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Beer Tokens: How Beer Hawk Runs Their Omnichannel Loyalty Program Using Antavo

There’s no industry where the concept of loyalty rings truer than in hospitality especially for beverage retailers. Think about it: bars live and die on the premise of being a second home for their patrons. But how can this possibly carry over to the e-commerce world, where the clientele primarily orders online or on their phone? I’ll show you the solution using Beer Tokens, Beer Hawk’s omnichannel loyalty program, as an example.

The Challenge of Building a Community

The food & beverage industry is characterized by frequent purchases with a relatively small basket value. This has led to cutthroat competition, so it’s absolutely necessary for brands to convince people to become regulars.

Making an impactful first impression is vital to laying the foundation for a long-lasting commitment, but companies need to keep members hooked with a strategy that rewards all kinds of brand engagements – not just purchases otherwise people will eventually head for the hills. 

To illustrate the effectiveness of such an approach, I’ll use Beer Hawk’s loyalty program as an example. The company has not only seamlessly connected its online and offline stores, but has also introduced innovative features to engage their customers. 

Meet the Specialty Beer Retailer

Beer Hawk is the UK’s leading online retailer of specialty beers and ales. It launched in the summer of 2012 and was acquired by AB InBev in 2016. The company now stocks more than 1,000 different beers and has a string of high-street bars, so people can enjoy their beer both in-store and at home.

Beer Hawk Beer Tokens loyalty program page

Beer Hawk has an online store at beerhawk.com and two bars in London where customers can redeem their points, even if they initially earned their points online.

A Loyalty Program for Beer Lovers

Beer Hawk set out to bridge the gap between its virtual and physical stores so that all customers can enjoy the same experience. The idea was to turn its existing Beer Tokens program into a more comprehensive omnichannel solution while also being able to identify loyalty members both online and in their bars.

The craft beer retailer’s other priorities included having a modular environment that allowed them to reward customer interactions in multiple ways. Lastly, Beer Hawk wanted to build a program flexible enough to integrate with their ecommerce platform and marketing automation solution, Magento and dotdigital.

So Beer Hawk’s loyalty program checklist looked like this:

  1. Move beyond transactions
  2. Implement an omnichannel strategy
  3. Enhance email performance with loyalty data
Beer Hawk Beer Tokens case study

Even though they already had a loyalty program, Beer Hawk decided to use Antavo’s technology to make the program more relevant across all their sales channels. Download the full case study here.

Beer Tokens Solution #1: Loyalty Mechanics that Go Beyond Transactions

Beer Hawk launched an introductory program with a comprehensive list of features. The company’s loyalty program uses a special point-based currency that resonates with its target audience: Beer Tokens.

The initial launch rewarded customers for purchases as well as non-transactional activities:

  • Each £1 spent (online or at the bar) is worth 1 Beer Token
  • Purchases, friend referrals, reviews, and empty draft keg returns are rewarded with a set amount of Beer Tokens
  • Every Beer Token is converted into a £0.05 discount on the next order

The unique nature of this approach comes from the fact it doesn’t just focus on rewarding purchase transactions. By including innovative elements in the loyalty program such as friend referrals, leaving reviews, and rewarding customers for returning their empty kegs, Beer Hawk has been able to motivate customers to engage in ways that are valuable to their brand.

Beer Hawk Beer Tokens features

The updated Beer Tokens loyalty program has brought along invaluable benefits, including positive word of mouth, increased customer acquisition, and higher purchase frequency.

Beer Tokens Solution #2: A Loyalty Program With Seamless Omnichannel Functionalities

Beer Hawk needed a loyalty platform that allowed customers to earn Beer Tokens for both online and offline purchases.

  • Antavo integrated with Beer Hawk’s POS system so that the customer’s Epos Now profile is connected to the newly-created loyalty account.
  • Participants receive a digital loyalty card as either a barcode in their beerhawk.com profile’s Loyalty Section or a mobile pass, which can be downloaded and stored in Google Wallet or Apple Pay. Members are now able to use their digital loyalty cards at the bar to earn Beer Tokens with their orders.

Digital loyalty cards are a 21st century way to identify customers similar to plastic cards, except they are always in your pocket or handbag. These can be updated in real time (i.e. when your account balance changes), and you can stack together multiple digital coupons under one loyalty card.

Beer Hawk omnichannel feature

After scanning the customer’s digital loyalty card, the point balance is instantly refreshed both in the POS and on the loyalty card, allowing patrons to redeem points multiple times a day, if they please.

Beer Tokens Solution #3: Building a Flexible Loyalty Platform That Supports Other Technologies

The loyalty platform needed to integrate perfectly with Beer Hawk’s ecommerce platform and marketing automation solution:

  • The loyalty interface is embedded into Beer Hawk’s Magento website, allowing customers to access both services with single sign-on.
  • Antavo was integrated with Beer Hawk’s marketing automation solution, dotdigital. All customer loyalty data, such as loyalty status, purchases, and available Beer Tokens, are pushed to Beer Hawk’s dotdigital account in real time, powering up the company’s email campaigns with information that’s up-to-date and personalized.
Beer Hawk email campaign

Loyalty-related content and seasonal events raise interest, as customers are more likely to react when there are limited-time benefits on the line. This is one of the emails Beer Hawk sent to their customers.

Use Case: Rewarding In-store Purchases via POS Integration

By uniting the online and offline channels, in-store and online purchase history is stored in one place, so customers can enjoy the same experience no matter where they buy their beer. 

  1. After registration a barcode is assigned to the new loyalty program member, which corresponds to their Loyalty ID. The barcode is displayed on the Loyalty Section of Beer Hawk’s website.
  2. The customer downloads the digital loyalty card on their smartphone, in a mobile pass format. It’s the same technology that airlines use to provide mobile boarding passes.
  3. Upon visiting a Beer Hawk bar and ordering a drink, the customer opens up the mobile loyalty pass and the bartender scans it.
  4. Since the barcode contains the customer’s Loyalty ID, Epos Now looks up the corresponding member profile. At this point, customers have the option to redeem their tokens and receive a discount on their order.
  5. Following the purchase, Epos Now sends the transaction details, coupled with the customer’s loyalty ID, to Antavo. The correct amount of Beer Tokens is calculated and added to the customer’s balance in real time and is immediately displayed on the customer’s account.
Beer Hawk EPOS integration

Beer Hawk’s omnichannel strategy helped both the ecommerce team and the bartenders in the bars, who could also recommend beer based on the customer’s taste profile.

A Fitting Loyalty Solution for Beverage Retailers

Antavo is dedicated to providing next-gen loyalty solutions custom-tailored to help drive your company’s KPIs. If you’re interested in a more detailed breakdown on how we helped Beer Hawk build their omnichannel loyalty program, check out the full case study

Tamas Oszi
Tamas Oszi
Tamas is a Content Marketing Manager at Antavo who loves to write about all things loyalty and customer retention. He’s also tasked with editing videos for Antavo’s Youtube channel. Tamas is a true gamer at heart and he’s really into cyberpunk books.