Could reward programs save the fuel and c-store sector in Europe

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Rewards programs

Could reward programs save the fuel and c-store sector in Europe

Rewards programs have proven themselves invaluable in recent years for the fuel and convenience sector. As profits from oil companies continue to decrease, it is becoming paramount that fuel retailers invest more in customer loyalty. Real-time promotions that emphasise store offerings leads to more footfall and more spending. The convenience store and fuel retailing industry is a $600 billion industry, that thrives on being a very competitive market.

European fuel retailers need to make the appropriate investment in their customer loyalty strategy or risk becoming obsolete. Retailers that promote their expanded in-store offerings have an edge where it matters. Dependable and convenient customer experience is the new normal, fuel retailers need to up their game when it comes to how their customers interact with their brand. The best way to gather the information you need: an effective fuel loyalty program.

It boils down to this: if fuel prices are generally similar, customers look for brands that can offer more, and that rewards the actions they take. They want to feel like they’re making a saving by stopping at this specific gas station and this specific c-store. GasBuddy’s retail trends analyst Frank Beard admitted that, in a 2018 Foot Traffic report, more than half of customer’s visits to c-stores lasted less than 5 minutes.

Beard’s advice is this:

“Knowing how often your customers frequent your stores and tailoring your offerings to take advantage of high traffic points during the week can prompt your customers to spend more time in the store and increase their basket size.”

This is done by utilising your loyalty program correctly. By understanding the spending patterns, needs and wants of your customers, you can invest where it matters most. By collecting the personal data of the consumers who frequent a business, you begin to see where the inefficiencies lie. Retaining a customer is more cost-effective than investing in a new one – it is worth everyone’s time to attempt to keep levels of customer retention high.

If customers are spending less than 5 minutes in the store, fuel retailers need to create a reason for them to stay. One way of understanding why this is the case is to figure out what your consumers need. Circle K (formerly Topaz) is a prime example of this. In 2013, the fuel market started to decline but Circle K made the smart move of investing in their customer loyalty. They use a gamification strategy called Play or Park.

It collects personal data while engaging, and as a result, retaining, the customer. This clever use of loyalty strategy ensured that even in a tough climate, their customer retention remained high. Customers collect points every week from instore spending and then they have the option is to play or keep these points depending on what the prize of the month is. This strategy means that Circle K’s customers continuously have an eye on their marketing, looking to see what is on offer, and trying to gain more points to participate in the game.

Trends in fuel retailing are changing; people are commuting for longer periods of time, and eating while in transit. Fuel retailers and c-stores have the opportunity to become a bigger part of more people’s daily route by expanding their offering. The rapid development of fuel retailing means that consumers expect more from their forecourt experience.
Consumers want a pleasant experience, good rewards and personalised offerings to meet their needs. Loyalty software combined with an outlined loyalty strategy can deliver exceptional customer experience and reduce customer attrition.

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