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Beverage Subscription – The Future is Simple!

Paula Thomas, Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes


With fountain beverage sales expected to heat up in the US market, we are today discussing the latest idea of a beverage subscription package for our favorite fountain drinks.

Already, one of the world’s leading convenience store brands Circle K has launched a fountain beverage concept called “Sip and Save”, so it seems that convenience retailers now realise the exciting potential for fountain drink subscriptions, following of success of the model for hot drinks such as tea and coffee, led by industry innovators all over the world including Panera Bread (USA), Pret a Manger (UK), Espresso House (Europe) and Kauai (South Africa).

For retailers, there are certainly several key trends emerging for fountain beverages in terms of flavors and behaviours, but we wondered also why consumers would want to subscribe to a monthly package of unlimited fountain drinks, instead of simply buying them one at a time as they have in the past.“

So, this article discusses the value of an unlimited fountain beverage subscription for customers, and why a subscription could soon be seen as the “coolest convenience”.

It Makes us Feel Smart

With 92% of consumers constantly looking for great value deals, the idea of unlimited fountain beverages every day from your favourite local convenience store for one fixed fee is simply delightful.

In fact, research from Panera Bread shows that while over 160 million Americans drink coffee every day, “nearly half …. feel conflicted because of what they spend on coffee”, so it’s likely that the same underlying concern affects those of us who prefer fountain drinks as our favourite daily treat.

A subscription package means we know exactly how much our fountain favourites will cost. Of course, most of us will also work out how many drinks we typically buy each month, then after that, each extra beverage feels “free”. An awesome approach, so we feel super smart and savvy.

And according to the Financial Times, “the human brain is hard-wired to hate uncertainty”, so while we know this pandemic has already given consumers a reason to change where and how they shop, it’s also pretty obvious to realise that a fixed-price subscription for our favourite daily beverage without the risk of overspending, is a welcome and reassuring idea. Circle K is leading with a fantastic $5.99 monthly offer!

Standard beverage fountain machine in a convenience store

A soda subscription is great value and allows us to customise or choose a new flavour each day.

Fountain Subscriptions are Simple

As Leonardo da Vinci famously said “Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication” – and the same idea was shared by Harvard Business Review in their article entitled “To Keep Your Customers, Keep It Simple“.

We all know that customers are overwhelmed by options, and “craving a way to combat choice paralysis” so the simplicity of subscription does exactly that.

When a local convenience store offers a fountain beverage subscription package, my decision on where to go to buy one is eliminated.

Instead, my morning ritual of collecting my delicious fountain beverage simply becomes a moment of joy to look forward to. And now we have plenty of tea and coffee subscription programs to choose from.

Consumer enjoying her favourite fountain drink

Beverage Subscriptions are Quick

Even better, with my drink pre-paid, I simply skip the line when I get to the store, knowing that my favourite drink is already paid for. I simply pour my drink, scan and leave. There’s no need to queue to pay.

The simplicity of picking up my drink and scanning my beverage subscription code before leaving saves me precious moments, so at times like this, I wonder why it’s taken so long for us all to discover this simple idea!

Perhaps we first had to realise the simplicity of subscriptions from trusted eCommerce brands like Amazon Prime and Netflix, but with research showing that consumers increasingly value automated purchasing, it’s no wonder that this now appeals so much in physical stores in the same way it always has done with online stores.

A person smiling

A simple subscription package allows us to focus on more important moments in our day. 

Contactless is Just Cleaner

Pre-covid, most of us simply assumed that our favourite convenience stores had the highest possible hygiene standards when preparing our food and drink.

However, since the pandemic, we prefer to visit fewer stores. We are avoiding cash transactions and most people are now only truly comfortable when the purchase is contactless.

For me, using MY phone, with MY pre-paid beverage subscription package, I feel so much safer. I don’t need to lean in to order, hand over money, or accept a paper receipt or change.

A beverage subscription has the expected added benefit of not just bypassing the queues, delays and payment, but also all of the health risks that would otherwise arise.

C-store with visible fountain drinks machines, counters and fridges

A Fountain Subscription Allows Me to Simply Pour, Scan & Go

A Convenience Mindset

As customers, we focus on ensuring our needs and wants are met in the easiest and quickest way possible. Once we trust the product quality (it has to be a delicious drink), we value speed, simplicity, convenience and familiarity. A beverage subscription package gives us all these and more.

No wonder this is how I want to buy my fountain drinks in future.

Potential customer that belongs to a young audience

Younger demographics in particular want ideas that make life easy!

Who We Are?

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 allows retailers to create and manage their digital marketing campaigns such as beverage subscriptions 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.

Why us to Launch a Beverage Subscription?

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 Host of “Let’s Talk Loyalty” Podcast

With over twenty-five years marketing experience, I specialise in loyalty marketing content. In addition to working with Liquid Barcodes, my consulting 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 proud host of the “Let’s Talk Loyalty” podcast – the industry’s first podcast for loyalty marketing professionals.


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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