How did this global energy leader quickly revamp its loyalty program and still come in under budget?

The challenge

Loyalty programs are highly effective. If there’s little to choose between products (or even prices), consumers look for other factors to help them make a choice. Just like with the fuel and forecourt market for motorists. So when this integrated energy company decided it was time to revamp its own loyalty program in the UK, it knew there was a lot at stake.

The company wanted to drive growth in convenience sales and position itself as a customer-centric leader. Yet it faced three big challenges. Firstly, introducing a completely new type of loyalty program. Traditionally, its customers earned points for every liter of fuel and buy-two-get-one-free promotions on in-store products. The updated program would be much more far-reaching. Offering points that could be redeemed against the cost of fuel or with some of the country’s leading retailers. As well as reward pricing – lower prices for members on everyday favorites. This required a complex web of transactions between the energy company and its chosen retail partner.

Secondly, a new regulation was coming into force in the UK. It would restrict the promotion of food and drinks high in fat, salt, or sugar (HFSS). Changes to the placement and promotion of HFSS goods would lead to a significant revenue hit. So the energy company needed a way to encourage customers to buy from a more diverse range of products. This required a system that could create personalized discounts and instant savings.

Finally, technical changes to point-of-sale and backend systems typically took 1-2 years to implement. Introducing a whole new set of reward components would take time and put the company at risk of non-compliance with the new HFSS regulations. Plus, dependencies on external vendor systems meant there was high chance the new program wouldn’t be ready for go-live.

With pressure from all angles, the company brought in Emergn to support the transformation process and speed up delivery.


To tackle its triple challenge, Emergn led the energy company through new product development – from idea to impact.

With a deadline of July 2023, the team had just nine months to launch a completely transformed reward program. We began by establishing joint objectives, scope, and knowledge sharing between all internal and external stakeholders. Close collaboration at a company level and between engineering teams was crucial for overcoming bureaucratic hurdles and obtaining approvals in good time.

To cut delays, we evaluated the technical capabilities of the company’s international development team. The existing Scrum approach meant they were frequently stuck in ‘wait stages’ and found synchronous work difficult across time zones. So, we guided the team through a shift to Kanban and our core principles of Value, Flow, Quality (VFQ). By introducing modern ways of working, we were able to cut wait times, reduce bottlenecks, and maintain momentum.

With the deadline fast approaching, our emphasis on efficiency was key to success. We used a pilot store to learn how both the software performed and customer take-up of loyalty promotions. We then expanded deployments to another 20 other stores to validate the software was stable enough before beginning a mass deployment across the remaining 300+ UK stores.

By automating key testing processes and streamlining development and deployment, we saved valuable time and resources. Automation ensured accuracy too. Through comprehensive payment audit testing, we were able to verify financial regulatory compliance without halting work. This accelerated the testing phase and gave the wider team the evidence they needed to prove compliance.

As a result, the company successfully launched its new loyalty program ahead of time, under budget, and in compliance with strict financial regulatory standards.

In 15 years of being at this company, this is the first time a project has been early and under budget.

Client sponsor

Our impact

The energy company wanted to upgrade its loyalty program to give discounts to loyal customers, grow sales of non-fuel items, and meet compliance targets. With a go-live target of July 2023, the company urgently wanted to support its customers during a cost-of-living crisis. By carefully managing the whole implementation process, we were able to support this transition without disruption.

Close collaboration between internal and external teams was central to our approach. As a result, technical delivery was one week ahead of schedule and $0.5M under the forecasted budget. By focusing on rapid delivery, was rolled out to more than 300 stores in just four weeks. And with a market-leading offering, the new program led to a double-digit increase in customer account setups at launch.

The seamless integration of added-value features and backend systems has created a much more competitive program. One the company has not only used to offer its customers lower prices on everyday items and meet new regulations. But also to personalize promotions to individual consumers – leading to higher customer retention and improved brand loyalty.

-1 wk

Delivered 1 week ahead of schedule.


Delivered $0.5M under the forecasted budget.


Initially launched across 300+ stores in just 4 weeks.

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