Surprise and Delight: the future of the high street retail experience?

| June 13, 2018 | By

Surprise and Delight it’s a massive challenge for retailers, who are constantly looking for new ways to create positive experiences for their customers. But how does a retailer actually go about surprising and delighting their customers that will successfully enhance engagement, satisfaction and loyalty? According to Yoyo product manager Laura Palit, there are three key principles that every retailer should adopt…

Surprise and Delight: the future of the high street retail experience?

“The shopping experience must now entail far more than simply ‘buying stuff’; whether it’s browsing online or in store, retailers must surprise and delight shoppers.” 

Some challenging words from Scott Lester, chief executive and founder of Flixmedia, in a recent article he wrote for Retail Week.

“Surprise and Delight” it’s a big challenge for retailers, who are always trying to find new ways to engage with their customers. But how does a retailer actually surprise and delight their customers in a way that will genuinely build anticipation, not look gimmicky or become overly intrusive to the shopping experience?

When asked what retail experiences consumers expected when out shopping, 69% of 18 to 34-year-olds said personalised deals/discounts tailored to past purchases, according to a recent YouGov survey.

For me, the most attractive retail incentives for consumers come about when practical value is added to the shopping experience. At Yoyo, we’ve focused on the payment experience at the point-of-sale to achieve this – whether it’s adding frictionless loyalty automation, instant digitally itemised receipts or personalised rewards to the moment when we pay for our items.

Quite rightly, however, consumers now expect personalised deals/discounts, as well as added value at the point-of-sale, to be part of their normal shopping experience, rather than seeing it as anything that’s surprisingly delightful.

Surprise and Delight at the point-of-sale

We’ve known (and proven) for a long time that a lot can be delivered in a single moment at the point of sale – after all, it’s the central point of engagement between the customer and the retailer.

In the same way Yoyo frictionlessly delivers a loyalty experience, we wanted to create a new customer experience layer that could seamlessly wrap itself around the point-of-sale, and, at the same time, genuinely surprise and delight our users.

The experience would need to stand out and create an emotional connection – two key factors to strengthening consumer/retailer relationships and creating brand advocates.

To achieve this, we focused on 3 key principles that would ensure the customer experience would be seamless, rewarding and delightful:

1. Be Timely

Post-transaction is the moment we’ve found our users to be most engaged. The app is already open after being used to pay, and the customer is looking at their itemised receipt or checking out how many stamps/points they are away from their next reward.

At this moment, a surprise pops up with an option to win something more! A winner is immediately awarded their prize, creating a positive impact at the perfect moment.

If the customer wins something, they can immediately claim their prize. If they haven’t, it leaves them with a sense of wanting another go.

2. Be Relevant

Traditionally, retailers have tried to engage their customers through methods like in-store collateral and mass email marketing. While there may be a high reach using these methods, there is little relevancy here for consumers and retailers are unable to tell if this is what triggered their behaviour. 

There are many variables that could be used as trigger – i.e. time of purchase, store visit frequency or when a specific product has been added to a customer’s basket – and these are triggers that can easily be measured and analysed through the Yoyo app.

A good example of utilising these triggers was a very simple Surprise and Delight campaign we ran with Coca Cola earlier this year. 

A customer would automatcially trigger an entry into a certain campaign by purchasing a Coca Cola Zero via a Yoyo-powered app.

This is what they would initially receive:

And when they “Taped to Uncap”, this is what happened if they won a prize:

This meant that only users that purchased the chosen product would participate in the campaign, which led to increased engagement compared to traditional methods like email marketing

3. Be Delightful

Creating a truly delightful experience is invariably the most important part of a Surprise and Delight campaign.

When a consumer uses a Yoyo-powered app, the in-store checkout experience is quick and convenient through a fast QR code scan – and before they know it, payment is complete and loyalty is automated.

Now here’s that extra experience layer. As that user is waiting for their items or walking out of the store, they feel a buzz in their hand and Aha! A surprise has popped up on their screen.

Through an exciting animation, customers can shake or tap it open to reveal what surprise is in store for them. This unexpected, fun and simple user experience is what we hope creates delight for consumers and leaves them wanting more!

Case Study: Delivering a successful Surprise and Delight experience for Caffè Nero customers

Last Christmas, Caffè Nero launched its first Surprise and Delight campaign by rewarding customers with prize-filled digital Christmas Crackers every time they bought their usual hot drinks through Nero’s Yoyo-powered app.

Caffè Nero launched its first Surprise and Delight campaign in November 2017

Between November and December 2017, every time a customer made a transaction on the Yoyo-powered Caffè Nero app, they received a digital Christmas Cracker, which was filled with either a Christmas cracker joke or or an actual prize.

Prizes included unlimited coffee for a year, a collection of limited edition Penguin classics, an assortment of gift cards, and thousands of golden Caffè Nero loyalty bonus stamps.


  • 50% increase in total sales

  • 130% increase in afternoon sales

  • 13% increase in average spend per customer

  • 30% increase in unique customers

  • 30% increase in app registration

What’s more, we found that whether a consumer was “disappointed” with a Christmas joke or over the moon having instantly won a whole year’s caffeine fix, they wanted to share their experience with friends.

As with all our features and enhancements, we are always looking for feedback from app users. So, if you’ve been delighted  (or maybe not so), please let us know your thoughts by emailing

If you’re a retailer and want to find out how you can start running your own surprise and delight campaigns, drop me an email at