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Implementing a loyalty program is proven to drive more customers to your c-store, more frequently.

We all have brands we love and will never settle for a substitute. For example, Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi, Jif vs. Peter Pan, or Apple vs. Android. For the most part, we feel strongly one way or the other when offered a choice of brands. Lately though, consumers have gone beyond item-level loyalty, creating a shift to company-level loyalty.

Influencing these dedications are rewards programs. C-stores that provide personalized offerings deepen the customer’s relationship with the store. Loyalty/reward programs benefit the consumer from a promotions perspective as well as the store from a data standpoint. A loyalty program connects multiple points of customer data to create a digital portrayal of each customer, allowing you to better understand their drive, and track those trends in real-time. Loyalty programs can help you strike a balance between improving revenue growth and maintaining customer happiness. The customer benefits, while you gain relevant and crucial data for your store.

As customers increasingly want more from their brands, c-stores can no longer rely on gas prices alone to bring traffic through the store. As shifts within our market begin to take hold (millennials are now the largest generation in the U.S.), loyalty programs offer an effective engagement technique to connect with this highly-digital demographic.

According to the Excentus Customer Profile Research Report 2018, of over 1000 U.S. consumers surveyed, “73 percent of shoppers will shop more frequently or even exclusively at the convenience store where they are a loyalty member.” Those numbers are beyond impressive, representing almost three-fourths of consumers.

How can this number be so high, you ask? It comes down to data. Excentus notes, “loyalty takes out the element of chance and makes it easier for operators to plan for sales and business growth.” Once you know your consumers and their habits, it’s easy to begin planning and pivoting based off their actions. Thriving c-stores have already adopted this technology as they’ve seen the benefit across other industries.

Take Shell Fuel Rewards, for example. Members save 10 cents per gallon and build rewards by purchasing items at both the c-store, as well as other stores, but can only redeem those accumulated points at Shell. This drives customers to consciously think of your brand during their shopping experiences before they’re at your pump or c-store.

What if you already have a loyalty program but aren’t seeing any improvement to your sales? One thing to remember: long past are the days of “if you build it, they will come.” Simply having an app with a rewards program is not enough. It needs to be easy enough for your customers to navigate and understand, while consistently offering engagement and promotions. Consumers can lose interest fast, so make sure you understand the right balance for your store.

Offering a rewards program increases shopping and interest in your brand by more than 35 percent. In a c-store environment, consumers value rewards programs more, increasing loyalty by 15 percent. Combined, those stats make your consumers 51 percent more likely to increase their shopping at your store, making loyalty/reward programs the easiest way to deepen your customer’s brand loyalty.

Choose whether you’re Coca-Cola or Pepsi, then stand behind that choice and lead your customers to an experience they’ll want to share with others. If you listen and take action to attract and keep new customers, your c-store will be the one to succeed. Just remember, rewards programs are no passing fad. They’ve become a ‘must have’ to remain relevant in today’s competitive market.

Strong loyalty programs make the difference between an infrequent customer, and a dedicated, brand loyal fan. Check out the Excentus Customer Research Report 2018 here for more statistics on consumer behavior. Implementing and maintaining a strong loyalty program isn’t difficult – to see if a loyalty program is right for your store, make sure to check out our loyalty and coalition marketing solution available from PDI. Don’t miss out on creating lasting relationships with your customers.

Did You Know: Your Source for PDI News provided by PDI, the leader in enterprise management software for the convenience retail and petroleum wholesale markets. Discover how PDI can help you thrive in today’s digital economy.