How to Create a Next-Gen Coalition Loyalty Program: a Definitive Guide (2021)

Curious about the past, present and future of the coalition loyalty program? We show you the best strategies and technology for this type of rewards program.

the cover image of Antavo's Coalition Loyalty program guide
Design element on Antavo's website

The idea of multiple brands coming together to form a shared loyalty program isn’t new. The benefits are seemingly obvious, too: customers can earn and spend points while shopping at a variety of brands, while participating businesses see an uplift in revenue, touchpoints and user data, not to mention cross-promotion. Yet with a few notable exceptions (like Plenti in the US and Nectar in the UK), the concept of coalition loyalty programs never quite took off. 

However, loyalty technology and rewards solutions have seen unprecedented growth in the past few years, opening up previously unexplored possibilities for coalition loyalty programs. 

Regions such as the EMEA have already normalized the concept in malls, and verticals such as the travel and resort industries are also known for using it digitally. Still, it was the Covid-19 pandemic that made companies realize that they need to join forces in order to break new grounds.

All of this led to a renaissance for the coalition loyalty program. 

After reading this guide, you’ll understand:

  • What kind of rewards system constitutes a coalition loyalty program
  • What type of businesses benefit the most from a shared rewards system approach
  • What the hallmarks of a truly next-gen coalition program are
  • How a truly enticing user journey looks
  • How to efficiently manage participating brands to ensure long-term success
  • How this sophisticated technology works behind the scenes

If you’re planning to introduce a successful coalition loyalty program, it’s key to understand the whole concept, from key features to possible in-store hardware. And this guide is meant to do just that. 

What Is a Coalition Loyalty Program?

Before discussing the specifics, it’s worth examining what the concept of a coalition program actually entails and how it’s different from other, similar program structures. 

The Definition of a Coalition Loyalty Program

Also called “shared loyalty programs”, coalition loyalty is a concept in which many unrelated brands join together in a partnership. What makes coalition loyalty programs unique is that customers enjoy more freedom and a wider range of incentives, as they can earn points at all participating brands, then redeem said points at a different participating brand. 

The earn & burn rate for points is generally influenced by business margins. If the earn rate is universal, then the burn rate will be modified based on the business margin. If the earn rate is already defined by the business margin, then the burn rate is aligned to it. As for rewards, some programs offer loyalty-themed gift cards, some have a shared rewards catalog, while others go the extra mile by creating experiential incentives, such as VIP services or members-only events.

“Customers love being rewarded for doing things they were already planning to do, and they feel a sense of advantage when they earn points in a transaction. Hubs where this opportunity is ubiquitous attract shoppers while providing members with the data to personalize the experience.”

Tim Tyler
Managing Partner at Ellipsis & Company

Coalition Loyalty Programs Vs Multi-Brand Loyalty Programs Vs Umbrella Loyalty Programs

When it comes to shared loyalty programs, there’s often a mixup between three major loyalty program categories: coalition programs, multi-brand programs and umbrella programs. All three of them are based on the idea of uniting brands under the same roof, but the subtle differences must be highlighted to better understand them. 

  • Multi-brand loyalty programs are created by larger groups that consist of multiple subsidiaries, such as PepsiCo. In this case, we’re talking about an in-house reward system for sub-brands and/or partners that offer slightly different products or are based in different regions. In this case, there’s no clearing and settlement between the participants, as they all belong to the same organization.
  • Umbrella loyalty programs are formed by brands that are independent of each other, but still share common ground (such as travel agencies, hotel chains and airways). The core of this reward system is that involved parties have to share the management cost and there’s no hierarchy between them. The concept of ‘shared load’ also means that companies have to come up with their rewards on their own.
  • Coalition loyalty programs are created by a single company, and then extended to a number of participants (called “tenants” in the case of retail hubs). This is the typical case for mall loyalty programs. The owner of the program is responsible for managing the program and overseeing the clearing and settlement process. Tenants still enjoy a level of freedom, benefiting from increased footfall and the data collected through the program. 

“In the Post-Covid era, retailers need to contend with and adapt to the shift in their customer’s transactional behaviour, that is, from offline to online, and from shopping malls to e-marketplace. In line with this shift, there could be insufficient spend in the offline channel to create any meaningful rewards for their loyal customers. Coalition loyalty, with the right partners, could offer a superior proposition where the collective earn and burn potential far exceeds what could be achieved by a single retailer.”

Shawn Tan
Managing Director at Interactive Rewards Asia

Why Did Shared Programs Fail in the Past?

Coalition loyalty programs tend to have a reputation for not being sustainable. Plenti, for instance, (created by American Express) lasted only 3 years, despite enlisting big names such as Macy’s, Chili’s, Direct Energy, Hulu, Nationwide, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Expedia and AT&T. 

Contrary to an individual loyalty program, the appeal of a shared program comes from the size of its partnership. With more participating brands comes more opportunities to earn points, not to mention customers are exposed to potential new brands. But this is a double-edged sword, because the program starts to lose its appeal as tenants start dropping out.

“The old retail loyalty coalitions didn’t help the participating companies market to each other’s customers. They’ve either closed or have been acquired by the anchor supermarket. The new coalitions are structured like successful airline frequent flyer programs with an owner-operator. Virgin Red now includes all Virgin branded business in the UK. Yuu Rewards in Hong Kong includes all the retail brands owned by the Jardine group.”

Simon Rowles
Managing Director, at Beyonde

Another drawback is that shared programs struggle to act as a differentiator for the participants. From the tenant/brand’s perspective, they are the ones supporting the coalition program, and not the other way around. And this can be rather demoralizing.

These two issues are closely related: a brand joins a loyalty program to be part of a rewards system without actually building one, and to benefit from cross-promotion. Over time, they realize the immense value of a loyalty program (and see that they are only getting a part of that value), and quit the coalition to launch their own.

Plenti’s coalition loyalty program page depicting the section of its sub-brand, Macy’s
It was the domino effect that killed Plenti: Macy’s was the first to quit due to launching its own standalone program, closely followed by AT&T. Other big-name companies left a year later, spelling the end of Plenti.

The Lesson So Far…

Shared loyalty programs are powerful customer retention tools that can elevate the presence of participating brands, as well as help the program owner (such as malls) generate interest and increase footfall. However, if the program fails to properly accommodate its tenants, tenants will quit, dooming the whole concept. 

Due to the rise of new, touchless technologies and a major change in the retail landscape, a new breed of a coalition loyalty program has appeared, which may bring a renaissance for this type of loyalty concept.

A banner recommending to download Antavo’s ‘The Definitive Guide to Creating a Successful Loyalty Program’ ebook
For a more in-depth look at loyalty programs — their evolution, key aspects, and development process — check out our dedicated guide or download the concise ebook version.

Benefits of a Coalition Loyalty Program

Being a hierarchic reward system, coalition loyalty programs cater to three distinct groups: the program owner, the participating brands, and the customers. Therefore creating, joining and being a member of such a program brings along its own set of perks.

Benefits for Program Owners

Increased dwell time and footfall

Due to the various offers, customers are more likely to spend more time interacting with the program, exploring stores, and just having a good time with friends at the premises.

Collect valuable customer information

Coalition loyalty programs serve as the first point of contact for malls, airports and multi-brand retail businesses, which can serve as a channel to obtain customer data that can be used for personalization. 

Increased share of wallet 

This type of loyalty program also increases share of wallet for the program owner, as the added value convinces customers to choose them over the competition.

“Offering access to multiple retail brands, restaurants and services under one loyalty programme provides customers the freedom to build and spend rewards how they choose. This, in turn, enables customer behaviour to be captured across various touchpoints in order to better tailor personalised incentives. Meeting the changing behaviour and attitudes of your customer profiles to deliver customer led partnerships will provide the variety, freshness and relevancy they seek to maintain brand affiliation within the program and drive long term success.”

David Illinesi
Manager Consulting at Acxiom

Benefits for Tenants

Program credits are more valuable

The tenant’s loyalty credit grows more attractive as customers have access to more locations, a wider reward pool and a larger variety of benefits.

More customer insight

Partners gain access to anonymized customer statistics to better understand their audience, offering them valuable insight to acquire new customers.

Extended promotional pool 

Additional marketing channels and a larger audience to target at a higher frequency opens up new promotional channels, coupled with cross-selling opportunities.

Three quiz-like gamified survey questions asking people to share their preferences
Other than capturing purchase data (which will be further discussed in the ‘Coalition Loyalty Technologies’ section), participating brands can rely on post-visit gamified surveys to collect people’s personal preferences and ask them about their experience/feedback.

Benefits for Customers

More rewarding experience

No matter which tenant shoppers make a purchase from, they earn rewards. Doing so reinforces the idea that their engagement with the brand was worthwhile and results in a more memorable experience.

Easier point collection

Customers can earn points on a larger scale, so it’s easier to reach the reward thresholds. Thus the frequency of the emotional high associated with the reward redemption is higher.

Surprise & Delight

As tenant brands are in control of their offers and campaigns, chances are high that each time a customer visits, something new awaits them, further incentivizing them to keep coming back.

“In any loyalty program, long-term success is maintained by nurturing a relationship with the customer through valuable and relevant communication. This is no different for a coalition scheme and there are significant advantages, in terms of the variety of offers, customer convenience, and the versatility of the customer rewards. However, all loyalty programs must be simple for the customer, and create emotional connections as well as provide rational rewards. Coalition programs must not forget these key pillars of success.”

Tom Peace
Managing Director at The Loyalty People

Is a Coalition Loyalty Program Right for Your Business?

Before diving deeper into the features and technologies that make the concept of shared loyalty programs work, it’s important to establish what kind of industry verticals are a good fit for it. In short, coalition loyalty programs are most beneficial for two distinct groups:

  • Retail hubs, such as malls and airports, where multiple brands offering a diverse range of products can be found in a single location
  • Companies that work with a large list of partners, regional branches or re-sellers, such as online marketplaces, financial services and telecommunications companies

“When done well, a coalition programme offers the benefits of flexibility, affordability and visibility for merchants, and for customers, they offer speed and speed to earn rewards faster. Post-Covid, consumers will continue to crave simplicity as before – but also a renewed sense of community and connection. A well run coalition loyalty programme can do exactly this.”

Paula Thomas
Show Host of Let’s Talk Loyalty

Let’s see how these two groups benefit from a coalition loyalty program. 

Elevating Your Retail Presence in the Age of Retail 2.0

The experience of prolonged lockdowns have changed customers’ perspective of retail hubs. On one hand, they were exposed to the convenience of online shopping and click & collect. However, they still wish to go out and visit their favorite stores with friends, as a social experience.  

This promises an increased interest in plazas, shopping centers and other retail hubs. Airports and travel destinations will also see an uptick in freedom-hungry tourists once lockdowns are lifted around the globe. 

For retail hubs, the appeal of a coalition program comes with the fact that it increases the value of the real estate. Customers love being rewarded, and the fact that every store at the location grants points makes the whole experience feel much more alluring. Furthermore, coalition programs at malls or airports aren’t common, therefore it’s a strong differentiator against the competition.

“Understanding the unique shopping behaviours of consumers in a specific region is key to maintaining long-term success. Not just to include brands that are the most relevant for your targeted loyalty customers, but also to ensure that the participating brands and stores are within reasonable proximity to each other, making it easier for consumers to access as many of them as possible in one go. It’s also crucial to diversify the brand categories of your program.”

Aytek Ekici
CTO at Emakina MENA

Main goals

Coalition loyalty programs for malls and retail hubs should aim to:

  • Allow cross-platform and bundled reward journeys
  • Be swift and seamless across all stores and services
  • Work in every store, with every phone, and with every credit card
  • Be touchless – a basic requirement in the post-Covid era

 

An Antavo-made example of a loyalty program membership page for malls
Loyalty programs for malls or airports are ideal platforms to engage customers with prize draws, VIP rewards and community events.

Fostering an Inspiring Partner Environment

The ability to involve partners in a shared, yet controlled loyalty ecosystem is another key characteristic of coalition programs. This can be an essential draw for businesses that work with a platform of partners, such as telecom companies.

In this case, the tenants may be either the individual physical stores that offer the company’s service (alongside a wide range of products), or the partners themselves (such as entertainment venues, streaming services) that often provide cross-selling opportunities for the program owner. In this case, involving partners also increases the number of touchpoints, as the loyalty program and its benefits are advertised on partner websites, too. 

“To be successful, a coalition loyalty program must deliver value for its members and for all participating partners. Brands collaborating in a coalition loyalty program must share common objectives and a similar consumer base. Each brand must benefit from consumer data and analytics to understand customers and deliver a more personalized experience.”

Andréanne Rondeau
Loyalty Expert at StratLX

Companies with a large number of regional offices or franchises (like banks, for instance) can use the shared loyalty concept a bit differently. In this example, the tenants are the branch offices. From a customer’s perspective, it’s not different from a standalone rewards system geared towards financial services. But from a management perspective, each region can create their own, exclusive campaigns and offers, while the company itself can monitor the performance of each branch. 

 

Lastly, coalition loyalty programs are a good match for online marketplaces. Companies, like Amazon or Tmall in China, already offer their sellers a loyalty toolkit built into their platform. With the coalition reward system, customers earn the same currency across the board, while established sellers have the opportunity to increase the appeal of their offers by running various campaigns. Sellers also benefit from the customer data collected in the program.

Main goals

For companies with a large partner network, a coalition program should:

  • Give tenants additional value, instead of being a pain point, to strengthen the partner relationship
  • Offer sophisticated tenant and content management features
  • Run on technology that’s easy to learn and handle by staff
  • Have extended reporting capabilities
The main page of the Telarus reward program, overviewing the rules and benefits
Telecommunication company Telarus created a loyalty program—empowered by Antavo—with its partner network in mind. The rewards included in the program are aimed at making it easier for partners to attract new customers.

Key Coalition Reward Program Features

In order to make the concept of shared loyalty program work, program owners need a list of features that ensure flexibility and fair management towards the tenants, as well as great reward opportunities for the customers. 

Specializing in truly next-gen loyalty solutions, Antavo offers such capabilities in its Loyalty Management Platform. Here’s a general overview of the most important features (some of which will be discussed more in-depth later on in the guide).

Cross-Brand Journeys

One of the main appeals of a coalition program from the customers’ perspective (besides the ability to earn points from any store on the premises) is cross-promotional journeys. The loyalty logic of a shared reward program allows brands—or even the owner of the program—to create campaigns in which multiple stores or brands are involved.

For instance, after shopping at a clothing store customers may receive a coupon to a store that offers accessories, or an offer for a slice of cake at a nearby cafe. Or on certain days of the week, customers will earn bonus points for shopping at specified stores. The purpose of setting up cross-brand journeys is to promote store discovery and ensure customers spend more quality time shopping on the premises.

“To maintain long-term success, a coalition loyalty program has to be adapted to its environment in a Darwinian way, i.e. it has to be designed and operated for an omnichannel, connected, interactive, user-centric, and service-oriented world. It also has to be systemically sound and inclusive. Ultimately it is just about the economics of it and by economics, I mean all facets of the business model and how it meets the constraints of diverse connected markets.”

Alexander Papanastassiou
Integration Manager at Emakina

Offer & Brand Management

An integral part of any coalition loyalty program, brand (or tenant) management is the umbrella name for all features that allow the program owner to authorize content from the participating brands and exercise administrative processes. 

Antavo’s coalition loyalty capabilities grant the following tenant management features:

  • Participating brands or tenants can upload their reward campaigns directly into the loyalty program, which can be reviewed and approved by the program owner 
  • Program owners can create and use Multi-Level User Groups to define tenant access to different features
  • Program owners can set up approval chains within the organization to better structure managerial access for staff members

The offer & brand management feature allows tenants and participating brands to add more value to the loyalty program by creating their own rewards, campaign and content. At the same time, you don’t need to give up control over the program and can set up limitations if necessary.

The image depicting the offer and brand management interface within Antavo’s Loyalty Management Platform
Using Antavo’s Loyalty Management Platform, participating brands can directly upload their campaigns and offers to the loyalty program. Their campaign offers will be reviewed and approved before they become visible to program members.

Guest Customer Management 

For malls and airports, tourists are a key source of revenue. These ‘ghost’ customers, however, are hard to identify and collect data from. This is most likely because their visits are short and infrequent, and these customers usually don’t want to spend time enrolling to use the program just for a day. However, through guest customer management, coalition loyalty programs can persuade them otherwise.

 

In short, guest customer management refers to a series of processes and features that streamline the enrollment journey so it becomes more appealing for guest shoppers. Here’s how it works:

  • Customers can enroll in the coalition program at any tenant location using the same enrollment process
  • There’s a single customer view, which is updated after every customer interaction, no matter where the interactions happen
  • Membership benefits and cross-brand offers are heavily emphasized
  • Enrollment is quick and easy, which saves time, while customers have the option to later share more data by taking surveys or completing their customer profile
A kiosk in a mall promoting the mall’s loyalty program, where customers can enroll via a QR code
Through Guest Customer Management, it’s easier to capture the attention of tourists and unidentified customers, enroll them, and learn more about this important demographic.

Batch Reward Management 

A common management issue that many shared loyalty programs run into is the tediousness of reward management. The more rewards, offers, and campaigns a loyalty program offers, the better it is. However, the notion of uploading thousands of images, reward descriptions and other details into the system can be a major headache for program owners.

So if you’re planning to introduce a coalition loyalty program, make sure to pick a loyalty platform that offers a batch reward management feature. This means you’ll be able to upload and manage large reward databases with a few clicks of a button, saving precious time for staff members who are managing the program.

A banner recommending to download Antavo’s ‘The Ultimate Guide to Loyalty Program Rewards’ ebook
Curious about what kind of rewards are a great fit for a coalition loyalty program, other than discounts? Get inspired by our insightful ebook.

Settlement

Running a coalition rewards system is like managing a bank. The points that tenants hand out act as an actual currency, and amassing a large amount of liability can potentially cause financial issues. In other words, at the end of the day, the amount of points earned and redeemed will be unevenly distributed among the tenants. To ensure long-term viability, a coalition reward program requires proper clearing and settlement measures.

The settlement process can be implemented in a number of ways. For example, the brand pays the program owner for the points, and the owner later reimburses them for the points that were spent. Alternatively, points can be handed out for free and tenants only need to pay for the points that weren’t used up. Or you can get rid of points altogether and use coupons instead. In that case, tenants keep track of the coupons customers have used at their locations, and the program owner reimburses them.

“Despite recent developments in several mature loyalty markets, the coalition model is still viable. The niche coalition concept fits the shopping mall, airport, marketplace environment as multiple merchants can share the costs of operation, loyalty communications, and technology that may not be affordable on their own.”

Mike Capizzi
Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional and Dean of The Loyalty Academy

Antavo’s Clearing & Settlement module

Antavo’s Loyalty Management Platform supports coalition programs through a dedicated Clearing and Settlement module.

  • Manage the financial settlement between participants in regards to points issuance, redemption and expiration
  • Manage the addition and removal of participating brands
  • Manage cost reimbursement to cover program administrative costs
  • Provide reporting to manage liability and assess individual brands’ commercial exposure
  • Provide reporting to the program’s operational team to facilitate performance reviews for individual participants

How the coalition loyalty program clearing and settlement feature works between members, program owners and brands.
The clearing and settlement module also comes in handy for banks and financial services, as they need to be able to balance out point liability for partners.

Coalition Reporting

Data is the lifeblood of shared rewards programs. Data helps both the program owner and the tenants to better understand customers and personalize more effectively. Furthermore, companies that have created the program for their partner network gain insight into important metrics about tenant performance. 

The reporting capabilities of Antavo’s Loyalty Management Platform allow you to:

  • Create relevant, customized reports without help from IT 
  • Sync data to your business analysis tools, e.g. Power BI
  • Collect available data, e.g. enrollment metrics per partner, the value of customers they bring to you (if the data is provided by your partner), reward redemptions per partner, etc.
The coalition loyalty program reporting capability for tracking and comparing brand progress, on Antavo’s Loyalty Management Platform
Antavo’s Loyalty Management Platform lets you track participating brands’ performance on the dashboard and compare their results side by side.

Coalition Loyalty Technologies

The technology behind retail-centric coalition loyalty programs is just as important—if not even more important—as the features themselves. Why? Because the technology that connects tenant brands to the loyalty database should be universal and consistent, otherwise the whole system breaks down.

In more detail, tenant brands require a form of hardware integration capable of:

  • Enrolling new customers
  • Identifying existing members
  • Registering points earned and other transactional information
  • Identifying and displaying available rewards and offers
  • Redeeming coupons and offers

“Long-term success relies on staying relevant and maintaining an attractive value proposition. A Loyalty app can bridge the gap between online to bricks and mortar. Technology needs to be used to enable the delivery of complex marketing in a simplified manner to members. The future of loyalty lies in a strong value exchange with valuable data nurtured and utilized to deliver a better experience and increase revenues.”

Nik Laming
Director at Urban Leopard Ventures

Technology to Capture Customer Data

The technology that keeps the wheels of the coalition program turning should be taken into account while mapping out the concept for your loyalty program. In this day and age, there are four options that stand out, in terms of usability:

  • POS integration at tenants: Loyalty identifiers can be easily added to all transactions, then retrieved from partner brands’ data layer.
  • Scanner device: Use an application on a phone or tablet to scan the customer’s digital loyalty card, then choose from three actions: assign points, deduct points or redeem rewards.
  • Card linking: Customers connect their credit cards with their loyalty accounts, allowing their purchase totals to be tracked.
  • Receipt scanning: Customers scan their own receipts, which are then validated by an OCR-based receipt scanning algorithm.
A scanner device and a mobile held in hands, showing how a loyalty transaction works during checkout
Implementing a scanner device at tenant locations is easy and it grants plenty of freedom. Furthermore, the app is capable of displaying a step-by-step guide for the staff, making their job much easier.

Meet Antavo’s Coalition Loyalty Hub

A step up from the scanner device option, the Coalition Loyalty Hub is an Android-based application running on a symmetrical device with two screens: one screen facing the customer, and the other facing the staff member operating it. The purpose of the device is to connect participating brands to the loyalty provider, enable customer enrollment and identification using built-in NFC capabilities, as well as make point earning and spend an easier process for both the customer and staff.

Key benefits include:

  • Quick, guided checkout experience
  • Faster loyalty journeys that can be initiated by customers or staff
  • Customers are educated to log in and identify themselves
  • Additional NFC capability eases identification
  • Loyalty program promotion before and during checkout
  • Enables the loyalty journey for foreign customers, too
  • Easier staff training
  • Built-in fraud detection
  • Incentivization schemes for staff
Antavo’s two-screened Coalition Loyalty Hub device
Antavo designed the Coalition Loyalty Hub with user-friendliness in mind, no matter which side the user is standing on.

How Does the Coalition Loyalty Hub Work?

  1. The customer’s screen displays loyalty program promotions, enticing them to enroll or log in. 
  2. Members identify themselves as members by scanning their digital loyalty pass or following instructions on the device to enroll in the program.
  3. After successful identification, the customer profile is shown on the staff’s screen, so they can manage any necessary loyalty interactions.
  4. During the process, the customer’s screen showcases which rewards and offers they’re eligible for, which they can redeem before finalizing their purchase.
A side-by-side comparison showing how a loyalty action looks like on the shopper’s and the tennant’s screen of Antavo’s Coalition Loyalty Hub.
Thanks to the Coalition Loyalty Hub’s double screen, each loyalty program action the staff member makes is visible to the customer, too. Customers can also use their touchscreen to redeem rewards.

Loyalty Thought Leaders on Coalition Loyalty Programs

The power of experiences and emotional rewards

“Shopping is emotion, experience and spending time with loved ones. It can’t be replaced by online stores. People will return to the local stores after Covid. Retailers will find ways to integrate technology with showrooms and shelves. The coalition program can create synergy among shops and brands, to encourage shoppers even more to come back and do it more often.”

Bjorn Kellerman
Business Development Manager at 4NG

Coalition programs and the omnichannel mindset: a perfect fit

“The old models for building an ideal CX online and in-store have been upended, with Covid serving as a wakeup call to retailers to build customer strategies that deliver seamless, consistent and frictionless experience across both. By blending physical and digital, coalition loyalty programmes play to the strengths of each channel creating the kind of symbiotic, integrated purchasing experience retailers need to be serving customers to exceed their expectations, drive engagement and long term loyalty.”

Michael Wood
Principal Digital Consultant at Astound Commerce

“Coalition loyalty programmes have always provided consumers with the potential of greater earning power and rewards choice. But, post-Covid, it’s likely people will shop less frequently in large multi-store locations. To thrive, these locations need to become true destinations that get people to stay longer and spend more. Loyalty coalitions should work together and use their digital + physical touchpoints to make the in-person shopping experience feel special, exciting, personally rewarding and memorable.”

Kate Wheaton
Head of Strategy – Customer Engagement, Ogilvy

“A well-structured coalition program will help all partners, especially by attracting members, but also for each brand’s loyalty budget. Post-Covid you need to evolve your coalition to be more and more omnichannel, which is what members are looking for in the new normal. But the battle starts from the baseline again as shopper behavior has dramatically changed in the last year.”

Alexander Süßel
CLMP,  Digital Loyalty Consultant

Collecting customer data and sharing themes: the cornerstones of a shared program

“Long-term success for coalitions will hinge on their ability to deliver cutting edge customer insights, and to support their partners in turning these insights into actions which grow customer value. Combining richer data with smart analytics can also provide unique opportunities to grow customer value, especially when competitively positioned within a mall or hub. This will likely require smart people using superior technology, working to build a strong and long-lasting loyalty proposition.”

Adam Schaffer
Managing Partner at Ellipsis & Company

“Coalition loyalty programs are a huge network boost to retailers, allowing them to collectively step into every single part of consumers’ lives and compete with the hyper-localization trend as a result of Covid and digitization. They can capitalize on common and complementary customer themes, giving customers the holistic experience they want across brands they actually desire – with combined value, faster and convenient.”

Ayesha Rashid
Managing Director at Growth & Innovation, Ogilvy MENA

Creating exciting new touchpoints via coalition loyalty

“We are moving to a place where the consumer is eager for initiatives to be integrated or managed all in one place, creating an easy adoption system with scalable benefits that give the individual choice and control over their rewards. As we say goodbye to 3rd-party cookies, coalition loyalty programs could be instrumental in helping brands enrich the customer profile using first-party data to better enable more personalised conversations, and ultimately driving and maintaining greater customer engagement across multiple touchpoints.”

Leigh de Klerk
Director of Strategy at Shaw/Scott

“In order to design a program that brings real value for the customers, a retail hub needs its tenants to participate, because it’s not possible to increase footfall without having attractive stores. Similarly, the individual store success cannot be achieved without a strong retail hub brand. A joint, multi-retailer proposition can create synergies that are translated into a significant competitive edge for all participants. For instance, obtaining a much deeper level of consumer data than purely the transactions with one brand.”

Ditti Stijger-Bacsa
Digital Strategy Consultant

“Coalition loyalty programs will play a key role in economic recovery by stimulating spend across retail networks. The sophistication of their marketing capabilities will support their partners by targeting relevant and attractive offers to members at a time where retailers are struggling with cash flow issues. To maintain success, coalition loyalty programs must continue to expand opportunities for members to earn, maintain an attractive range of desirable rewards, and avoid the temptation to erode the value of points or miles as a means to boost profit margins.”

Philip Shelper
CEO & Founder of Loyalty & Reward Co

Top 5 Inspiring Coalition Loyalty Programs

1. Nectar Loyalty Card

Launched in 2002, Nectar is the prime coalition loyalty program in the United Kingdom. The company currently has 16 core members, including eBay, Sainsbury’s and DHL Express, as well as British Airways, which allows point conversion with its own loyalty program. Nectar points can also be collected by purchasing from a variety of online retailers.

  • Points are earned for spending money on participating brands. The conversion rate is generally 1 point for £1 spent.
  • Participants have the freedom to offer bonus points for the purchase of certain products. Points can be used on cashback offers and coupons.
  • Nectar receives payment after each point given to a customer. Brands are then reimbursed once the points are redeemed.
The main page of the Nectar coalition loyalty program
Keeping up with the times, the originally physical nectar card is now available through smartphone apps as well.

2. Darna Rewards

Launched in September 2020, Darna Rewards is a coalition loyalty program in the UAE region. It allows customers to earn points and enjoy a wide range of benefits in a network of dining, gym & spa, theme parks & golf facilities, and retail establishments. 

  • The heart of the program is a hybrid model, mixing elements from earn & burn and tiered structures. 
  • There are three tiers with a total of 200 benefits.
  • The program uses card linking to track purchases; members have to link their credit card to their loyalty account.
The main page of the Darna rewards coalition loyalty program
Benefits at Darna include standard rewards, such as discounts

3. Hilton Honors

Hilton is a leading global hotel and resort chain. The company’s coalition loyalty program, Hilton Honors, is based on the company’s partnership with other resorts, which increases the number of participating locations from 584 to 5,900. 

  • The loyalty program merges simple earn & burn mechanics with a tiered system (there are four tiers in total).
  • Higher tiers unlock benefits such as free Wifi, digital check-ins, executive lounge access, and premium gifts.
  • Customers can use points to extend their stay for free, or to access special Hilton Honors experiences such as free brunches at high-end restaurants.
The main page of the Hilton Honors coalition loyalty program
Hilton regularly runs special campaigns during which members can earn double points, or save more on their bookings.

4. TapTap Loyalty Program

Vietnamese loyalty platform TapTap unites over 30 brands under its banner, including food & beverage companies, board game retailers, eCommerce stores and even wellness centers. The program has a strong digital mindset, as it’s only available through a dedicated app.

  • Customers earn points at participating stores after identifying themselves by having their app scanned while making purchases.
  • The app features a rewards section that lists the available coupons and vouchers for individual brands.
  • Through a partnership with Galaxy Cinema, TapTap allows members to turn Stars (the loyalty currency of Galaxy Cinema’s rewards program) into TapTap points.

 

The main page of the Taptap coalition loyalty program
Currently it’s only possible to collect points via offline purchases, which is a major downside, as many customers have already discovered the wonders of online shopping.

5. Majid Al Futtaim Share Program

Introduced in 2019, Share is an app-based coalition reward program by Emirati Holding Company Majid Al Futtaim. The program runs across a retail channel of 2,300 outlets, 16 shopping malls and 11 hotels across the UAE. Here’s how it works:

  • An earn & burn-style program, Share works with a 10 points = 1 AED conversion rate.
  • Points can be used for cashback offers, exclusive discounts, experiences and entertainment services.
  • Purchases are tracked either via receipt scanning or having the Share ID / Share Wallet app scanned at the POS.
  • The loyalty program also runs frequent social contests and campaigns, such as Instagram comment or picture contests.
The main page of the Majid Al Futtaim Share coalition loyalty program
Share Family accounts can be used by up to nine members, a popular feature that’s most often used by those dining in the malls.

Rally Together Your Own Dream Team

The concept of a coalition loyalty program isn’t dead. Powered by sophisticated loyalty technology and fueled by the right mindset, both program owners and tenants can hugely benefit from this type of partnership. Hopefully this guide has helped introduce you to a new generation of shared loyalty programs.

If you’re interested in learning more about the robust features and capabilities Antavo’s Loyalty Management Platform has to offer, feel free to book a demo, or invite us to your RFP.

Ready to dive into the planning process? Don’t do it without our trusty worksheet, which acts as a guiding light for your brainstorming. 

A banner recommending to download Antavo’s ‘Loyalty Program Concept Worksheet’

 

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Tamas Oszi

Tamas Oszi

Tamas is a Loyalty Specialist at Antavo with a keen eye for loyalty and customer retention research and trends. He studied philosophy and has a strong background in journalism. Tamas is a true gamer at heart and has an impressive collection of cyberpunk books.

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