Loyalty programs are driven by firstly, customer data; knowing the spending patterns and behaviours of your outreach is key to understanding how to retain customers. Personalisation; using the data to customise offers, communications and rewards to individual customers creates a deeper connection with customers. Thirdly, good customer experience; making a loyalty program easy to understand, participate and enjoy is the key driver of loyalty program success.
These are how the best loyalty programs are run. We have compiled a list of the top 3 c-store and fuel loyalty programs to highlight the aspects they have in common. The top 5 points of a loyalty program are the target audience, measurable goals, limited availability, sufficient promotion, and value. All of the examples below maintain focus on reaching each of these goals.
Circle K Play or Park
Circle K adapted to a market that was set to rapidly decline in 2013 by building customer relationships. With 444 stores nationwide, they opted for a gamification strategy using integrated loyalty software. Circle K devised an app that allows customers to earn points on any purchases in store. These points are then used to play for a chance to win experiences of a lifetime, or if they lose, a guaranteed free treat in-store. Gamification is a well-known winner for loyalty programs. Incentivising people to return to your brand after they have left the store can be tricky, but gamification proves successful at instigating more frequent purchase cycles.
The goals of this strategy were to retain existing customers, attract new business and build and engaging brand. Circle K made the right strategic decision to create a brand that catered to the needs of consumers. Value is ultimately what customers need from any loyalty promotion. Circle K gave customers the chance to engage in an interesting way with loyalty marketing; they no longer had a grudge about purchasing a necessity like fuel, it became enjoyable. Circle K’s use of loyalty technology made it easy for customers to connect to the brand and keep track of their points earned.
Shell Fuel Rewards
Loyalty programs are a type of data-driven marketing that is very successful for businesses. Knowing your customer is the most important aspect of a loyalty strategy. Shell’s goal with their loyalty program ‘Shell Fuel Rewards’ was to get people to choose their brand over a competitor: no easy task. Shell has always had quality as the most important driver of their business. Their Shell V power and premium product are what get people to spend that little bit extra at their stores. Knowing this, they set about getting people the premium product they wanted, at a lower cost to the individual.
Shell boasts 14,000 sites across America with 42% of drivers purchasing there. They first began offering fuel discounts for customers who also shopped at Kroger Supermarkets. After seeing the behavioural change that consumers went through to save money on fuel, Shell realised how lucrative their loyalty program could be. How it works: customers can earn cents-per-gallon discounts, and they are then combined to drive down the price at the pump. The simplicity of this program is its strength. Customers can frequently earn and redeem points, leaving them with a real sense of the value of the program.
BP Driver Rewards
BP began with complicated loyalty technology, much to the detriment of the program. After they realised that they needed to focus more on the customer experience, BP released a simplified version of BP driver rewards. BP rewards work through customers linking their BP rewards card with any major credit card, making it easier to redeem points. The means that consumers won’t need a BP card, as their credit card will double as both a payment method and a rewards card. This eliminates the possibility of losing a rewards card, forgetting it etc. This relaunch coincided with a revitalised investment in order to focus more on customer retention as well as new business opportunities.
By understanding the interests of the consumer, BP changed their approach to loyalty strategy, making a more effective and popular system. Customers can earn cents-per-gallon off their next tank of fuel through BP or associated brand purchases. The simplification of their brand image was essential to BP retaining customers. The fuel and convenience sector relies on the ease of transaction. Loyalty programs are supposed to accentuate that ease, not confuse consumers.
The above 3 fuel and convenience store loyalty program strategies are perfect examples of how adapting in a competitive market are key. Understanding the needs and wants of customers is invaluable when it comes to creating a loyalty program as it is a data-driven market. Catering to the interests of consumers must always be at the heart of a successful loyalty strategy to ensure a positive customer experience.
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