We taste-test Gelato Messina’s new loyalty program
9 October 2016
Philip Shelper


Everyone who’s anyone in Sydney is talking about the Tramsheds opening in Glebe. You’ve just gotta go. Parking is a nightmare. Get the Lightrail.

Loyalty & Reward Co decided to put our bodies on the line and spend two weeks testing Gelato Messina’s new loyalty App. Someone from the office had recommended we join their loyalty program because it includes $10 of free Gelato. Hello!

Our verdict: the App experience is a little confusing, there’s no information on the website to make sense of it, the rewards seem light-on and it involves providing access to scarily large amounts of personal information.

The central premise involves registering a credit card and using the App to pay at any of Gelato Messina’s stores in order to access benefits such as 10 points per $ spend.

It’s unclear what Gelato Messina or the member has to gain by paying through the App rather than via the POS. Loyalty & Reward Co suspects the key purpose of this is to track the transaction activity, which is interesting, because there are a large number of potential members out there who would hesitate to join because they don’t want to register a credit card. This will likely work against Gelato Messina in growing their member base.

To transact, the App has a ‘Pay In-Store’ button. Tapping that produces a number (e.g. 94) which the member quotes to the staff member. The same number appears on the POS, they tap it to complete the transaction and it’s all done. It’s actually pretty simple, but no more simple than scanning a barcode and collecting transaction data that way, so why go to all this effort?

The first 500 members to download the App and register a credit card got $10 free, which was a nice carrot, so we jumped-in tongue-first.

In our first transaction we spent $12 on Gelato, including a scoop of Steve McQueen; liquorice with chocolate chunks which tasted like the frozen version of chocolate bullets. Oh Lord, it tasted gooooood!

For that we earned 120 points, but more confusion here. The App says points can be redeemed on:

  • A free double scoop (500 points or $50 spend). First 25 members only.
  • A Messina tote bag (2000 points or $200 spend). Limited stock
  • 2 x Gelato Appreciation Class tickets (20,000 points or $2,000 spend): This should also come with diet classes.
  • 8 x Tickets to The Creative Department (50,000 points or $5,000 spend). This is only available to the first member to achieve this points level, and it’s highly likely they won’t be able to fit in the door.

And this weekend the free double scoop reward has disappeared, indicating the 25 claims have been made.

It’s unclear if points can be used for what most members would want, which is free gelato. The details on the App are vague, and the website has no mention of it.

Now for a privacy warning:

To use the App the member needs to approve Location Services, which means Gelato Messina and the App operator Loke Digital are receiving a scarily large amount of information about their members, including name, credit card details, the ability to track the user where ever they go, and the right to log any information it collects about the device being used to access the App, including date & time.

The App doesn’t display any terms & conditions of the program (e.g. detailing basics such as whether point expire), just the Terms Of Use of the App, which relate to Loke Digital, not Gelato Messina.

For someone who just wants a scoop of ice-cream, it seems an awfully large amount of privacy access to be handing over for very little reward. We give Gelato Messina App 1 scoop out of 5.

<a href="https://loyaltyrewardco.com/author/philip/" target="_self">Philip Shelper</a>

Philip Shelper

Phil is the CEO & Founder of Loyalty & Reward Co, the leading loyalty consulting firm. Loyalty & Reward Co design, implement and operate the world’s best loyalty programs for the world’s best brands. Phil had previously worked in loyalty roles at Qantas Frequent Flyer and Vodafone. Phil is a member of several hundred loyalty programs, and a researcher of loyalty psychology and loyalty history, all of which he uses to understand the essential dynamics of what makes a successful loyalty program. Phil is the author of ‘Loyalty Programs: The Complete Guide’, the most comprehensive book on loyalty programs on the planet.

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