Convenience Store Loyalty Programs: Lawson and Family Mart in Japan

A growing trend among corner stores (7-11, Lawsons, Family Mart) is to encourage customer spending through points based loyalty programs that give exclusive benefits and offers.

In a recent trip to Tokyo, I was able to experience first hand the process of obtaining coupons at Lawsons and Family Mart. Here is a quick snapshot about how such loyalty programs impact the customer experience.

REVIEW 1:  The LAWSON ONLINE SHOPPING terminal aka LOPPI

The Lawson QR Code we used was actually from KDDI Smart Pass coupons, where subscribers pay aprox. $4 USD and get exclusive app content + coupons. Here is some background on the telco’s deal with Lawson link

What was interesting was that the QR code itself did not unlock any discount or coupon, but instead we had to ‘connect’ it to the Loppi to get it appear on the machine.

From there, we returned to magical world of print, and got a hard copy coupon.  With the coupon in hand, we were able to get our yummy roll for free.

The online2offline model here was compelling for a few reasons. For one, the physical coupon ensured a paper trail for auditing and allowed the cashier to not have to worry about any technology or holding up the line for the customers.  Another interesting feature, was the ability to get points for purchases at Lawson called PONTA,  So here we were using a loyalty program of KDDI (the telco) to get an exclusive coupon at Lawsons (the store), but at the same time getting benefits for making other purchases at the store through Lawsons loyalty program PONTA.

As companies such as LAWSON are now actively expanding into South East Asia such as Indonesia, it will be interesting to see what type of partnerships they can strike with telcos there, as well as what type of coupon distribution and loyalty program they can implement.

Here is a Telco based rewards program from Philippines that Gimmie has worked on called SmartNET Rewards.  It will be interesting to see what approach Lawsons takes.

REVIEW 2: The FamilyMart Fami Port Coupon system

The Fami Port system was slightly more cumbersome due to having to manually key in the coupon code from the KDDI app to the machine. After keying in, it worked the same as the Loppi with the end result a physical coupon print out.  After using the coupon and making purchases we obtained our receipt, and here also was awarded T points, a competitive loyalty program to Lawsons Ponta program.

In conclusion,  these programs are well designed to eliminate long queues at the cash register, while also providing more benefits for users to shop with them.