Liquid Barcodes


Tesco UK Announces Subscription Strategy

Paula Thomas, Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes



This article was previously published in Global Convenience Store Focus.

Hailed as a “first for a UK supermarket” and a “breakthrough innovation”, Tesco has announced a significant new programme as part of its UK loyalty strategy.

As one of the most iconic programmes in the country, the current Clubcard loyalty programme was launched almost twenty five years ago and the scheme now boasts over 17 million members in the UK alone and operates in a number of European markets. By the end of this year, UK customers will have the option to enjoy “Clubcard Plus” – a new model for loyalty for the UK grocery sector that charges customers a fixed and consistent subscription fee in return for a range of benefits they choose.

Tesco’s loyalty programme has played a huge role in loyalty marketing history since its Chairman’s famous comment following the success of their initial Clubcard trial in 1994 – “What scares me about this, is that you know more about my customers in three months than I know in 30 years.”

So when the Clubcard programme recently announced such a dramatic addition to its loyalty strategy, it captured the attention of journalists, C-Suite Executives and consumers alike. For now, the details are sketchy, however “Clubcard Plus” is the name Tesco has given to its new subscription model, charging a monthly fee of £7.99.

Clubcard Plus – What Are the Benefits:

According to Chief Customer Officer Alessandra Bellini, Clubcard Plus subscribers can get up to four key benefits from the programme each month once it launches later this year:

  • 10% off two “big shops” in-store.
  • 10% off selected Tesco brands in-store (such as F&F clothing and Tesco Pet).
  • Double data from Tesco Mobile.
  • Tesco Bank credit card with no foreign exchange fees abroad.

Naturally, each of these options comes with its own terms and conditions and the full details are promised later in the year when the new programme is unveiled in full.

Who Will Benefit:

While individual consumers will have to evaluate their own potential savings from the fixed charge of almost £100 a year, a useful article illustrated the potentially powerful impact of the approach which increases substantially in direct proportion to the typical basket spend of the cardholder as shown below.

Tesco's Subscription Strategy

Evaluating Tesco’s Subscription Strategy – 

Will Subscription Drive Stability or Growth?

While investors delight in subscription models given their potential to deliver consistent recurring revenue in otherwise cyclical industries, the key to the success of this strategy remains wholly dependent on consumer response and adoption.

Amazon of course has managed to craft a proposition so compelling that “shoppers would be ‘irresponsible’ not to join”, however commentators seem less excited about the power of Tesco’s value proposition so far. For example, while Tesco remains the grocery market leader, its share is declining and with UK consumers increasingly supporting discount stores such as Lidl and Aldi, it seems hard to imagine that the idea of paying a subscription fee for in-store discounts will convince price sensitive shoppers to stay or come back.

Forbes also noted the lack of any benefits or savings for Tesco’s online shoppers who already pay a monthly subscription fee for delivery – adding cost and complexity for these shoppers rather than streamlining for simplicity. And while online shopping has been a challenging channel commercially, it may have finally reached its long-awaited tipping point for success with online supermarket Ocado becoming the fastest-growing grocery brand in recent analysis of the UK’s grocery market.


With the UK grocery sector so volatile, a subscription model makes perfect sense – but only if the benefits  to consumers are truly fantastic. Amazon Prime’s powerful combination of delivery and multi-sector benefits such as entertainment products have driven customer expectations to an all-time high – and at exactly the same price point, so it’s certainly all-to-play-for in this exciting market.

Tesco has a long and successful history with loyalty, and has been credited with being “the first organisation to use customer insight to actually run its business well” rather than just “make their marketing more effective”. With so much as stake, let’s hope they’ve done their market research thoroughly on this concept and can deliver a truly powerful subscription package to drive profitable growth.

Tesco Card club

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, 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

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