The brewer says the digitally driven “Heineken Rewards” programme is the first of its kind in the UK due to its decision to eschew the more traditional coupon-based mechanic used by rivals.
The programme sees unique codes attached to the outer cases of brands such as Heineken and Sol at breweries across Europe. Each case is then scanned from a location-based app upon delivery to more than 100,000 outlets across the country. Registered participants are then verified against a database of independent outlets before being rewarded 10 points for each scanned case. Rewards include sporting and gig tickets, POS materials and experience days.
The scheme, created by marketing agency WhyNot!, has been developed for smaller restaurants and bars that are not directly supplied by Heineken. It wants to offer those outlets more of a reason to stock Heineken’s brands at a time when breweries are doing more to push NPD in the on-trade.
The trend has contributed to growing positivity around the sector of late. UK beer sales rose 2.6 per cent in the three months to June, the highest rate since 1997, according to the British Beer & Pub Association.
Andrew Turner, category and trade marketing director for the on-trade at Heineken, says: “Heineken’s premium packaged portfolio volume is growing at over 24 per cent, with new brands added all the time that we want to get in front of our customers. We needed a mechanic to encourage customers to stock our range and to reward our loyalists, and Heineken Star Rewards does just that. It enables us to gather valuable customer data and drive loyalty with significantly reduced risk.”
SAB Miller and AB InBev have attempted similar ploys in the past in order to build stronger ties to independent chains. Peroni has a loyalty scheme for a select number of restaurants with participants required to cut out the coupons from the outer packages and post them back. Elsewhere, Budweiser built a database of it customers in the independent trade in 1998.