#113: Flybuys - Loyalty Lessons from Australia's Most Popular Loyalty Programme

In this episode of “Let’s Talk Loyalty”, I summarise the great conversation I had in 2020 with Phil Hawkins, Operations Director for Flybuys – Australia’s most popular loyalty programme.

Phil has spent much of his career supporting its incredible success and he shared the 5 top lessons he has learned about loyalty marketing along the way.

Listen to this short episode to learn Phil’s lessons on truly building loyalty, and how Flybuys Australia is evolving for the future.

Show Notes:

1) Phil Hawkins – Chief Operations Officer at flybuys

2) Flybuys coalition programme

Audio Transcript

Speaker 0 (0s): Let’s Talk Loyalty is an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals.

I’m your host, Paula Thomas, and if you work in loyalty marketing, join me every week to learn the latest ideas for loyalty specialists around the world.

This episode is brought to you by Epsilon and their award-winning PeopleCloud loyalty solution.

Today, I’m delighted to announce that I’m taking part in Epsilon’s PersonaLive event this June.

Personalive is a series of online events designed to inspire marketers with thought leadership, best practices, as well as interactive discussions around identity and personalizing our customer’s experiences.

If you’d like to register for this free event and hear from Epsilon clients such as Marriott Inspire, GM financial, and FedEx, just go ahead and visit epsilon.com/let’s talk loyalty.

Flybuys Australia was set up to satisfy an interesting consumer need, which they called frequent flyer envy to help more Australian consumers fly for free.

They created a frequent buyer program where members earn Flybuys points across everyday. Spend a concept, which was so innovative at the time of launch that over a million households joined in the first week alone. This is the first thing I learned from Phil Hawkins, chief commercial officer of Flybuys, which is still to this day, Australia’s most popular loyalty program with 6.6 million households as members, two thirds of the whole country and road, an active with the Flybuys program.

Phil shared with me some of the key success factors for the immediate and ongoing success of the program initially, because so many of the leading retail brands in the country joined us partners for members to earn from. So the breadth of the proposition was, and is something that their members truly value at the time we chatted in early March, 2020 Flybuys included a total of 23 retail partners for members to earn from across all everyday shopping categories, including a leading supermarket chain called Kohl’s as well as fuel purchases, liquor stores, credit cards, and insurance and travel partners, as well as other leading brands like E-bay target and Kmart with such a broad partner portfolio.

Another key success factor is how many of the partners sales staff ask customers, whether they have a Flybuys account at the time of sale driving ongoing reminders and engagement for the program on a daily basis with this background and context, Phil who describes himself as a law tree veteran shared five key lessons that he learned from the creation operation and ongoing success of Flybuys that he believes will be useful for any loyalty managers listening around the world.

My brief summary of these five key success factors are as follows firstly, to question whether you actually need a loyalty program at all, a badly run program can actually be damaging to a brand. So it would definitely be better not to launch one. If you’re not going to support it with sufficient resources and appropriate levels of investment. Secondly, loyalty is a two-way street. The best programs are for brands to be loyal to their customers before expecting them to be loyal to you.

Phil also emphasized how important it is to be straightforward with no complexity or hidden catches. Thirdly, it’s not just about the points. Sometimes our role is just to be helpful. The example Phil shared is letting regular shoppers know when their favorite products are on special. So members can enjoy a great deal instead of maybe shopping with competitors. The fourth point is around the security and privacy of data, which Phil said is the biggest shift that he has seen in recent years.

Trust can literally disappear overnight if there is a data breach and if you lose customers trust, it would actually be a mortal blow to most loyalty programs. Finally, the range and relevance of rewards, Phil said that for some of their members claiming a free toaster can be not just transactional. It can in fact, be both emotional and aspirational on a, for some demographics. Flybuys is not simply a lifestyle perk or brand.

It makes a real financial difference to members every year. Finally, with those five lessons shared as this show was recorded in March, 2020, it was the first time that I mentioned coronavirus and Phil shared how Australian consumers were panic buying toilet rolls and other long life products. So Flybuys really had an important and useful role to play advisory members of policy changes when supermarkets, including Kohl’s had to ration certain product categories due to the pandemic in closing Phil Hawkins is certainly a loyalty veteran who and breeds loyalty.


Speaker 0 (5m 60s): If you’d like to hear him sharing these great learnings, the full episode is about 40 minutes long and it’s episode number 26 on let’s talk loyalty. This show is sponsored by the wise market here. The world’s most popular source of loyalty, marketing news insights and research. The wines marketeer also offers loyalty marketing training through its loyalty academy, which has already certified over 170 executives in 20 countries as certified loyalty and marketing professionals.

Speaker 1 (6m 37s): For more information,

Speaker 0 (6m 39s): Check out the wise market tier.com and loyalty academy dashboard Thanks so much for listening to this episode of let’s talk loyalty. If you’d like me to send you the latest show each week, simply sign up for the show newsletter on let’s talk loyalty.com and I’ll send you the latest episode to your inbox every Thursday, or just head to your favorite podcast platform. Find let’s talk loyalty and subscribe. Of course I’d love your feedback and reviews and thanks again for support .