During Sweetgreen’s most recent earnings call in May, executives touted the success of its subscription program, Sweetpass, launched in January.
According to chief digital officer Daniel Shlossman, Sweetpass generated retention and frequency and created a more personalized experience for customers. It also represented an evolution of the chain’s initial loyalty program launched over five years ago.
Now the company is evolving those personalized experiences even more, today announcing the launch of Rewards and Challenges, available on Sweetgreen’s app and website. The new feature rewards customers for “achieving healthy habits,” facilitated initially by a four-week campaign of challenges from June 27 through July 24.
For the program’s launch, the brand will offer customers 50% off their next bowl or plate after purchasing a bowl or plate. The four-week series also includes:
- Spend $20 and receive a $4 credit on your next purchase
- Add a side item to your order and receive a free beverage
- Buy a personalized online exclusive bowl and receive 50% off your next bowl or plate
- Order delivery and receive free delivery on your next order
Following the “Summer of Rewards” campaign, Rewards and Challenges will continue to be available as a feature for customers to participate in through Sweetgreen’s app or website.
The gamification and personalization components of this program are intentional to engage digitally-native Gen Z and millennial consumers, who have come to expect such experiences.
“We are bringing a gamified experience into our app and into customers’ experience with Sweetgreen so we can set them up with a feeling of connection to us that is unique. We believe the future of loyalty needs to be something like this, that isn’t cookie cutter,” Shlossman said during a recent interview. “Rewards and challenges help us understand you as a customer and offer something that means more to you than someone else. It all comes back to that customization and personalization.”
The final delivery challenge is also intentional. Shlossman said the company gets a 20% average revenue lift from customers who redeem delivery promotions from the chain’s native delivery channel, first launched in January 2020. In Q1 2022, native delivery became the chain’s fastest growing channel and outpaced its third-party delivery orders.
The Rewards and Challenges program is expected to build on the chain’s digital sales, which generated 66% of total revenue in Q1. Of those digital sales, 43% came from Sweetgreen’s native app and website, which is the sweet spot for collecting customer information to achieve such personalization.
Notably, the program takes over where the limited-time pilot Sweetpass left off. The program garnered 16,600 subscriptions in three weeks, and a 90% “intent to purchase again” rate. That’s not to say Sweetpass has been completely sunsetted, however. In fact, Shlossman would like to eventually tie both Rewards and Challenges and Sweetpass into the chain’s digital ecosystem.
For now, Sweetgreen will take a similar approach with Rewards and Challenges with a limited-time test run to gain learnings about its customers.
“We learned a ton from Sweetpass and we see that layering back in. We’re spending our time figuring all of this out. One of the big things with these programs is learning what we will consider in the future and whether it is permanent or if we’ll pulse it,” Shlossman said. “We want to stick to our plan of releasing and testing and understanding.”
The objective overall is clear for Sweetgreen–to get that 66% digital sales number even higher. Shlossman said digital customers spend and visit more. They also have a stronger connection to the brand.
This is also why Sweetgreen offers exclusive menu items (and an expanded menu in general) through its app, is experimenting with a digital-only pickup model and continues to introduce limited-time features through its loyalty program.
“We’ve proven with our numbers that we’re a digital-focused brand and will continue to build on that,” Shlossman said.
That’s not to say the company isn’t prioritizing its physical presence, however. Sweetgreen is planning on opening its first drive-thru prototype, for instance, while also expanding its footprint into suburban markets.
“We want to make sure we’re available however the customer wants to experience Sweetgreen,” Shlossman said. “We feel that whatever and however we build loyalty has to involve all the different ways people interact with us and so we will continue to test and iterate.”