. After more than a century serving Irish customers, Maxol’s 240+ stores and service stations are located throughout Ireland and have enjoyed global recognition for their best-in-class operations, store design and offers. […]

Blog post

Delivering Personalized Content With Machine Learning and Image Recognition

Build personalized customer connections, improve efficiency, and make intelligent, data-driven decisions using machine learning and image recognition.   It’s 7:15 in the morning and a customer – Amy – is on her way to work. She is on the hunt for coffee and breakfast and stops at a convenience store. She opens her store app […]

Blog post

Circle K’s Use of Beacon Technology to Activate Car Wash Subscription Program

Beacon Technology and Car Wash Subscription Programs Beacon technology used in tandem with a customer-facing car wash subscription program revolutionizes the customer experience by providing a quick, convenient experience. Innovation is the key to continued growth and ensuring a frictionless customer experience should be top of mind for any retailer. Circle K’s vast global network […]

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