The next generation of loyalty programs is here and we’re going to start seeing less of a focus on generic discounts and freebies and more personalized experiences for loyal guests. Inspire Brands’ Jimmy John’s is the latest brand to update its loyalty program with this post-pandemic consumer mentality in mind.
The company announced on Friday that Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast Rewards program is launching achievement badges, which allow customers to combine physical feats with digital badges and rewards. For example, one of the first achievements being rolled out is The Gauntlet, which a customer achieves when they purchase all 25 Jimmy John’s sandwiches in a specific timeframe (anytime before March 15). Anyone who unlocks this achievement will receive a Jimmy Chips beanbag chair, combining exclusivity and gamification into one carb-centric challenge. Jimmy John’s hinted that other achievements that will be rolling out in 2023 could be tied to pickle or turkey-centric challenges, or even people that like late-night eats.
“Through our active and robust Freaky Fast Rewards membership, we know that our members value when brands know them on a more personal level,” Nathan Louer, vice president of brand marketing and activation at Jimmy John’s told Nation’s Restaurant News. “We see an important opportunity to drive frequency and loyalty with personalized offers and challenges. Gamification is not necessarily the future of rewards programs, but it’s something that we deem important for our rewards journey.”
Although earning collectible digital badges to be exchanged for physical prizes and exclusive merch or experiences might sound like the NFT programs that brands started experimenting with in 2022, Jimmy John’s said that these rewards only exist within the Jimmy John’s app and are not tied to digital currency or the metaverse.
We previously predicted that loyalty programs will start to merge with and/or take inspiration from the metaverse. This is a smart strategy because it’s the best of both worlds: digital collectibles and unique rewards without being bogged down by blockchain, which is usually used or understood by a small segment of consumers. For example, when Starbucks announced its foray into the metaverse, the company noted that cryptocurrency and VR headsets were not necessary to experience the community of digital experiences and rewards. Although Jimmy John's recently tested out the waters of the metaverse in early 2022 with the introduction of a metasandwich sandwich creation contest, in this instance, the metaverse is not a part of the strategy at all: it's just a more interactive loyalty program.
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