When I was visiting my parents in San Francisco last month, I was impressed by the signup process for Jamba Juices’ rewards program. It is by far the simplest and fastest rewards “card” I’ve ever signed for.

Let me rewind for a minute and first describe my qualms with rewards cards.

Problems with rewards cards

1. Rewards cards are painful to signup for

Carrying around the cards themselves is painful as they bulk up my wallet, the magnetic strip wears out (especially for the Shell drivers club card) but those pale in comparison to remembering to signup for the card when I get home. The last thing that pops into my head is “I need to complete my rewards card application.” Even if I do remember, the signup process is often so long that I avoid doing it.

2. It’s easy to forget cards

Forgetting my card is similarly annoying to forgetting to signup for it in the first place. Except, now I’ve got past the first hurdle of signing up and more annoyed that I didn’t bring the bloody thing with me. There’s not much the shop will do except to remind me to keep my receipt and bring it in next time, which I often get at Boots. That’s very unlikely to happen…

3. I have too many cards

When I do remember to add my card to the ever growing collection in my wallet, I’m often faced with being given even more cards. A good example of this at at Sainsburys with my Nectar card. They give me “temporary cards” in the form of paper vouchers which I need to bring with me the next time I shop. Not only is that annoying for me when I forget to bring a £5.27 off my next shop voucher but it’s also very wasteful. I throw away 90% of the paper vouchers I’m given by Sainsburys. Why not digitise these? Then I won’t have to carry the bulk in my wallet or risk forgetting them!

So, that brings me back to Jamba Juice.

Jamba Juices’ Fast and Simple Rewards “Card”

Jamba juice solved all these problems by digitising their rewards card. It’s an amazingly simple process:

  1. Enter your phone number in the shop
  2. Activate your account online
  3. Get $3 off your next smoothie and earn points going forward

Jamba Juice rewards signup

I was surprised at how fast this was to do, I was expecting another physical card I needed to carry around and activate when I got home. There is an activation step but I’m motivated to complete it because I get $3 off your next smoothie.

With a fast and simple system, there are always tradeoffs and risks:

  1. Remembering you phone number – with smartphones, there’s no need to memorise your phone number anymore
  2. Errors and Typos – what if you accidentally mistype and use someone else’s phone number? There’s no way of knowing
  3. Hassle of changing numbers – if you switch your phone number, you need to remember to call customer support and move your account

The tradeoffs could definitely happen and should be accounted for in the design but for me, the simplicity and usability of Jamba’s rewards system outweighs the risks. I’ve signed up and will use it every time I’m back in California enjoying my favourite smoothie, The Orange Berry Blitz.

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