Canadian Loyalty Programs Went Digital-First in 2020

Rexall, Air Canada, Tim Hortons, and more revamped their rewards programs this year by tying access to mobile devices and digital interaciton.

As competition in the retail and food industries grew dramatically this year, many Canadian brands doubled down on a loyalty-based approach to retain customers. By improving their rewards program with digital-first, contactless capabilities, companies were able to keep customers coming back. 

Tim Horton’s updated its Roll Up the Rim program, Loblaw and Rexall launched rewards-focused health apps, and Air Canada and Hudson’s Bay reimagined their rewards programs by focusing on the digital customer experience. 

The Strategy Behind Tim Hortons Digital Roll Up the Rim Campaign

  • In an effort to further build its mobile loyalty platform, Tim Hortons annual Roll Up the Rim contest focused on digital integration this year.
  • Buying a coffee using a re-usable cup earns customers three rolls on the app during the first two weeks. Purchasing a coffee in the standard paper cup and registering the purchase on the app earns two rolls—one on the app and one on the physical cup. Standard paper cup and no app results in one roll. 
  • The final two weeks of the contest are digital-only. 
  • To reduce environmental impact and encourage digital adoption, Tim Hortons gave away 1.8 million reusable cups throughout their locations a day before the contest begins.

This year, Tim Hortons evolved its famous Roll Up the Rim program beyond the cup. An earnings call revealed that the coffee chain’s same-store sales fell 4.6% in Canada, prompting Tim Hortons to push a new back-to-basics, digitally-focused growth plan centered around the mobile app. Also in an effort to reduce the company’s environmental impact, this year, customers looking to score big in the contest needed to be members of Tim Hortons loyalty program and its mobile app. 

The contest featured multiple ways customers could earn a roll, using a mix of coffee purchased with a reusable cup or a paper cup and with or without the app. The idea was to hit three markers all at once: boost sales with a well-known promotional campaign, improve sustainability with reusable cups, and drive members to the loyalty program.

Loblaw Introduces PC Health: A Digital Healthcare Ecosystem

  • Massive chain Loblaw announced the launch of the PC Health app, a platform that uses PC Optimum rewards integration to inspire users to lead healthier lives.
  • After downloading the app, users are taken through a 25 question onboarding flow that creates an endless aisle of programs, content, and education for the user. After they’re enrolled, a number of services become available. 
  • Earlier this year, Loblaw invested $75 million into virtual healthcare startup Maple, and now the service is a core component of the platform.

This year, the massive chain Loblaw announced the launch of the PC Health app. Billed as “an innovative solution to provide Canadians access to care and resources how and where they want it,” PC Health is a natural progression for the company.

The goal of PC Health is to weave many different healthcare services together and offer incentives to ensure the healthiest possible outcomes. Features include virtual access to healthcare providers, so users can chat with nurses, dieticians, physicians, specialists, physiotherapists, psychotherapists, social workers, and more, all the while earning PC Optimum points to their linked account. 

The link to PC Optimum is the biggest factor going for PC Health. PC Optimum is the largest loyalty program in Canada, and if users can earn points for walking certain step counts or choosing a healthier diet, it will lead to prolonged success.

Rexall Launches Health-Focused ‘Be Well’ Digital Rewards

  • Popular Canadian pharmacy Rexall launched a new wellness and rewards program and app called Be Well.
  • The new app allows customers to digitally track their health, manage and refill prescriptions, and access virtual consultations, all the while gaining rewards points.
  • As more and more Canadians access health services online, Rexall is committing to offering better tools, data, and rewards to loyal customers.

Rexall this year announced the launch of Be Well, a new wellness-focused loyalty program and app. The program is designed to make it “easier and more rewarding” for customers to access their health services. 

Be Well offers features such as the ability to track health metrics like heart rate and step count, access medication and vaccination history, and refill prescriptions. Rexall customers using the app can also earn and redeem points to receive discounts on health and wellness products. 

Aeroplan Lifts Off as Air Canada Reimagines Digital Engagement

  • Air Canada announced it was re-acquiring Aeroplan in 2018 and has now launched the loyalty program as a digital-first platform.
  • New tools such as the Points Predictor allow users to accurately understand how much their points are worth in terms of flight rewards.
  • The new Aeroplan leverages an updated technology infrastructure to integrate relevance and recognition into rewards.

After divesting in 2008 and repurchasing its Aeroplan loyalty program in 2018, this year, Air Canada unveiled plans for a new Aeroplan program, this time optimized for a digital audience. 

Now, customers can book tickets using rewards directly from the Air Canada homepage. Every seat on every Air Canada flight is available for rewards redemption, without any cash surcharges. New partners have been added to help increase earning power, and new tools like the Points Predictor offer estimated ranges that members will need for their flight rewards. 

Hudson’s Bay Debuts Refreshed Digital Loyalty Program

  • The new Hudson’s Bay Rewards Program is a frictionless, omnichannel digital experience that eliminates the need for a physical rewards card.
  • Customers earn points when shopping simply by providing a phone number or email address.
  • Users can manage membership, check point balances, and redeem points directly within HBC’s e-commerce platform.

As part of its ongoing brand relaunch, Hudson’s Bay refreshed its customer loyalty program, moving it online for a frictionless digital experience.

The revamped Hudson’s Bay Rewards Program eliminates the need for a physical card: customers can collect points while shopping simply by providing a phone number or email address. In migrating its loyalty system online, Hudson’s Bay has also provided customers with the ability to check their points balance and redeem points for rewards all within the company’s e-commerce platform when they shop online. The new Hudson’s Bay Rewards Program also has a lower points threshold: users now earn 1,000 points for every $5 spent. Program members can now easily gift points to other members online, or donate points to Hudson’s Bay’s charitable partners directly via the company’s website.