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How Third Wave Coffee Roasters Use Gamification To Their Advantage

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

From “Bhaiya 2 cutting chai” and “Chetta 2 tea” to “Hey I’d like a Quad Venti Caramel Macchiato along with ⅓ cup almond milk, whipped cream and a slight vanilla extract drizzle”, we’ve come a really long way.

With tea of all sorts available in almost every nook and cranny of the country, coffee and its related outlets were quite the rare sight in India until very recently. What started as a feeble movement with the establishment of the United Coffee House and the India Coffee House in the mid nineties, has now evolved to an unfathomable extent, with India being the 10th fastest growing market for specialist coffee, truly paving the way for modern coffee lovers.

With well over 37,000 cafes throughout the country, there’s one chain in particular that stands out. An artisanal coffee establishment that has cracked the code down to the last very detail.

Yes, we’re talking about Third Wave Coffee Roasters, a chain of cafes that materialized in 2016, and has ever since taken the Indian Cafe Chain Market by storm. Founded by Sushant Goel, Ayush Bathwal and Anirudh Sharma, this chain that started off as a single cafe in the busy streets of Koramangala in Bangalore, now has over 90+ cafes across 6 cities.

Surely their ingeniously designed spaces are a sight for sore eyes, but what is it that really works for them? How do they manage to attract new customers while retaining their regulars? What’s their secret to engaging existing customers?

The easiest way to achieve those goals is gamification. By using game-like elements to create an interactive and exciting experience for customers while incorporating innovative techniques to engage and reward loyal customers.

How Third Wave Coffee Roasters leverage gamification to their advantage

Wave Coins: Fueling Customer Loyalty

Third Wave Coffee Roasters have introduced a unique loyalty program centered around "Wave Coins." The concept is simple yet effective – customers receive a 10% cashback on every transaction in the form of Wave Coins. These virtual coins can be accumulated and redeemed for various rewards within the cafe's ecosystem.

The Wave Coins program increases customer loyalty as they are incentivized to return to the establishment for their coffee purchases. It creates a sense of achievement for customers as they watch their Wave Coins balance grow with each transaction. Afterall, who doesn’t like their wallet filling up?

The exclusivity of the program is what adds to its appeal; customers must scan the QR code at the store to be eligible for earning Wave Coins, hence making each purchase a participatory experience.

Moreover, by requiring a minimum of 50 Wave Coins for redemption, Third Wave Coffee Roasters encourage repeat business, as customers strive to reach the threshold to unlock their desired reward. This strategy effectively retains existing customers and motivates them to continue engaging with the brand.

Referrals: Building Community and Expanding Customer Base

To further amplify customer engagement, Third Wave Coffee Roasters have employed a referral program. This program enables customers to refer to others by sharing a unique code, which the referred individual has to manually enter during their first transaction. As a reward for successful referrals, the customer receives a free beverage after the referred person has completed a minimum transaction of INR 100.

This gamified referral program not only incentivizes customers to spread the word about the cafe but also creates a sense of community. Customers turn into brand advocates in that process, actively encouraging their friends and family to experience the brand's offerings. This word-of-mouth marketing proves to be of tremendous value, as it brings in new customers while reinforcing the establishment's reputation.

refer and earn

By offering a time-bound validity for the referral beverage, Third Wave Coffee Roasters cleverly encourage customers to act promptly, adding urgency to the referral process. This time constraint can in due time create a snowball effect of referrals and hence increase customer acquisition.

Levels: The Path to Coffee Connoisseurship

Third Wave Coffee Roasters' gamification strategy includes a tiered level system, allowing customers to progress solely based on their engagement and loyalty. The levels – Partner, Influencer, and Ambassador – offer increasingly attractive benefits to customers as they climb higher up the ladder.

The basic level, Partner, is the default for all customers. As customers progress through the levels, they unlock more and more exclusive benefits. To reach the Influencer level, a customer must make a minimum of 15 transactions every 90 days. This ensures that customers are actively involved in the roaster's ecosystem, fostering brand loyalty.

Ambassador, the highest level, requires a minimum of 45 transactions every 180 days. This tier offers a more substantial set of benefits, including increased Wave Coins cashback, higher discounts, and even a range of free beverages and surprises. The Ambassador level presents an aspirational goal for customers, driving them to engage frequently and remain loyal to the brand.

Rewards: Interactive and Exciting Incentives

Third Wave Coffee Roasters' gamification strategy does not stop there. It extends to a dedicated "My Rewards" section within their app. Here, an animated wallet showcases customers' total savings, Wave Coins, cashback earned, and ongoing offers. This real-time display is of great help as it keeps customers informed of their progress, inspiring them to continue their participation.

play & win

The "Play and Win Every Day" feature is my personal favorite as it introduces an element of chance, suspense and thrill providing customers with an opportunity to spin a wheel periodically and win exciting prizes.

This element of surprise keeps customers engaged, as they eagerly anticipate the next chance to win these exclusive rewards.

Active rewards

The "Active Rewards" page displays all unlocked offers and their validity. By showcasing personalized rewards based on each customer's level and engagement, Third Wave Coffee Roasters further tailor the experience and maintain customer interest.

Wrapping it Up

Incorporating gamification techniques into their loyalty and rewards programs, Third Wave Coffee Roasters have absolutely revolutionized the coffee industry's customer engagement landscape. Coins, referrals, levels, and rewards have started to become essential elements in any business model, attracting new customers while retaining and nurturing a devoted following and we at Flyy help you achieve just that. By creating an interactive and rewarding experience for their patrons, these coffee roasters have solidified their position in the market and demonstrated how gamification can be a powerful tool in the pursuit of customer loyalty and business success.

As the Third Wave Coffee movement continues to evolve, gamification is likely to remain a fundamental aspect of customer engagement for these artisanal establishments.



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