Vend Breakfast Workshop Series: The Future of Loyalty summary

Breakfast workshop

Forward thinking retailers are finding new ways to make each customer’s experience unique and memorable to increase repeat sales.

A big part of this is loyalty. Our second Breakfast Workshop in Auckland looked at where loyalty programs are heading, how to use data smarter and gift card innovation, and shared expert insights with leading NZ retailers and industry professionals.

Our experts included Simon Rowles, VP Asia Pacific for loyalty management company Aimia and Nathalie Moonlenschot, Business Manager of Loyalty for The Warehouse Group. And they were joined by Vend “dream team” Jade Tan Swea Phin (Product Design) and Kevin Soo (Product Analyst) who shared a look into the future of amazing loyalty and gift card technology.


Simon Rowles: “In loyalty, we’re moving away from transactions to interactions. It’s no longer just about rewards.”

  • The job of a loyalty program is to find your best customers. Find out what your customer pictures looks like. Usually just a small portion of your customers will contribute to the largest portion of your sales. 
  • Customers expect you to be hyper-personalised and they don’t want spam, otherwise they’ll be dissatisfied with your loyalty efforts. 70% of customers will unfollow you on socials if they’re not happy with how you’re communicating with them, 60% will delete your app and 70% will close their accounts with you or stop shopping.
  • Being hyper-personalised sounds expensive, but SaaS services are now in the range of just about everyone. Check out 11Ants, a New Zealand based loyalty & analytics company about to go global.  
  • In terms of information, you want to ensure at least 50% of your transactions are being measured, so you can collect enough data to get valuable insights. You can use an app like Collect for this that integrates with Vend.
  • Death before discounting. Discounting or cash-back debases your relationship with your customer – you’re essentially paying them to shop with you – and cuts into your margins.

Always aim for ‘smart’ rewards: Rewards that are personalised and give more than just money off. For example coffee cards – if your local coffee shop knows who your favourite barista is, or your favourite blend they can give you offers based on this. Or they can provide perks that don’t involve discounts, such as skipping the queue or remote ordering. It doesn’t cost the retailer anything but shows the customer that you understand who they are.

Starbucks does this amazingly well. They track the full purchase cycle of all their customers, such as what they’ve bought, when they’ll buy again and then target people based on this information.

Nathalie Moonlenschot: “If you remember your customers, they’ll remember you.”

  • Everyone talks about ‘big data’ but using data to learn more about your customers doesn’t have to be ‘big’. Keep it simple; don’t try and do everything at once.
  • Instead, look for one key trend in your customers and focus on one or two segments and customer groups. For example, it’s really helpful as a first step to identify shopping behaviour – find out which of your customers shop with you once week, once a month, once a year.
  • Creating product clusters based on customer information is a great way to run loyalty. For example, Create a cluster of products that can be linked to each of your key items, and then 1-2 weeks after a customer purchases a dress for instance, target them with offers and ideas on what else they could buy that would complete the outfit. It’s a far easier customer journey than marketing something completely new to them, and will drive people back in-store.
  • Identifying your best customer is about retention. Your second best customer is the one that you can grow. Look at what your best customer is doing that your second best one isn’t, then leverage those differences to reach out to your customers and grow their engagement with your brand.
  • Starbucks is a great example – they identify their ‘irregular’ customers and then send offers using push notifications to those in close proximity, in order to bring customers in during quiet periods.  
  • It’s also about being first. You might have competitors that provide the same products as you, but if you’re the store that tells your customers about a new range before others, they will be more likely to buy it with you.

To hear more from our experts, download the full presentation by simply completing your details below.


Get the best start to your morning and join other leading retailers at our next workshop.

The Vend Breakfast Workshop series are free bi-monthly events for retailers to hear from industry thought-leaders in a intimate setting. Topics are relevant to what’s current and the format encourages open discussion between speakers and attendees.

Pre-register your interest to attend a future workshop in your area.

If you have any questions about our workshop series feel free to drop us a line at

About Cath Carlsen

Cath is Vend's Events and Sponsorship manager, and also our resident adventurer. Before joining Vend, Cath lived a sea worthy life on Super Yachts traveling the world and avoiding sea sickness. After retiring from the high seas she went back into the advertising game. She's a passionate party planner, surfer and loves to give plenty of banter. You can connect with Cath on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google +.

One Response - Add Comment