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Loyalty programs are generally leveraged as valuable marketing tools used to attract and retain the long-term business of consumers. Generally speaking, a successful loyalty program will keep people coming back, win a greater share of their wallet, encourage additional spend, provide a powerful competitive differentiator, and serve as an extremely valuable means of collecting customer data and behavioral insights.
These are all solid reasons to design and implement a loyalty program, but Social Bite, an independent sandwich shop and cafe in Scotland, is taking a new approach to this old marketing mechanism.
Social Bite is unique among most sandwich shops in that 100% of its profits are given to social causes.
What’s more, this is not simply some PR stunt or short-term marketing promotion. Every penny that Social Bite makes is donated for the good of society. About 1 in 4 of the shop’s employees were formerly homeless, and it continues to feed the local homeless community through the “Suspended Coffee and Food” initiative.
Customers can help the mission as well. Beyond simply feeling good about enjoying a delicious sandwich for lunch, they can even pay for food or coffee in advance and local homeless people can claim the items later.
But now customers can also engage in what is considered to be the very first "selfless" loyalty program. This allows customers to earn points, which can then be redeemed on behalf of a homeless person. Customers can give a homeless person a free meal and a hot drink after just 10 visits.
So far, customers seem to like the program. In fact, the entire idea was inspired by customer behaviors, which prompted Social Bite to transform its previously traditional loyalty program into one based on this altruistic model.
"We had a lot of customers wondering if they could give their free coffees and discounted lunches to the homeless instead of keeping them for themselves,” said Josh Littlejohn, Social Bite founder. "We've realized there is a real culture of people wanting to help people less fortunate than themselves - and if they can do that in their daily routines it's a real bonus.”
Homelessness has long been a problem where Social Bite operates its stores in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.
"This is the next step in making sure no homeless people go hungry and we hope other businesses will follow suit," Littlejohn continued.
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