Loyalty & Reward Programmes
January 3, 2024

Instant Reward Programmes: How Do They Work?

Instant reward programs

Welcome to our latest blog. Today, I'm taking a closer look at another type of loyalty programme. Instant Rewards are arguably the simplest form of nurturing customer loyalty. 

How often do you use loyalty programmes? Shockingly, research from Loyalty Magazine finds..

of respondents say it takes too long to earn a reward.

31% say it’s too difficult to earn a reward

27% say rewards aren’t valuable

24% say rewards aren’t relevant 

That's why today's savvy brands turn to instant rewards programmes to boost customer retention through personalised, digital experiences that surprise and delight. They understand the stakes - each loyal member contributes 12-18% more than non members.

In this article, I'll explore the instant gratification trend and share key strategies to create a rewards programme that hooks customers and breathes fresh life into your brand identity. You’ll discover new creative ideas to make your programme addictive. 


What is an Instant Rewards Programme?

Which Business Models and Industries Are Best Suited to Instant Rewards?

What are the Benefits of Instant Reward Programmes?

The Mechanics: How to Implement an Instant Reward Programme

Instant Reward Programme Examples and Success Stories





What is an Instant Rewards Programme?

Since working alongside leading brands on loyalty strategy, I’ve noticed an important shift - away from points to instant rewards (aka always-on rewards or real-time rewards), which are aligned to customer interests and behaviours.

Let me explain what this means…

An instant rewards programme delivered via a branded mobile app or website platform, recognises customers with hyper-relevant rewards, incentives or experiences in the moment. The key is dynamic personalisation rooted in data to instantly gratify.

No more accruing generic points for some future redemption. No more waiting weeks for mailers. No more friction. Just feel-good dopamine boosts digitally delivered to delight each customer, when they want it.

And I’m seeing first-hand, how instant rewards spark a loyalty surge through increased engagement. By this, I mean increased sign ups to reward programmes and uptake in reward redemptions, through personalised incentives.

For example, healthy meal kit subscription business, HelloFresh, offers its customers a range of relevant rewards, such as money of cookware and savings on fitness equipment, through complimentary partner brands. Customers have access to the rewards as long as they continue to pay their HelloFresh subscription.

The cost savings on related goods they would be purchasing anyway helps offset the cost of their subscription. In turn, this encourages retention and increases customer lifetime value.  

HelloFresh Instant Reward Program ExampleHelloFres Mobile Instant Reward Program

But why does it work so well? Our brains are wired for instant gratification. When we receive pleasurable rewards immediately, it drives cravings for more. Apply this to incentives and it gets customers literally addicted to your brand experience. When you marry human psychology with the latest tech, it’s a game changer.

Plus, the frictionless mobile experience taps into convenience...

Mobile is the preferred platform for reward redemption according to millennials. 46% prefer mobile apps and 28% via text message links (Statista)

Which Business Models and Industries Are Best Suited to Instant Rewards?

I've found that this type of reward programme is most beneficial to businesses that operate a subscription, membership or recurring revenue model.

Example industries that benefit from Instant Reward Programmes: 

  • Gyms, health and fitness
  • Meal kits 
  • Insurance
  • Beauty subscriptions
  • Financial services (loans, banking)
  • Consumer telecoms & utilities (mobile phones, broadband, energy)

Propello Industries


So, where there are extremely short attention spans and unlimited choice, Instant Rewards may be the only way to truly cut through, create memorable experiences and convert casual visitors into vocal advocates.

Find out if instant reward programmes are right for your business type with our comparison guide


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What are the Benefits of Instant Reward Programmes?

By leveraging the benefits of instant reward programmes, businesses can drive increased customer engagement, boost sales performance, gather valuable data, strengthen brand communication, and improve operational efficiency.

Immediate gratification: Instant rewards provide customers with a sense of immediate gratification, as they receive their benefits at the time of purchase or interaction. This can create a positive association with your brand and encourage retention.

Increased customer engagement: By offering instant rewards, businesses can incentivise customers to interact more frequently with the brand and encourage specific actions such as subscription upgrades or higher tier memberships. This increased engagement can lead to higher levels of customer loyalty and advocacy.

Competitive advantage: In industries where instant rewards are not yet widely adopted, implementing such a programme can give a business a competitive edge. Customers may choose to engage with a brand that offers instant benefits over one that does not.

Enhanced customer data collection: Instant reward programmes can leverage customer data, either collected from the programme itself, which can then be used to serve up relevant rewards, or through api integration with CRM systems. This data can be used to create more targeted marketing campaigns and personalised experiences, ultimately improving customer satisfaction and retention.

Cost-effective: Compared to traditional loyalty programmes that often involve points accumulation and delayed redemption, instant reward programmes can be more cost-effective. They reduce the administrative burden of managing a complex points system. Using an outsourced white label technology provider with marketing support instead of tackling this in-house, magnifies this benefit.

Flexibility: Instant reward programmes can be tailored to suit a variety of business models and customer preferences. Rewards can range from discounts and free products to exclusive experiences and personalised offers, allowing businesses to align their rewards with their brand identity and target audience.


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The Mechanics: How to Implement an Instant Reward Programme

Identification of desired actions (for conditional instant rewards)

In addition to offering a range of always on rewards and incentives, you can set triggered or conditional rewards to encourage a desired action such as a subscription renewal or contract renewal. i.e. do x and receive y.

Identify the customer behaviours, preferences and actions that you want to reward.

Conditional reward triggers for instant reward programs


Real-time reward fulfilment 

Rewards are instantly delivered once the specific action is completed (like activating the discount) or renewing a monthly subscription. Depending on the reward structure, there may be a time period before the next reward is redeemable.  

Feedback loop and tracking

This is essential for monitoring the behaviour of your customers. Let’s not forget that it’s equally as important to ask customers for feedback. It’s good to hear your customers’ thoughts and opinions on the rewards offered in the programme. It’s also important to understand whether some need improving in order to keep participants engaged. 

Promotion and communication

Another strategy for enhancing engagement. Consistent communications keeps customers informed and engaged. Your promotions also become more effective at attracting and retaining customers especially when informed by feedback loops. Don’t forget that social media can also play a part in this. 

Adaptation and iteration

Adjustments that optimise the programme for better engagement and results are based on the data collected in the back end. Customer loyalty requires long term strategies. Within the duration of which, customer expectations, industry trends and loyalty innovations will continue to change and evolve.

Implementing all of the mechanics above culminates into an ecosystem that’s designed to thrive and versatile enough to modify it as and when needed.

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Instant Reward Programme Examples and Success Stories

Below I’ve included some brief examples and success stories. All of the examples below are Propello clients. Let’s take a look at how each of them have implemented an instant reward programme. 

JD Gyms

Part of the JD Group, JD Gyms offers affordable gym experiences in community-driven fitness centres. Their aim is to make fitness accessible for anyone that seeks to improve their health or pursue personal fitness goals.

Customers can also pay to access an upgraded membership called JD Gyms Plus Membership. Once they are a member they gain access to numerous tangible benefits. These include free gym classes, one free PT session, a gym buddy invite and access to discounts with closely aligned partner brands (that include supplements and gym wear).

Visit the live programme

JD Gyms Instant Reward Programmes
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JD Gyms Instant Reward Programme 1
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JD Gyms Instant Rewards Programme 3
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JD Gyms Instant Reward Programme 2
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HelloFresh is a perfect example of why Instant Rewards and subscription-based services work so well. Their loyalty programme gives subscribers round the clock year round access to unique offers and benefits. 

The programme also demonstrates an inclusive and accessible ethos. Customers can choose what they redeem and when. This access and flexibility remains available as long as the customer stays subscribed to HelloFresh. 

Visit the live programme

HelloFresh Instant Reward Program

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Graze is another fantastic subscription service example that takes personalisation up a notch. In terms of service, they offer curated boxes of assorted healthy snacks. The tangible benefits their customers also receive however include the frequency of deliveries. 

Whilst such benefits are not strictly limited to participants of their Instant Rewards programme, Graze offers great savings on groceries and travel with brands that encourage the healthy lifestyles they endorse.

Visit the live programme
   Graze Instant Reward Prgram


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Customer loyalty is a marathon not a sprint. With Instant Rewards, you make sure that your business hits the ground running. It leverages instant gratification, not only meeting modern consumer expectations but powerful psychological triggers. 

These triggers lead to positive outcomes for the customer. Tangible benefits, ancillary value through discounts, and surprise and delight gifts and rewards leads to long term benefits for your business too. Driving high rates of engagement, enhancing brand loyalty and optimised reward offers through improved flexibility through real-time feedback loops.   


Find out more about instant reward and other types of loyalty programmes in our comparison guide

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Author Bio, Written By: 

Mark Camp | CEO & Founder at PropelloCloud.com | LinkedIn

Mark is the Founder and CEO of Propello Cloud, an innovative SaaS platform for loyalty and customer engagement. With over 20 years of marketing experience, he is passionate about helping brands boost retention and acquisition with scalable loyalty solutions.

Mark is an expert in loyalty and engagement strategy, having worked with major enterprise clients across industries to drive growth through rewards programmes. He leads Propello Cloud's mission to deliver versatile platforms that help organisations attract, engage and retain customers.


Q: Are instant rewards more effective than traditional loyalty programmes?
A: Instant rewards driving are usually more effective given their ability to satisfy growing consumer demands for immediacy, convenience and personalised experiences delivered at the moment it matters most to the individual. Personalised real-time rewards through mobile have consistently shown to result in significantly higher rates of loyalty programme participation, increasing purchase frequencies and greater customer lifetime value retention for your brand.

Q: What kind of data can brands gain from instant rewards?
A: Valuable first-party behavioural data on usage patterns, purchase histories and stated preferences are revealed, allowing brands to refine loyalty programme offerings and continuously improve the tailoring of future instant rewards for maximum impact. This also strengthens ability to implement more personalised mobile marketing strategies.

Q: How do instant rewards impact the customer experience?
A: Instant rewards enhance customer interactions by expressing timely, contextual gratitude that makes individuals feel truly understood and valued by the brand. This ongoing recognition fosters stronger emotional connections that positively influence customer satisfaction, advocacy and retention rates long-term.

Q: What customer segments benefit most from instant rewards?
A: Younger, more mobile-centric demographics tend to see the greatest value due to their preference to favour immediacy and personalisation. But properly personalised programmes succeed across segments by fulfilling each group's unique wants and needs through dynamic 1:1 rewards tailored specifically for maximum impact.

Q: How do brands measure the success of instant rewards?
A: Key metrics include monitoring loyalty program mobile app usage/retention rates, purchase conversion and frequency rates, time intervals between purchases or visits, measurable increases in individual customer lifetime value, and analysing member survey feedback on perceived brand affinity over time with the use of instant rewards.

Q: Are there any downsides to instant rewards?
A: Implementing and optimising these programmes long term requires extensive analytical capabilities and personalisation which can increase costs. Rewards also need ongoing refreshing to maintain member interest without becoming excessive or overwhelming to individuals. Technical issues could potentially undermine the experience if not addressed properly.

Q: What is the future outlook for instant rewards?
A: As consumer expectations around immediacy and personalisation continue rising, instant rewards will play an even greater role in shaping long-term customer relationships. Advancements in AI, IoT, and related technologies will further empower brands to deliver anticipation-based recognition driving loyalty through hyper-contextual offers and rewards tailored to individuals.

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