The Convenience Retail Loyalty Playbook – Chapter 8: Rewarding With Stamps

Paula Thomas, Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes


The Convenience Retail Loyalty Playbook has been created by Liquid Barcodes to set you up for a successful loyalty program on our platform. Summarizing chapter 8, this video describes our top ten tips to success for stamps-based loyalty programs.

Interested in reading more? Check out the loyalty playbook’s chapters below: 

Chapter 1; Introduction
Chapter 2: Customer Connection Cycle 
Chapter 3: How to Wow (Part 1 & Part 2
Chapter 8: Rewarding With Stamps 
Chapter 4: Recruiting Members 
Chapter 9: Rewarding With Points
Chapter 5: Engaging Your Members 
Chapter 10: Success with Subscriptions 
Chapter 6: Powerful Promotions 
Chapter 11: How to Effectively Analyse Your Loyalty Program
Chapter 7: In-Store Excellence 
Chapter 12: Operating Your Loyalty Program Successfully 

We love to share our knowledge! Explore the full Convenience Retail Loyalty Playbook by downloading it here 

Rewarding with Stamps 

One of the first decisions you will have to make when you decide to launch a retail loyalty programme is what mechanic – or format – you’d like to use to track your member’s purchases, so that you can reward them when the time is right.

There are three common formats our loyalty marketing platform can support, and using “stamps” is perhaps the best loved and most familiar. We’ll also discuss “points” and also a “subscription” loyalty programme format as two other concepts you can consider.

The history of stamp cards goes back to the 1930’s with “Green Stamps” becoming the market leader worldwide, issuing three times as many stamps as the US Postal Service throughout the 1960’s! Clearly the power of digital stamp cards has dramatically improved the performance of this type of programme compared to the old fashioned printed and paper based stamp cards so in this article, we’ll share our learnings from launching digital stamp-based loyalty programmes in multiple markets around the world, in particular the top ten stamps tactics you need to succeed.


Top Ten Tips for Rewarding with Stamps

  1. Get every 10th coffee free. That’s simple. Everyone understands it and it has always been a popular mechanic in retail, but with a smart digital stamp card concept, your programme is ten times stronger! Firstly, you can decide if you want to do every 5th or every 10th coffee free so every customer is treated exactly the same. But the whole point of your loyalty programme is to drive consumer behaviour, so we recommend you use the smarter approach and set the rewards for different customers at different levels. For example, create various levels or tiers. With this approach, once the members moves up a tier – for example they become a “silver” member – they might earn a free coffee after buying just eight coffees instead of ten. Your “gold” members might then earn their reward coffee after just buying five. Customers love this increasingly generous approach, and truly feel like they are being “seen” and rewarded every time they buy. You can even choose how many “rounds” the customer needs to buy on each level before they progress up to the next tier. 
  2. Choose when they use it. Some loyalty programmes insist that you “use it or lose it” so when you’ve earned your reward coffee, it’s always served on the member’s next visit. For more flexibility, we’ve built our digital stamp feature to allow you set up the reward as a separate reward, to be used at a time and day that they choose! This gives them the freedom to choose when to claim it – always of course within the time frame you define. You can choose a short time frame such as one day for example for their birthday (which drives urgency and is better for the business), or you can allow the member plenty of time such as twelve months to claim (better for the customer). With separate rewards it’s also possible for the member to give the free coffee reward to a friend or family member.
  3. Give Your Members More of What They Love. When your customers use your stamp card, the first thing you immediately learn is what they like. And with that knowledge, you can help them form a habit of buying it from you more often. We’ve designed digital stamp cards programmes across many categories, from salads, to sandwiches, or cold drinks, ice cream or even washing their car. But coffee is always the most popular! So every time the customer buys a coffee full price (and collects a stamp), you can give her a coupon for a discount on the next coffee – e.g. a 25% or 50% off voucher or even a fixed lower price such as €2 instead of regular price €3. By giving customers more of what they love, you can drive the frequency of their purchases and visits, creating new opportunities to upsell. We know that frequency is the most important behaviour to drive – even more than driving a higher basket spend. Our platform lets you specify how many minutes after the purchase they receive this nice coupon – maybe 30 minutes later or even the following day if it’s a less frequent category for purchase, such as a sandwich coupon.

An example of a simple stamp card that your members will love

4. Get Them Winning. To get new members engaging, we recommend you set up your programme so that everyone is sent a game to play the first time they earn a stamp. And then everyone that plays the game, wins a second stamp on their card. Simple as that. This teaches them a little about how your programme works and takes them a little closer to their first free reward. With this fun and rewarding experience, they begin to trust you and look forward to their next purchase. There’s no need to tell them about this in advance as it’s better they learn by playing, and then they enjoy the benefit of the surprise & delight your programme offers. You can use this mechanic anytime you want to drive activity and boost engagement.

5. Surprise & Delight with Games of Varying Probability, Format and Frequency.  Any stamp can be set up to trigger a coupon, game or survey and there needs to be a “good’ chance to win but don’t worry, they do not need to be won every time. With our platform, you define the chance of winning, sometimes just 10% probability, sometimes 50% probability etc. For example, we recommend that at least with every 10 stamps, there is a 10% probability for users to play to win a free coffee and/or a stamp. And remember that you can run a different game every time, so make sure you try the Wheel of Fortune, Scratch & Win, Slot Machine or any other one to make it fun every time.

6. Power Your Programme with Push Notifications. Our powerful push notification feature can be automated for every stage of the life cycle, leaving you free to focus on other campaigns. We recommend that you send push notifications when users are close to a reward and only need one more purchase to claim a free one! You decide the frequency of these alerts when you configure the automation rule, so they can be re-sent after any number of days you prefer. The same automation can be used to power push messages for rewards themselves. Simply set up reminders before expiry, for example one week or 3 days before expiry, and again on the day of expiry. These reminders are cleverly only sent to customers who haven’t used their reward so there is no risk of over-communicating or irrelevant messages.

7. Reward Frequent Customers with Bonus Stamps. We have seen how important it is to drive frequent footfall, so we’ve developed the ability for you to automatically award bonus stamps for these customers. For example, you can set an automated business rule to award double (or triple) stamps to users who earn three coffee stamps in five days. This ongoing rule captures these most-frequent customers who deserve extra stamps and of course you have full flexibility to set any number of stamps and the timeframe for them too.

You Can Reward Your Gold Tier Members More Quickly Than Your Silver Members

8. Plan Promotional Periods Year Round. While your members will earn stamps all year round on their purchases, we recommend adding in a full calendar of promotional campaigns for two weeks, every second month. These promotional periods should feature games that invite members to play every day, with a chance to win single stamps and double stamp coupons. 

9. Run an “Ultimate Power Week” Twice a Year. This is an essential tool to win the hearts of your customers, many who could easily be tempted in to your competitor’s stores unless you keep taking care of them in powerful ways they value. During the “ultimate power week” customers get double stamps, even in high season, in fact especially in high season when there is more competition. Members will learn that these great promotions are worth earning, and you keep building emotional loyalty with your members.

10. Short Campaigns with Stamp Sharing. As well as the annual calendar of game-led promotions, you can also run promotional campaigns to support new products which are funded by suppliers. Simply add a new stamp card on a newly launched energy drinks range etc. and this card can be valid for a couple of months instead of just a couple of weeks, ensuring you always have new and exciting content and concepts. In these shorter campaigns, it’s particularly useful to allow your members to share their stamps with each other, so they can’t win alone, but they can win together! Friends love to support each other and these campaigns trigger buzz, word of mouth, and great community engagement!

Checklist for Reward with Stamps

As one of the simplest tools in the world of loyalty marketing, we believe that digital stamp cards also offer incredible flexibility and fun. Make sure to use our checklist below to ensure every tactic is scheduled and that you’re set up for stamp card success.

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 Loyalty Industry Podcaster

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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