Thirty years since SuperClub goof points

In 1993 Ireland’s Superquinn was the first supermarket in Europe to introduce a technology-based loyalty program – “SuperClub”.  The program was points based in the traditional way we know it, and its mission was simply to reward loyalty.

Superquinn always liked to engage with their customers, and an additional point earning mechanic they had “goof points.”  Goof points were awarded to customers who identified a mistake, it could be an item out of stock, a dirty floor, or incorrect spelling on store signage.  This created a sense of fun and a feedback loop for customers to engage.

The point of the anecdote is to show loyalty can be fun and engaging.  But many programs today have ignored the opportunity to engage in a non-transactional way with their members. Yet research shows that traditional “earn and burn” or pure discount programs are no longer enough, and if you want to gain a customer’s loyalty you must give them the full experience.

The reason for this is loyalty is an emotional response.  It is not something you give to your customers.  It is something they give to you if they have a positive interaction, engagement, or experience.  This was reflected in a recent article by Forrester.

Strategies that rely purely on loyalty programs to offer points and discounts miss an opportunity to drive deeper engagement through emotional loyalty”

To deliver this “emotional loyalty” you need to give customers a reason to build a connection to your brand.  The top five principles to create this connection are listed below, with examples of how brands have evolved from Goff points to experiential rewards to create added engagement:

  • Understands me
    • Coral Racing UK launched a new program where the reward is to give their members a VIP experience to be an owner for the day of one of the five horses purchased for the programme.
  • Makes me feel special
    • Tommy Hilfiger US offer loyalty members travel credit when they spend at seasonal times of the year.
  • Cares about me
    • AXA IRL shows through its rewards that they care about the motorists they insure by offering discount of fuel, car maintenance and car ferries
  • Has an audience of people like me
    • Superdrug UK showed its members they appreciate they really do not like “blue Monday” and offered them perks to get through the day
  • Cares about the world
    • Electric IRL highlights a new green partner every month in their program to show their commitment to sustainability

What these reward examples shows is brands are shifting from giving discount of spend, to seeking to earn a place in their members lives by building a connection.  This is done by entertaining them, solving their problems, making their lives better, and by capturing their hearts, they will capture their long-term value.

Mike Brinn is Global Loyalty Director with TLC Marketing with 20+ years’ experience working on loyalty programs in Retail, Insurance, Finance, FMCG, Entertainment, Utility and Sports.


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