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Loyalty rewards for passengers to encourage return to rail

Read more about the launch of our retail pilot in partnership with SSP Retail and National Rail.
September 3, 2021

Our retail trial is officially underway! In partnership with SSP Retail & National Rail, passengers travelling through selected stations will be able to redeem loyalty rewards using National Rail’s Alert Me by Messenger or WhatsApp service.

Anyone using the Alert Me service between now and October can opt-in to receive rewards such as a free cup of coffee from train station retailers during their journey. This is part of our retail pilot that rewards customers for travelling by train, taking an alternative service if their chosen train is predicted to be busy or if they experience a delay.

Passengers will receive vouchers via QR code for redeemable rewards at a variety of retailers, including Whistlestop, Camden Food Co and Upper Crust, within select UK train stations nationwide. Zipabout's unique technology is powering the scheme, and seamlessly matches the reward offers to retailers at specific stations – without using any location tracking or third-party data sharing.

For instance, users who choose to travel on a quieter service from Brighton to London Victoria station will be sent a ‘thank you’ message and could be offered a free breakfast roll at Upper Crust. As they arrive at Victoria station, they will receive a unique QR code and directions to the store where they will have up to one hour to redeem it.

The pilot is running until October across 10 stations throughout the UK, including: Wigan Northwestern, Swindon, Preston, Manchester Piccadilly, Havant, Glasgow Central, London Victoria, London Waterloo, London Paddington, and London Euston. The participating retailers, all owned by SSP, include Whistlestop, Camden, Pasty Shop, Pumpkin and Upper Crust.

Mark Smith, Chief Digital and Technology Officer at SSP, said: “We’re excited to be partnering with Zipabout and EagleEye to offer a number of promotions on a range of delicious food and drink from participating units at major rail stations across the UK. This innovative, digitally enabled voucher service is a great way to bring customers into our brands, and we hope it will encourage more people to get back onto the rail network.”

Jacqueline Starr, Chief Executive of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), the company that manages National Rail on behalf of the rail industry, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Zipabout and various retailers to identify ways to improve passenger experience when our customers travel by train. The National Rail Alert Me by Messenger and Whatsapp services provide customers with the latest personalised travel information, including busyness alerts, to help them travel with confidence.”

Alex Froom, Chief Executive of Zipabout, said:

“It’s great to see Zipabout’s new Loyalty and Rewards feature being used by transport operators to improve customer experience and loyalty, and drive growth. By connecting them with brands and retailers, we’re empowering them to reward and incentivise sustainable travel and help kickstart a green-led economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.”