Loyalty Rewards Program with an Environmental Mission

TotePoints rewards people for using reusable bags while shopping.

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The Idea

Ever since Pokemon Go was introduced to the world, the popularity of location-based experiences have increased significantly. The main goal of a location-based app is to introduce more foot traffic to specific locations in the world.

Over the past several years I have studied location-based apps and their unique offerings. Some include: FourSquare, Pokemon Go, and PocketPoints. 

FourSquare showed us that users love to show off where they visit and are motivated to revisit locations to collect badges and become “mayors”. Pokemon Go showed us that users will travel far to visit locations in hopes of capturing Pokemon and receiving in-game rewards. PocketPoints showed us that users will complete simple tasks to receive rewards from local businesses as well as online businesses.

All of the apps listed above take advantage of an extrinsic rewards system, meaning, users receive a tangible or monetary value reward for completing certain actions.

I decided to ask myself, how could I improve upon the location-based experience? What else besides an extrinsic reward system could I tap into?

What if the extrinsic reward system was paired with an intrinsic reward, meaning, a psychological reward from doing something meaningful? According to the Harvard Business Review, a recent report showed that “certain categories of products with sustainability claims showed twice the growth of their traditional counterparts”. Users could be motivated to, say, save the planet while saving money. One way people could save the planet while visiting stores is to help eliminate plastic bag use and encourage the use of reusable bags.

So if people were not motivated to visit stores from monetary rewards, they could be motivated to visit stores by joining the mission to save the planet.

The Goal

The goal of TotePoints is to create a platform that encourages tote bag use through reminders and rewards. The platform is designed to be memorable, easy-to-use, and engaging.

TotePoints creates a memorable experience through its:

  • Mission to save the planet 
  • Tangible object pairing: tote bags
  • Its engaging location-driven notification and reminder system

Ease of use is an important element of this app. It starts with building the app around an already habitual experience, shopping. Next, the app taps into ease of use and engagement through its smart notification system. Notifications nudge consumers to bring tote bags when near a partnered location. They also encourage users to opt-into tote bag reminders for frequently-visited locations, and it notifies users when there are special deals being featured at the partnered locations.

Competitor Analysis

Pokemon Go is an app that lets you catch Pokemon near you. It incentivizes users to travel outside their home to find different types of Pokemon, visit PokeStops, as well as battle other users at PokeGyms. Pokemon Go made history when it motivated over 500 million users to visit designated locations. 

Pocket Points is an app that rewards University students for turning off their phone throughout the day. Pocket Points shows a great example of incentivizing users to perform an action to receive rewards. Pocket Points also uses location services to determine if you are near the University and which rewards to show that are near you.

Shopkick is an app that rewards you for interacting with partnered brands near you. Some interactions are: walking into a store, scanning products in the store, and showing your receipts. Shopkick helped validate the idea of rewarding users through coupons and gift cards for entering a store. I was also inspired by Shopkick’s design, which I’ll talk about in the App Design Research section.


Scanning your TotePoints code is an important part of the app. I looked at Venmo to see how they handled scanning user codes and I implemented my interpretation into TotePoints.


Shopkick’s homepage shows partnered locations near you so that you can start collecting “Kicks”, or points by visiting these locations. I like the layout of this page particularly because they chose a list format over a map format. Maps have the tendency to become overwhelming, where lists provide information that’s easy to digest. This design inspired how I handled TotePoints’ Nearby page. However, I felt that accessing map information was still important. So, as a secondary function, each location listed includes a button to view the location on a map. Then, at the top of the Nearby page it features a map button that links to an overall map, showing all of the listed locations on one map.

App Design Research

Brand Design Inspiration

When creating the visuals for the TotePoints brand, I wanted to pick colors, typography, and imagery that conveyed the idea of sustainability and eco-friendliness. Some instances of conveying sustainability include: using the recycle symbol in the logo, showing a tote bag with a recycle symbol spinning on the loading screen, and using green as my main color throughout. On the splash page, I made a reference to the popular “Thank You” design on plastic bags by repeating the TotePoints logo in a similar manner. All of these subtle references further the brand’s messaging and image.



High Fidelity Designs

Clickable Prototype