WhatsMine App (Scentre Group)

WhatsMine makes retail loyalty effortlessly rewarding. With their app, you can digitize loyalty cards and be served personalized offers.


To earn the loyalty of coffee consumers in Sydney, we sorted ways to use digital coffee cards to gain market share.

Success metric

We didn’t want our consumers to carry a paper punch card around. We designed our solution such that in the first 90 days post-launch, customers can effortlessly get 2 personalized digital coffee stamps per week.

Final solution

By taking an innovative and customer-centric approach to building loyalty, we solved the pain points found by user testing the prototype that validates the initial business problem. 

Results: The updated counter card and user flow made it much easier to self-serve to get a stamp and simulate the free coffee experience.


Figure 1.0: Updated strut card with clear instructions and focus on capturing different use cases.

Figure 2.0: Latest UI represents the fun of earning a free coffee and having the choice to redeem the free coffee at your own will.

My role

Since I had no prior knowledge about working in the coffee industry, I had to study the how, what and why of coffee cards to understand the loyal cafe customer. Knowing their pain points, needs, and wants helped us iteratively prototype the best way of digitizing loyalty coffee cards while still maintaining the glees of traditional coffee cards. I was responsible for the industry and market research, prototyping, user-testing, and brainstorm facilitation.

Industry and market research

#1 Understanding coffee cards

Figure: 3.0 photo of Reward Card

We first embarked on market research, where we collected coffee cards from local coffee shops around us (not Starbucks). 

This helped us understand how cafe owners managed and promoted coffee cards. We also researched the existing digital coffee card market, and we found out that coffee cards are used by cafes to show appreciation to their loyal customers. Each time a coffee card is stamped, the owner of the card earns a free coffee.

Here are the opportunity areas we found:

For cafe owners

  • Every two months, most cafe owners order 3000 coffee cards – why is paper being wasted here? Did they spend so much money on printing and shipping the bags? To give you context, the BIS Shrapnel Report on Coffee in Australia - 2006 to 2008 suggests the foodservice industry brews 1.26 billion cups a year, amounting to total coffee sales of more than $3 billion.
  • In most cafes, the owners use a filing system of completed coffee cards to track usage. This helps them to order in bulk and save costs.

When building a loyalty program for loyal coffee drinkers, it must be void of the following challenges: 

  • Crumpled cards
  • Lost or wet paper cards 
  • Forgotten stamps 
  • Forgotten free coffee
  • Rejecting loyalty card in order to reduce clutter in wallet

Still on our research, here's an interesting piece on why coffee card loyalty is more than paper and stamps:


Figure 4.0: Credits: Loyalty & Reward Co

While trying to find a solution, we also stumbled on other products that could solve the coffee loyalty pain points. They include; stamp technologies, order-ahead apps, and payment apps that give free coffees. None of the above-mentioned products could replicate the feeling a customer gets when receiving a stamp to earn THAT FREE COFFEE.

Rapid prototyping

Exploratory research which involves investigating a problem and usually doesn't lead to a conclusive result is often used in prototyping . Instead of using this method, we decided to go to the users.  This helped us test our hypothesis early, and improve the product fast as we needed to make decisions on what we wanted to prototype for our first round of user-testing. So I facilitated 30-min decision jams with the product, sales, and growth team to define the user-flows for user-testing day.

Figure 5.0: Intended user flow type 1

Figure 5.1: Intended user flow type 2

Figure 5.2: Intended user flow type 3

Figure 5.3: Simplified user flow

Achieving a set goal quickly is possible with the WhatsMine team. The engineering team and product manager quickly put together a prototype that is based on existing products. Once I received the prototype, I tested it at Good Co. Cafe. Our set goal for this user testing round was for us to quickly know the needs/wants of loyal coffee drinkers by talking to them with reference to our prototype.

Figure 6.0: In-app web-view to simulate coffee stamps

User-testing results

Results from user testing round 1

Figure 7.0 : Snapshot of user testing. Work done for: WhatsMine

Results from user testing round 2

The next user testing round was tested at Sugarbean Cafe, Hunter St. We spoke to ten coffee drinkers and watched as some of them ignored the counter card entirely. We quickly learnt that we still had more cases to solve than we had planned. These were:

  • A regular coffee drinker who has downloaded the app will not have any need to read the coffee menu. In this case, they would read the menu from their app before coming to the cafe.
  • Not all phones are the same spec. So the different methods of scanning a QR code and an NFC chip would not be possible on an A5 counter card.
Figure 8.0: whatsmine A5 counter card Mockup

While researching on stamping competitors, our product manager discovered SnowShow stamps. We hypothesized that this stamp tech could be a great way to replicate the tactile experience of card stamping, and thus, this could be a happy moment for loyal coffee drinkers.

Our second prototype was an in-app experience coupled with a counter card that would direct users to download the app, save the cafe and get a coffee stamp in a few seconds.

Figure 9.0: Counter card instructing users to download the app using QR code and get their stamp using NFC

Figure 10: This is an early prototype concept that gave our engineering team visual trauma but this also was the birth of "rainbow meter" which later turned to a thermometer with good reason.

In the next user testing round, we ensured that we got the counter card right and that we had solved the missed use cases. Initially, we felt redeeming a free coffee was going to be a delighting moment and that we could use that opportunity to introduce our core value prop. But in the round 2 of testing SnowShoe stamps we also realised that a user getting the stamp itself could be a mini-happy moment with the following reasons:

  • The coffee drinker earns a free coffee when they receive a stamp; all they've to do is continue drinking coffee from the same cafe.
  • The stamping tech was easy and exciting to use

Results from user testing round 3

After 2 rounds of user-testing, we had a few ideas on the potential of this idea. This round of testing helped us understand the role stamping tech could play in growing our most important cohort - the loyal redeemers.

So we got two lists ready: an overview of pain points and future add-ons that came out of the user testing.

Figure 11: Pain points from 3 rounds of user testing

Figure 12: Future ideas that we could validate through qualitative interviews once we've hit the initial success metric

Figure 13: Testing for the third time gave us new inputs on our idea. Some phones didn't recognise the stamping tech and some coffee drinkers didn't realise a stamping tech was involved in spite of the counter card.

The next round of testing was purely usability-based. We needed to ensure that coffee drinkers could onboard themselves and understand how to get a stamp without the Barista's help.

Next steps: We need to target a large number of users trying our well-tested flow. This will help us surface trends and issues that we fix on an ongoing basis. So keep a lookout for WhatsMine in cafes near you.

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