Rewards programs help retailers in the fuel and convenience industry set themselves apart from competitors. Staying relevant to consumers is the only way to ensure repeat purchasing and successful returns on investment.
Convenience and fuel retail can rely on impulse purchasing, meaning that the c-store industry needs dependable footfall. Re-evaluating how your brand engages with customers make all the difference in today’s market. Retailers need to first understand what drives traffic into their stores to figure out how to keep customers committed.
Reinforcing loyalty behaviours in consumers is an important part of loyalty rewards programs. By knowing what your customers want, you can encourage repeat custom with the right rewards. What we do know, is that customers like to see direct and immediate savings. According to MultiChannel Merchant, “63% of consumers will drive 5 minutes out of their way just to save 5¢ per gallon on gas”.
Having clear and simple incentives for customers to go out of their way to shop at your business makes all the difference. Choosing the right rewards for your c-store shouldn’t be guesswork. You should be using consumer data to your advantage.
What purchasing behaviours are the most common? Where do people spend the most? What keeps people in-store for longer? Having accurate, real-time statistics on your customer base means that you have the right information to make informed decisions on promotions and investment strategies. Integrated loyalty technology will ensure data capture is accurate and holistic while a loyalty program strategy will influence and test consumer behaviour in-store.
Once you have more footfall, the importance of your loyalty program becomes more pronounced. Promotions are a good place to start but offering consistent value to your customers is where rewards programs shine and what keeps the amount of traffic up. Making it easy to participate in your program is paramount, customers don’t want to be confused, they want to make easy savings. Having a clear one step loyalty program makes frequent engagement more likely.
The top reason for abandoning a program is that it can take too long to earn points. Your business must consistently remind the consumer of the savings that are to be made if they engage with your loyalty program. This is how you encourage loyalty behaviours. The 2017 Road to Rewards survey found that
43% of c-store shoppers make their shopping decision based on the c-store’s rewards program, compared to 44% who decide where to shop based on location
The important of the loyalty program is proved here, as customers are as likely to shop conveniently as they are to shop for rewards.
While convenience retail can benefit greatly from promotions, strengthening deeper engagement with your brand is important so that consumers aren’t swayed by fractional decreases in price by other businesses. The first thing to note is: are they purchasing more items than before?
This means that they are actively choosing to purchase items they would normally buy elsewhere in your store for loyalty points. This is a good sign but as your loyalty program grows, diversifying your offering is paramount to keeping loyal customers. Fuel retailers like Circle K (formerly Topaz), have begun offering more fresh alternatives to pre-packaged food options as well as collaborating with brands to expand their options in store. Giving consumers the option to earn fuel loyalty points on a range of products means that people spend more time instore, resulting in more purchasing.
Ultimately the mark of a fuel rewards program is measured on how well it drives higher revenues and develops a business. A loyalty program is an investment in your stores and your customers but should prove itself worth the effort.
Everything from integration and app development, to in-store execution and support from social media – a successful loyalty program needs effective management and constant data analysis.
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