Starbucks Enhances Mobile Reward Program With Bingo Game

What Happened
Starbucks added a new feature in its mobile app to make its already-popular rewards program more addictive. Aptly named Bonus Star Bingo, this new feature adds a gaming twist to its mobile rewards program, prompting customers to fill out their bingo cards by using the mobile app to pay for purchases at specific times of the day or for specific items to win more “stars”, which is what Starbucks’ rewards points are called. Customers can win up to 300 stars for filling out the entire virtual bingo card. To promote the launch, the national coffee chain also launched a standalone site to demonstrate the game as well as a social media campaign with sponsored posts and a #BonusStarBingo hashtag.

What Brands Need To Do
This smart addition should help Starbucks continue to fuel its growth in mobile ordering, which accounted for 7% of all transactions in the last quarter. By making a game out of mobile purchases and earning reward points, Starbucks introduces strong incentives for customers to make repeated purchases and boost mobile app usage. This new feature should serve an inspiration for brands looking to more effectively engage their customers on mobile and revamp their rewards program to boost sales. CPG and QSR brands, in particular, should consider tying purchases to a reward program that is easily accessible and manageable on mobile and making it fun and interactive by adding game-like features.


Source: Mobile Commerce Daily

How Swarm And T-Mobile Aim To Revolutionize Reward Programs

What Happened
Swarm, the check-in app spun off from Foursquare, is adding a rewards layer. The two-year-old app introduced a Perks feature on Tuesday which allows businesses to offer discounts or other value offers to Swarm users. By leveraging existing discount networks, Swarm Perks will offer rewards from over 60 national chains, which consumers can use immediately in stores once they claim them in Swarm. The program also adds a Challenge feature which prompts users to enter sweepstakes for bigger prizes such as cruises or concert tickets

In a similar fashion, T-Mobile is also looking to leverage real-life rewards to make its customers happier. As part of its “Uncarrier” campaign, the telecom company is launching an initiative called T-Mobile Tuesdays, which allows T-Mobile users to redeem a free reward every week. This week, for example, T-mobile customers will have the chance to get free tickets to see the new “Warcraft” movie. In coming weeks, they will be able to get a free takeout pizza from Domino’s, a Frosty dessert from Wendy’s, and a movie rental from Vudu. T-Mobile also scored a number of big corporate partners for this reward program, including Condé Nast, the MLB, MGM Resorts International, Samsung, and Shell.

What Brands Need To Do
By putting these two new reward programs side by side, it is clear that they both differ from traditional reward programs as they are designed to simplify the process and offer customers a more direct and seamless user experience to claim rewards. No more clipping coupons for later use – just grab the discounts as you’re checking in on Swarm. As for T-Mobile, giving away free stuff on a weekly basis is a straight-forward way to reward your customers and drum up some good press. After all, people love free stuff – just look at how the new Chick-fil-A app shot to the top of the chart in the App Store by promising users a free chicken sandwich.  

For brands, these two mobile-first reward programs open up new opportunities to reach customers with special offers and, in Swarm’s case, at a hyperlocal level. Therefore, brands should consider teaming up with Swarm and T-Mobile to leverage the reach of their reward programs to attract new customers and amplify their promotional efforts.


Sources: TechCrunch & AdAge

JCPenney and Shopkick Inspire Cinderella Moments for Consumers

JCPenney has tapped into the ever-growing trend to combine mobile and retail to stay relevant amongst competing ecommerce and mcommerce channels. Consumers who visit JCPenney will notice an array of Cinderella-themed merchandise for promotion of the latest Disney movie.  The retail chain has partnered with mobile app, Shopkick, in an effort to create buzz and boost foot traffic in their stores.

The Lab took a visit to JCPenney to discover just how this brick-and-mortar store is using mobile to drive traffic into the store.  What we found were various plaques decorating the store that read: “Use the Shopkick app as your magic wand for a chance to win JCPenney gift cards to complete your own Cinderella look”.  Consumers can then scan a barcode and gain “kicks” that lead to discounts.

JCP-Shopkick5 JCP-Shopkick1

A unique discovery we also uncovered—Shopkick promotes healthy living. After chatting with other consumers participating in the magic, we found that some users are motivated to get out and walk as opposed to taking the NYC subway just to gain more kicks by passing storefronts.

Best In Class: Belly Springboards Brand Loyalty

Many people frequent the same coffee shop or breakfast spot on the way to work each day, and many are left with wallets full of stamp cards, and relatively minimal rewards for every 10 items purchased. In a move that combines the physical and digital realms, an app called Belly merges these cards into a digital wallet of sorts, a rewards program on your phone. The premise is simple: many new stores use iPads as cash registers, with the prominence of services like Square encouraging the move away from traditional registers. As such, Belly presents each of their users a unique QR code within the app that’s readable via the store’s iPad’s front-facing camera. Once the unique QR code is scanned Belly registers that the user made a purchase, and adds points to that user’s tally which can be redeemed, much like stamp cards, for real-world rewards.

What’s so special about Belly, though, is that it combines real-world, tangible, everyday rewards, while combining a simple piece of new technology to streamline a user pain-point, while encouraging brand engagement by allowing users to share their rewards across their social and digital networks. At the same time, Belly provides a map of shops that use the service, encouraging active users to build rewards within the app. It also seems likely that those with Belly would be incentivized not only to use the map to find stores, but to use the app in conjunction with the map to build up rapport with brands and brick-and-mortar establishments that they might otherwise pass up.

Where we’ve seen apps that look to reward mobile users in specific moments, Belly is one of the only apps that looks to create and establish long-term brand loyalty, in addition to allowing brands the creativity to create quirky rewards of their own, creating positive feedback loops of loyal shoppers. It’s not only a useful app, but a very forward-thinking method of thinking through consumer loyalty and brand interactions.