Remember 2007? Flip phones were still cool, dial-up connections were the peak of connectivity, and loyalty programs? They were plastic cards gathering dust in wallets. Fast forward to 2024 and we’re shopping, banking, commuting and connecting with friends at the tap or swipe of a finger.
In under two decades, mobile devices have become an indispensable part of our daily lives. In fact, around 81% of the population already owns a smartphone with the average Aussie checking their mobile device almost every 8 minutes! So when we think of the loyalty experience of retail customers in this fast-evolving digital age, it’s essential to reimagine the way we interact with and reward customer loyalty—and that’s exactly what Woolworths did.
This case study explores how Woolies successfully integrated mobile wallets into its long-standing loyalty program to achieve key metric goals of growth, engagement, acquisition and retention — and how Litecard can help to simplify the process to help retailers replicate the formula for success.
The Rise of a Digital Loyalty Powerhouse
As one of Australia’s pioneering supermarket chains, Woolworths was among the first retailers to recognise this paradigm shift to digital convenience. Their popular “Everyday Rewards” loyalty scheme has served over 14 million subscribers for well over a decade, offering its membership valuable perks like discounts, exclusive offers and redeemable points that could be traded with other partner loyalty programs like Qantas Points.
Launched in 2007 with a physical card linked to a digital member account, subscribers could access a virtual portal where they could manage their points and browse through the Woolworths Rewards catalogue. But as digital capabilities grew along with customer calls for increased convenience and value, Woolies knew it needed to take bold new steps to stay competitive.
With every brand from supermarkets to coffee shops and even fuel stations offering their own loyalty programs and membership cards, customers were growing tired of carrying around multiple cards and endlessly collecting points they may never use. Research at the time showed that a third of loyalty members never even redeemed their points because of inconvenient redemption processes, lost membership cards, expired points, or they just simply forgot about it.
These insights indicated the need to streamline loyalty programs for a mobile generation by enabling personalised offers that kept customers engaged, and frictionless earnings as well as redemptions directly from a mobile device, without the hassle of physical cards. It would take a monumental tech overhaul, but Woolworths was confident that it would re-energise engagement in its loyalty program for lasting success—and they were right.
Integrating Mobile Experiences to Increase Sales
By 2018, the retail giant had partnered with Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay to offer contactless payment options that also linked the Everyday Rewards program directly to customers’ mobile wallets. This meant that subscribers could now complete transactions while collecting and redeeming loyalty points in a single swipe — but the overhaul didn’t stop there.
In 2020, Woolies went a step further by launching the dedicated Woolworths Rewards app, allowing members to manage their accounts, earn and redeem points, access personalised offers, and view e-receipts entirely on their mobile devices, marking the introduction of a truly virtual loyalty experience.
Switching to mobile wallets streamlined the process exponentially for customers and invariably attracted a younger demographic that relied more heavily on mobile convenience. Gone was the need to present a physical card at checkout—discounts could be applied instantly and points earned and redeemed automatically through linked payment methods. Not only did this reduce friction in the loyalty customer journey, but it also saw increased sales for Woolies.
Creating Personalised Loyalty Experiences that Win Sales
One of the underlying problems of existing loyalty programs is that retailers often confuse “loyalty” with “rewards”. In a sea of choices, a loyal customer will consistently prefer and frequent their favourite brand and stores first, meaning retailers should be focussing on experiences that strengthen their relationships with loyal subscribers. Leveraging the power of data and analytics that come bundled with digital integrations, Woolworths is able to deliver targeted and timely offers to each customer, and design reward experiences that speak to individual preferences.
By connecting digital profiles to in-store shopping behaviour, purchase history and demographic data, Woolies is able to identify customer needs and preferences with greater accuracy. For example, customers receive push notifications featuring discounts on their most frequently bought items right when they need them, and geo-fenced loyalty offers are triggered when a subscriber enters a Woolworths store. Family shoppers can even be notified of deals on their recurring shop. Best of all, these hyper-relevant messages have translated directly into increased sales and basket sizes as customers feel truly valued by brands that understand their needs.
Everyday Rewards have made it extremely easy for members to earn back on their spending, and the simplicity of the program has attracted many new customers to the brand. Woolworths Group reported a 77.9% increase in e-commerce sales to $2.9 billion in H1 2021, while weekly visits to Woolworths digital assets also increased 62.4% to 20.2 million—clear indications of the strong demand for digital accessibility and the rapid adoption of mobile offerings. According to Woolworth’s annual results in 2023, around 56% of customers were scanning their Everyday Rewards cards when they shopped, accounting for 69% of total sales—meaning Everyday Rewards members were spending more at checkout than non-member shoppers.
Woolworths continues to grow and evolve its digital presence by monitoring customer feedback and interactions, with its most recent update including detailed breakdowns of points on the Everyday Rewards app to provide its loyalty customer with more transparency on their spend—a move that has been positively received by shoppers with many applauding it as a step in the right direction.
Simplifying Mobile Wallet Integration for Retailers
Woolworths’ success with their Everyday Rewards program proved that integrating loyalty seamlessly into customers’ everyday mobile habits can revolutionise engagement and spend. But this level of personalised, dynamic experience was no small feat and required considerable resources from all partners. So how does a smaller retailer with limited resources stay competitive while justifying their return on investment? Litecard has the solution.
Litecard simplifies the integration process through a centralised platform that enables any merchant to plug in and start seeing results. The Litecard solution supports linking popular mobile wallets directly into POS systems while also connecting to loyalty platforms via APIs. Transaction data is automatically shared in real-time to a customer’s mobile wallet membership. Members receive up-to-date balances and offers directly within their preferred mobile wallet without additional apps. The platform also handles the difficult work of meeting technical requirements for Apple/Google Pay integrations, simplifying digital adoption for merchants and brands.
Integrating loyalty at the point of sale transforms the customer experience through convenience while empowering retailers with valuable data for personalisation. With proven benefits including increased spend, retention and advocacy, brands of all sizes can now gain these competitive advantages through Litecard’s affordable and easy-to-implement solutions.
Some of the key benefits of using Litecard include:
- Faster time to market for mobile wallet integrations.
- Reduced development and maintenance costs.
- Improved customer experience and engagement.
- Increased loyalty program participation and redemption.
- Access to valuable data and insights.
To learn more about how your brand can start optimising loyalty for the mobile era, connect with a Litecard expert. Our tailored demonstrations illustrate exactly how to captivate customers through always-on integrations – are you ready to keep up with your digital shoppers?