C-Store Customers Bank on Loyalty

Some 81% of U.S. consumers say loyalty programs make them more likely to do business with brands and 66% modify their spend to maximize loyalty benefits, according to “The Battle for Love and Loyalty Report 2017” executive summary by Bond Brand Loyalty in collaboration with Visa.

“In the c-store world, loyalty is so important. We operate in an increasingly competitive space and customers have so many choices…” said Darrin Samaha, vice president and brand manager for Des Moines, Iowa-based Yesway, which operates 80 c-stores.
Yesway in June 2017 partnered with Paytronix, and launched its Yesway Rewards program, with good results.

“In an increasingly competitive market, we wanted to move away from a purchase-to-points model and offer something that was unique and attached to our brand, and so we created the Yesway ‘Smile,’ our fun and friendly currency,” Samaha said.

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Customers earn “Smiles” for each $1 spent on fuel or in-store. “Smiles” can be redeemed for new fuel incentives or merchandise, from free roller grill items to travel mugs. It also includes a Beverage Club, Day ‘N Night Bite Club and a Nutrition Bar Club. Customers can access the program using a card or the Yesway-branded app.

“Our engagement on the app is strong overall and we see a tremendous opportunity to do more online with gamification rewards,” Samaha said. Yesway is currently exploring digital coupon integration and geo-fencing, and plans to soon offer card-based automated clearing house (ACH) payment options and mobile pay.

“We can surprise and delight our customers with free ‘Smiles,’ new sweepstake offers, bonus points, fuel incentives and visit challenges to make the Yesway loyalty experience truly fun and convenient,” said Samaha.

CUSTOMER RETENTION
Including a loyalty program can help improve customer retention, customer service and engage with customers who frequent the stores, said Stephanie Daniel, loyalty marketing manager for Richmond, Va.-based GPM Investments.

GPM Investments offers the fas REWARDS loyalty program in all of company’s 960-plus convenience stores. Customers earn two points per every $1 spent in-store and two points for every gallon purchased at the pump. They can redeem points for fuel, snacks and more.

“We have a variety of clubs available to customers—from our THIRSTY? fountain club to bagged ice, coffee and even breakfast sandwiches,” said Daniel.

And sweepstakes offers: loyalty customers that participate in its current ‘Fa$ Million’ scratch card game through May 1, also gain entry into a $1 million drawing.

Customers can use the free fas REWARDS App to check points, view special offers, see their status in various clubs and access their virtual card.

“We use a variety of reports and metrics to segment our marketing efforts and provide the best possible loyalty program and offers to meet our customers’ needs,” Daniel said.