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Shell’s Loyalty Purpose – “To Understand”

Paula Thomas, Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes


This article was originally published on Global Convenience Store Focus.

When a fuel company like Shell, the fifth largest company in the world completely re-structures its loyalty programme in a key market like the UK, it’s an exciting opportunity for all of us in the convenience retail industry to listen and learn. And that’s exactly what we’re doing following the recent announcement that the Shell Drivers’ Club which boasts over 1.5 million members is closing down in 2019, to be replaced by a new approach and new ideas which we discuss below. With a target to double their membership to over three million members with their new programme, here we discuss the approach they’re taking and why they believe they can achieve this ambitious goal.

So What’s Changing?

Absolutely everything. The current programme is being shut down and completely replaced. From the overall positioning which reflects who they are targeting, to the obvious addition of a digital channel, to the overall customer proposition which eliminates their points currency entirely!

  1. Brand Positioning: As a sub-brand, it’s actually surprising that it is only now that the Shell Drivers’ Club – a loyalty brand focused entirely on fuel – is finally being replaced by a sub-brand that extends to their entire retail offering. Shell Drivers’ Club only rewarded spend on fuel at the pump, car washes and oil products in their stores, however the new Go+ brand now extends their loyalty proposition to their full range of products and services in store with a clear intention to appeal to a wider base of customers.
  2. Structure: The biggest change to the programme structure is the complete elimination of points as a currency. Go+ instead offers its members consistent always-on 10% savings on food and drink, with money off fuel on every tenth visit. If the value of loyalty points is not clear to customers, no points currency means no potential for confusion for customers.  This new structure is certainly simpler. No points, no tiers, no confusion. The downside for customers is that it will no longer be possible to transfer their points to other programmes such as the British Airways Executive Club or a chosen charity, however these previous benefits were not very visible to members, so they may not have been effective for the programme.
  3. Strategic focus: With a consistent discount benefit, the value-exchange to customers is clearer, with a new focus on rewarding the frequency of store visits – rather than spend. 
  4. Communications capability: Shell Drivers’ Club rewards were sent to members by post in a quarterly statement. With the inclusion of Go+ in the Shell app, and a significant amount of data needed to join (online registration was previously optional), the brand is now much better placed to build relationships and communicate offers by email as well as push notifications and in-app messages.
  5. Customer Proposition – Rewards and Benefits: The in-store 10% discount on food and drink is clear and consistent, and according to a recent interview, “the feedback….. is very positive” so this approach seems to also be more compelling to customers than the previous programme benefits. The concept is also being supplemented with a range of flexible loyalty mechanics, described as “conditional rewards”, ‘surprise rewards”, “bonus rewards”, “boost rewards” and “partner rewards”. While the benefits of this approach are difficult to communicate as part of an overall launch promise, these mechanics will become essential tools for Shell to leverage to ensure customer engagement and relationships over time.

Check out the new programme’s launch video to get a better understanding of their customer promise:

Shell Loyalty in 2019 – the Customer Promise  

Shell Go+

How it Works:

  1. Customers download the app – it’s the main call to action, however plastic loyalty cards and key cards are also available but they need to be ordered in the app or online and are posted to the member’s home address.
  2. The data required to join includes the proposed member’s name, gender, home address, postcode and e-mail address.
  3. Key benefits include 10% off every Costa Express and Shell hot drink, plus 10% off Jamie Oliver deli by Shell and deli2go food.
  4. “Visits’ are tracked and earned by visiting a Shell station and spending at least £2 in the shop or £10 on fuel.
  5. Members earn money-off fuel for every 10 visits. The discount level is not clear anywhere on the site and is simply summarised in the terms and conditions as “between £1 to £50 (inclusive) off Fuel purchases…. following the tenth (10th) Qualifying Purchase made by that member.”.
  6. The programme also promises “surprise freebies” plus 10% off Shell motor oils and selected car park programmes.
  7. As the Go+ programme sits within the main Shell app, users can also pay for their fuel without queueing up in store. The Shell mobile payment service uses Apple Pay, Android Pay, or PayPal and members simply select how much they want to spend and confirm the pump number. Once they’ve filled up, they can get straight back on the road.

Screenshots for the Go+ featuresScreenshots for the Go+ features with the Shell UK app.

Global Challenges

With customers in so many markets worldwide, it will be fascinating to see exactly how Shell localises its UK learnings. Our friends in Loyalty Magazine recently interviewed Pavel Los who is the Global Loyalty Manager for Shell’s loyalty initiatives worldwide, with twenty-one countries investing in loyalty in some form. Some of his key insights are as follows:

  • Technology adoption varies hugely worldwide. While smartphones are typically in the UK, older-style feature phones prevail in India.
  • In the Philippines, Shell predominantly targets commercial drivers for its loyalty initiatives and offers a merchandise catalogue for them to choose the rewards they earn.
  • In the US, Shell is predominantly targeting fleet drivers, and working in partnership with the Fuel Rewards programme which offers consistent “always-on’ discounts on fuel purchases.
  • In Russia, the loyalty proposition to date has focused on the inclusion of roadside assistance as a tangible benefit.
  • In other markets, customer relationships are often indirect, so Shell plans to leverage global learnings to support these through franchisees and dealers.
  • ALL markets will evolve away from points, even China where a points-based loyalty initiative was launched just six months ago in November 2017.

So What’s the Point?

Given the time, cost and complexity of launching any consumer programme, the key rationale for Shell is first “to understand” as outlined by Pavel Los. As the programme rolls out globally, it will be fascinating to follow Shell’s lessons and learnings. Our goal will be to follow this programme closely and follow up this story with another article later this year. Sign up below for our newsletter and stay up to date on these exciting loyalty initiatives in our industry.

Shell logo

About Us:

Liquid Barcodes is a leading global loyalty and digital marketing 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

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

To our case studies →

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