GN Focus | Credit, Debit and Loyalty Cards

The weird and the wonderful

Loyalty programmes are relying on the fun factor to create rewards that people remember. Clearly, it’s the little things that win over the consumer

  • By Shalini Seth
Specialist Writer
  • Published: 00:00 November 29, 2012
  • GN Focus

  • Image Credit: Supplied
  • Bee’ah, the integrated environmental and waste management company, has launched a myBee’ah Loyalty Programme that rewards customers who recycle bottles and cans

Loyalty programmes are taking the idea of the consumer being king very seriously, indulging the weird and wonderful quirks of their rulers. As the answers to the question, “what do you want”, vary depending on the consumer, loyalty programmes get more interesting. Consumers across the world have expressed their fondness for rewards that come in the form of fiery chilli sauce, having chores done, having their sheep win a beauty contest, kissing a lobster, a room upgrade and, of course, the wish-list staple, an iPod. We feature some of these.


Do my chores: Buzz, an Australian insurance company, instead of relying on the boring old no-claims bonus, gives their consumers the gift of time. Its reward programme Buzz Time allows repeat consumers to redeem their points for chores, via partners such as Dial an Angel (home cleaning and gardening), Gizmo (PC and network set-up and support), and Galmatic (driving and car maintenance courses). The programme is based on the company’s consumer survey, in which a majority of consumers opted for time to enjoy perks rather than points.


Tomato Ketchup Fiery Chilli: Food brand Heinz has launched a Facebook- and app-driven campaign to reward consumers of its Tomato Ketchup Fiery Chilli product. The reward is, of course, more Tomato Ketchup Fiery Chilli. In a programme launched in September last year, consumers in the UK could download coupons worth 25p (about Dh1.5), which doubled in value once they were forwarded to friends. The company also launched a new barbecue app, which gave fans the chance to win one of 25 packs of Heinz sauces every day.


Bottles and cans: This November, Bee’ah, the Sharjah-based integrated environmental and waste management company, has launched its myBee’ah Loyalty Programme in Dubai with its first Reverse Vending Machine at the eco-store, the Change Initiative.

This is the latest of several outlets to host the Reverse Vending Machine, which accepts plastic bottles and aluminium cans, rewarding consumers with myBee’ah loyalty points, which can be redeemed on special offers from participating partners and affiliates.


Swim with sharks: Last year, MGM Resorts International in Las Vegas rewarded consumers for spending money while shopping, nightclubbing, dining and on shows. Rewards for the M Life programme were not simple room nights or meals. Consumers could win a chance to mingle with celebrity chefs and boxers, feature in a Cirque du Soleil production, swim in the shark tank at Mandalay Bay or dine alongside the Bellagio fountains choreographed to the song of choice. The premise is that loyalty programmes that work involve emotion.


Come home to a full fridge: Supermarket chain Tesco in the UK tried out virtual grocery shopping at Gatwick Airport this August. Aimed at those returning after holidays to an empty fridge, the interactive virtual grocery store app in the departure lounge at Gatwick Airport allows consumers to pick from 80 products on their sliding screens. Consumers who want to buy something can scan the barcode with their smartphones and have stuff delivered the day they return.

This is a smart move given that by 2016, 90 per cent of all mobiles will be smartphones, which are expected to make up around 15 per cent of all online sales by the end of this year.


Gluttony is its own reward: Belly is not just the digital version of a traditional loyalty scheme but also has some wonderful rewards. Created by a Chicago-based start-up, it allows its subscribers, so far only in the US, to swipe a Belly card or quick response code stored on their iPhone or Android phone against an in-store iPad at the point of sale to accumulate points. Rewards from various affiliates have included all cupcakes you can eat in ten minutes at a bakery, a fishmonger allowing Belly customers to kiss a prize lobster, a comic bookstore that offers customers a chance to punch the owner in the stomach, arm wrestling a sandwich restaurant owner or ride along in a food truck and a portrait of you and your dog on a store’s wall, among others.


My pet sheep: In Senegal, the way to many consumers’ hearts is via their sheep, which make adored pets before they are sacrificed on Eid Al Adha. Such is the popularity of the animal that an American Idol-style programme searches for the prettiest of the lot. Having completed its fourth season, the programme has a Facebook page with some 11,597 fans, who upload video and photos. In supermarkets, it makes the perfect prize for a raffle, which rewards shopping with a chance of winning a sheep.

GN Focus