The Yoyo-powered Caffè Nero payments and loyalty app: 12 months on…

| May 1, 2018 | By

This time last year, Caffè Nero and Yoyo created and launched an award-winning payment and loyalty app for the UK’s third largest coffee chain that, in just 12 months, gained more than 350,000 registered users, took 8% share of checkout, built up a phenomenal 90-day retention rate and was described by industry leaders as the Best Customer Experience Strategy of 2017. Charlie Stott, who leads the Caffè Nero partnership team at Yoyo, reveals some unbelievable stats and describes how this brilliant high street success story was achieved…

The Yoyo-powered Caffè Nero payments and loyalty app: 12 months on...

In April 2017, Caffè Nero and Yoyo launched a unique payments and loyalty app to provide a seamless customer experience and give the UK’s third largest coffee chain the data tools and insight to better engage, reward and retain their customers.

Just one year on, the impact of the now award-winning app has been astounding, garnering a ton of praise from delighted Nero customers and astonished industry leaders alike.

And we’re so proud that the Caffè Nero app has vastly exceeded the targets that were set out this time last year:

In only 12 months, the Caffe Nero app has:

  • Built up to take an 8% share of checkout – 60% higher than the 5% target!

  • Attracted 350,000 registered users – 16% higher than the ambitious target of 300,000!

  • Gained an average mobile app retention rate of 80% after 30 days and 70% after 90 days – the average retention rate for a typical app is just 29% after 90 days!

  • Processed more than 3.6 million transactions

  • Awarded over 5.7 million loyalty stamps to customers at the point-of-sale

  • Been named Most Effective Loyalty and Rewards Campaign at the 2017 Effective Mobile Marketing Awards – just seven months after launch!

  • Won Best Customer Experience Strategy at the 2018 CIM Marketing Excellence Awards

  • Become one of the Most Highly Consumer Rated Coffee Loyalty Apps available

The Caffè Nero app is one of the most highly consumer rated coffee loyalty apps available

Caffè Nero has seen the astounding impact that a basket data-led mobile payments and loyalty strategy can have on a business, and we’re already started work with Team Nero to ensure these amazing results are blown out of the water by this time next year!

But for now, we’re going to take you on a quick journey to reveal how Caffè Nero and Yoyo achieved all this in such a short space of time..

November 2016:

Caffè Nero was looking to find new ways to enhance its customer experience and improve engagement and retention, – thereby giving the high street coffee giant a distinct edge on their competitors.

Before the project began, Caffè Nero could only track how frequently customers were visiting stores through its wifi service. “We knew nothing else about them,” said Marcus Denison-Smith, Head of Marketing at Caffè Nero.

Through a single mobile-led app solution, Caffè Nero wanted to enhance the payment and loyalty experience for its customers and at the same time gain real-time insight into customers’ buying behaviour and preferences, so they could understand, segment and reward customers based on their habits and preferences.

The app would also need to replicate and enhance Caffè Nero’s famous Blue Card loyalty programme.

Research suggested that coffee drinkers were losing an estimated 87 million loyalty cards every year, and at least 5 million Nero loyalty stamps were not being used. That equated to about half a million coffees going unredeemed.

As Marcus Denison-Smith explained:

“Caffe Nero’s loyalty card is a very popular mechanism that the brand has been using for the last 20 years, but it really wasn’t functioning as a marketing tool.”

Yoyo and Caffè Nero set about creating a branded app to provide loyal customers with a fast and personal experience, and Caffè Nero with insight into customer spend and preferences to drive footfall.

December 2016 – March 2017:

Yoyo had less than five months to create and launch a new Caffè Nero-branded app experience across more than 600 stores in the UK and Ireland.

Crucially, the app experience would allow Caffè Nero customers to instantly pay, collect and use stamps to redeem their well-earned free coffee in a single moment at the point-of-sale.

It’s at this key moment, when retailers engage their customers, that Yoyo is uniquely able to identify purchasing habits by obtaining individual basket data when customers use the app to pay for their items.

Through a simple transaction API, full stock keeping unit (SKU) level basket data can be accessed and analysed, revealing who each customer is, what they’re buying and when.

This would provide real-time and invaluable insights into customers’ buying behaviour and preferences.

For instance, Caffè Nero could analyse the type of customers who tended to buy a coffee before 8am or find out what items tended to be bought together.

With these data tools to hand, for the first time Caffè Nero could run a data-led and intelligent loyalty programme that could really drive customer behaviour by segmenting customers based on their purchasing habits and creating insight-led marketing campaigns.

.April 2017:

In April 2017, the Caffè Nero app launched to market, and included:

  • Multi-mode registration (Email, Facebook or Yoyo login)

  • Secure payment and loyalty in a single scan of the app

  • Camera-based credit card scanning to more easily gather card details

  • Rule-based loyalty that would trigger in real-time based on each item in a customer’s basket (customers are then notified, via silent push notifications, of their loyalty rewards

  • An activity feed that could aggregate receipts and loyalty reward information

  • A store locator for finding the closest store

By the end of launch day, the Caffè Nero app took the number one spot on the Apple App Store in the free food and  drink category

May 2017 – March 2018:


Within only a few months of launching, Caffè Nero could see the full power of harnessing its basket data through various Yoyo-powered app campaigns, including a campaign to promote its iced drinks range.

With the aim of increasing footfall during a period of hot weather in the summer months of 2017, Caffè Nero created an app campaign through Yoyo that would instantly and frictionlessly reward customers with double stamps for every iced drink purchased through the app.

Through Caffè Nero’s Yoyo-powered app, this campaign promotion created a much needed increase in loyalty and footfall during a seasonal period that normally dips

Just one week after the campaign launched:

  • Baskets that contained an iced drink increased by 148%

  • Consumers who purchased an iced drink increased by 215%

  • Spend on baskets containing an iced drink increased by 212%

  • Average transaction value (ATV) containing an iced drink increased by 26%

Crucially, customers bought an iced drink, but they also bought other items they’d never bought before.


Owing to the success of campaigns like the iced drinks loyalty campaign, Caffè Nero launched a first-of-its-kind post-transactional Christmas marketing campaign to reward customers with digital Christmas Crackers every time they bought their usual hot drinks.

Caffè Nero and Yoyo launch Instant Win Christmas Cracker promotion

Between November and December 2017, every time a customer made a transaction on the Caffè Nero app, they received a digital Christmas Cracker and the chance to win tons of real prizes, including 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.

Not only was every app customer instantly rewarded through a simple and familiar mechanism, there were no third-party websites and no extra sign-ups – just a couple of taps on the screen and Caffè Nero customers were immediately rewarded at the point-of-sale.


  • 50% increase in total sales

  • 30% increase in app registrations

  • 130% increase in afternoon sales

  • 13% increase in average spend per customer

  • 30% increase in unique customer

April 2018:

In only one year since the Yoyo-powered Caffè Nero payment and loyalty app launched:

643 Caffè Nero stores now use the app in the UK and Ireland
350,000 customers have downloaded the app since launch day
20,000+ transactions/loyalty build handled through the app each day
8% share of checkout
3.6 million transactions processed
5.7 million loyalty stamps awarded
.90% of transactions processed in under 2 seconds

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive reviews we’ve had from our customers. We’re trying to get closer to our customers and build better and longer-term relationships. The only we can do that as a brand is if we can connect with the customer and recognise them at the point-of-sale.

“Brands who don’t do that and continue to treat their customers anonymously will continue to fall behind.”

James Flett, Partnerships Manager at Caffè Nero

Want to find out how you can partner with Yoyo to build your very own branded-app experience? Email James Cresswell at or visit

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