Rewards programs: Every retailer should have one, right? Well, it’s a good idea. Just make sure it fits.
“Loyalty programs should be viewed as one component of an overall digital marketing strategy,” said Ed Collupy, executive consultant with the firm W. Capra Consulting Group. “C-store retailers look to the competitive quick-service restaurant space to see how consumer digital experiences have come to life and how the consumer has reacted.”
A strong number of consumers react positively to companies with loyalty rewards programs. Bond’s “The Loyalty Report 2019” found 79% of consumers are more likely to continue doing business with brands whose loyalty programs they’ve joined.
Don’t be intimidated by the hype around the growing e-shopping trend, either.
Purchases at brick-and-mortar stores still command the retail marketplace. That doesn’t mean convenience store operators don’t need to fine-tune their loyalty programs. They’d be wise to continually adjust to consumer preferences and market changes.
“Many c-store loyalty programs are aging and continue to rely on legacy c-store marketing practices like club programs and lengthy in-store merchandise promotions,” said Collupy.
C-store retailers need to begin looking for new solutions.
For an example, look no further than Ankeny, Iowa-based Casey’s General Stores. The c-store chain introduced its mobile app before its rewards program — partly because the company wanted to begin taking mobile orders for its signature pizza and foodservice offerings, but also because Casey’s wanted to do the rewards element right.
“The Casey’s Rewards program is really part of our larger digital engagement strategy,” said Darren Rebelez, president of Casey’s, echoing Collupy’s advice. Casey’s operates more than 2,200 stores across 16 states.
The program extends beyond store dollars or fuel discounts. Casey’s Rewards gives members the additional option of donating their rewards benefits to their local school. The Cash for Classrooms program grew out of Casey’s unique vision of its place in each community it has a store.
Rebelez explained that the program dovetails with the new company mindset, “Here for Good,” not only showing stability, but also the chain’s role as a neighborhood partner.
Beware the cookie-cutter rewards program. Instead, a successful program should be tailored to your customer base and community profile.