10 years of PAYBACK: The success story of a service innovation

Five percent of German retail business conducted via the PAYBACK card – Almost double the per-customer sales as the EC card – Largest marketing platform in Germany – Poland and India ark the first step on the international stage – Goal: Global market leadership

Munich – The PAYBACK card is celebrating its tenth birthday. Launched back in 2000, it wasn't long before it became Europe's market-leading loyalty programme. As it stands, PAYBACK is now the third most popular everyday customer card in German wallets and is used around 1.5 million times each day at the cash desks of the programme's partner companies. The cards are now used for sales worth around EUR 14.5 billion each year, equivalent to approximately five percent of the retail sector in Germany. At EUR 1,300 per year, the average PAYBACK customer accounts for almost twice the volume of an EC card customer. Now, PAYBACK is also spreading its wings outside Germany. Following a successful launch in Poland, the company has recently also become the leading programme of its kind in the growth market of India. As a result, it is represented in two of the five largest consumer markets in the world.

“Our goal is to achieve market leadership in the loyalty programme sector in the next five years,” says Alexander Rittweger, PAYBACK founder and CEO of holding company Loyalty Partner GmbH. Following the initial boom years, the programme has continued to enjoy consistent growth in Germany, too. This is due primarily to additional partners and new services such as the recently introduced iPhone app. Together, around 10,000 outlets operated by 26 retail and service partners and 300 online providers give over 19 million active PAYBACK users in Germany the opportunity to collect benefits and points while they shop. Via PAYBACK – Germany's largest marketing platform – the companies are able to establish personal contact with consumers. Even in a year of crisis when general investment in marketing in Germany slumped by 6 percent, the PAYBACK marketing platform grew by 50 percent. PAYBACK partners can use the various channels in the programme as advertising space featuring offers and coupons, for example. Each year, 350 million direct marketing contacts are generated for the partner companies, with a response rate of up to 60 percent. Some partners generate over 60 percent of their sales from PAYBACK customers.

In 2009, customers collected points worth EUR 164 million – and 93.6 percent of those points were then redeemed. The equivalent value of the total points redeemed since the programme began is EUR 1.2 billion.

The number of people employed by the Loyalty Partner Group has increased from 50 in the year 2000 to over 500.
Since the programme's launch in Poland in September 2009, the number of PAYBACK cards in active use there has reached six million – and is set to rise further still. In June 2010, the acquisition of a majority share in market-leading loyalty programme “i-mint” – which has 9.5 million customers – marked a further milestone in PAYBACK's internationalization strategy.


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