Transforming Grocery Loyalty Programs with Web3: A Mutual Triumph for Stores & Suppliers

Toju Ometoruwa · September 5, 2023
Transforming Grocery Loyalty Programs with Web3: A Mutual Triumph for Stores & Suppliers


  1. Challenges and Solutions: Both grocery retailers and food suppliers face challenges in understanding consumer behavior and creating effective loyalty programs. Web3 technologies offer a transformative solution, enabling more personalized and flexible loyalty programs while filling the data gaps for food suppliers.

  2. Third-Party Loyalty Networks: Utilizing blockchain and smart contracts, a web3-enabled third-party loyalty network allows food suppliers to directly reward consumers based on their purchase activities. Grocery retailers can monetize this network and offer a more diverse range of rewards to their customers.

  3. Mutual Benefits: This innovative approach offers a win-win situation for all parties involved. Food suppliers gain direct consumer insights, grocery stores can offer a more personalized and cost-effective loyalty program, and consumers enjoy enhanced data privacy and personalized rewards.

Grocery retailers and food suppliers face unique challenges in understanding consumer behavior and fostering loyalty. Web3 technologies offer a transformative solution, bridging the insights gap for food suppliers and enhancing the flexibility of grocery retailers' loyalty programs.

In this article we explore the challenges facing grocery retailers and food suppliers and how a web3-enabled third party loyalty network can solve them. 

#Challenges in Grocery Retail and Food Supply

#Food Suppliers' Data Gaps:

Food suppliers only have a general understanding of their market performance through aggregated sales data, which reveals what products are selling, where, and when. These methods fall short in providing individual consumer data such as purchasing patterns and frequency. Most importantly, suppliers have no ability to engage directly with consumers that purchase their products and offer rewards due to restrictions around customer data sharing. 

#Grocery Retailers' Loyalty Issues:

Grocery retailers face the challenge of creating effective loyalty programs in an industry with razor-thin profit margins of just 1-3%. Many programs are overtly similar, allowing customers to easily spread their loyalty across multiple stores. The changing shopping habits of younger generations, who prioritize immediate and more personalized rewards, further complicate program design. Moreover, 80% of regular shoppers favor brands that personalize their experience. Yet despite the availability of digital tools for personalization, retailers often struggle to merge past purchase data effectively, as customers don't always log in to their loyalty member accounts when making a purchase, compromising the personalization process.

#The Need for Change:

Both food suppliers and grocery retailers are in dire need of transformative solutions. Food suppliers need more granular data to understand and reward individual consumer behavior, while retailers need to revamp loyalty programs to be more effective and personalized. Web3 technologies offer a groundbreaking opportunity to bridge these gaps. They have the potential to provide a more detailed understanding of consumer behavior for suppliers and create more flexible and personalized loyalty programs for retailers.

#Introducing Third-Party Loyalty Networks

With the advent of web3 technologies, grocery chains have a unique opportunity to revolutionize customer loyalty through the introduction of third-party loyalty networks powered by smart contracts. 

In the context of web3, a third-party loyalty network is a distributor-owned and monetized network where product suppliers issue automatic NFT rewards to customers' wallets based on purchase activity or other first-party data. In this hypothetical network, there are 3 key stakeholders: 

1) Distributors who have a direct relationship with customers 

2) Supplier (the third party) who supply distributors with their products but have no direct relationship with customers 

3) Customers who purchase products through distributors

Distributors use smart contracts to automate token rewards from suppliers to consumers based on digital receipts for purchase activities. Customers receive NFT rewards in their wallets for each purchase. Distributors charge fees for network access and NFT transactions.

#A Mutual Triumph for Stores & Suppliers

Utilizing blockchain, smart contracts and NFTs, grocery retailers could outsource their loyalty offerings to a network of partnered food suppliers, while managing the customer experience through a single platform. This approach would offer customers a broader and more personalized range of rewards at reduced costs to the grocery retailer. Simultaneously, it would grant food suppliers the ability to directly reward consumers for purchasing their products.

#The Third Party Loyalty Network Blueprint

Here's a blueprint for a transformative loyalty program that can redefine the relationship between grocery retailers, food suppliers, and consumers:

  1. Web3 Wallet Creation: Grocery retailers can invite customers already enrolled to their loyalty program to create a web3 wallet. This process is simplified, requiring just an email or phone number. This wallet will serve as the foundation for the entire loyalty program.

  2. Soulbound NFTs for Loyalty: Once a customer has a web3 wallet, the grocery store issues a soulbound NFT to it. This NFT is unique to the customer and represents their loyalty to the store.

  3. Tokenizing Purchase Receipts: Each item in the customers purchase receipt would be tokenized as an NFT, with each NFT linking to a specific food supplier's wallet address. For instance, Mondelez International would have a dedicated wallet and unique NFTs for each of its products.

  4. Auto-Rewards from Suppliers: Using smart contracts, suppliers would automatically issue NFT-based rewards to consumers based on purchase activity. They can customize how often these rewards are issued, what they can be redeemed for, and other parameters. Importantly, suppliers will only have access to the customer's blockchain wallet address, ensuring that no other personal information is shared.

#Benefits For Food Suppliers:

  • Direct Consumer Insights & First Party Data: Traditionally, food suppliers have had no direct knowledge about individual consumers. They only know aggregated sales data, category insights, promotion effectiveness, and some loyalty card data. They also gather insights from digital interactions and market research. However, they lack specific individual data, such as detailed consumption patterns. With the web3 loyalty program, suppliers can gain direct insights into their global consumer base via transactions recorded using pseudonymous wallet addresses, understanding not just sales but also individual preferences while continuing to adhere to privacy laws.

  • Automated Rewards: By tracking product NFTs, suppliers can reward loyal customers through an automated smart contract system, fostering brand loyalty and encouraging repeat purchases.

#Benefits For Grocery Stores:

  • A Network of Loyalty Programs: Instead of a generic, one-size-fits-all program, stores can offer a diverse network of loyalty rewards, tailored by individual suppliers, while continuing to own the customer relationship. This variety can attract and retain more customers while keeping grocery store loyalty program costs low.

  • Monetize Loyalty Network: Grocery stores could charge suppliers a subscription fee to access the network, or charge transaction fees when suppliers transfer rewards to customers or when customers trade their rewards on the platform.  

  • Negotiation Power with Suppliers: By offering limited direct access to customers, stores can also negotiate better terms with food suppliers, optimizing their inventory costs.

  • Unified Customer Profile: By linking grocery receipts to wallet addresses, all purchase data, whether from online or physical stores, can be consolidated under the consumer's unique blockchain identity. This creates a unified customer profile that captures all interactions, making personalization more accurate and seamless.

#Benefits For Customers:

  • Personalized Rewards: Customers can receive highly personalized rewards based on their specific purchase history or grocery store location. 

  • Enhanced Data Privacy: Suppliers only have access to the customer's blockchain wallet address, not any other personal information, adhering to privacy laws and regulations.

  • Trade NFT rewards: Customers can exchange one supplier's NFT reward for another  based on preferences. 

  • Cross-Store Usability: Customers can accumulate rewards when purchasing products from the same supplier across multiple stores. They could also redeem their NFT rewards at any store location.


With the rise of e-commerce and Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) models, some food suppliers are already selling directly to consumers, gaining more detailed customer data. A web3-enabled third party loyalty network can further enhance this direct relationship for suppliers that primarily sell through grocery stores. Ultimately, the fusion of grocery shopping with web3 technologies presents a groundbreaking opportunity. By linking customer purchases to supplier issued token rewards, grocery retailers can offer a dynamic loyalty program that benefits both suppliers and consumers. In this digital transformation, everyone comes out a winner.

Let's make some magic!