Across all retail segments, including convenience stores, loyalty programs are big business, and it’s no wonder. They’re proven to boost growth, they are not expensive for the retailer to implement, and they enhance your relationship with your customers.
U.S. consumers have 3.8 billion memberships in consumer loyalty programs, according to Hubspot’s “Loyalty Marketing Trends for Convenience Stores” report. Today, loyalty programs are all about the customer experience — creating personalized, choice-driven programs that will meet and exceed consumers’ ever-heightening expectations.
In addition, today there is greater access to more (and more personalized) customer preference data than ever before as a result of technology-based loyalty programs. It allows retailers to offer personalized, customized rewards, and offers experiences to customers, which enhances their engagement. Like Netflix and Amazon, it gives the customer the feeling that retailers know them and offer what they want even before they know what that is. It’s a gold mine of data for retailers.
The challenge for convenience retailers has expanded from catering to brand loyalty to how they can engage customers beyond everyday transactions. For a growing number of c-stores, the answer is personalized loyalty rewards programs.
According to the “C-Store Shopper Profile” by Excentus, a PDI company, 43% of shoppers visit c-stores because they belong to the retailer’s loyalty program. Plus, 51% of c-store shoppers admit to frequenting retailers more often if they belong to a loyalty program.
However, motivations have changed. Whereas point accumulation once may have been enough to drive action, that alone is insufficient in today’s COVID environment. Customers are now demanding more than just instant rewards. Numerous studies indicate consumers desire loyalty programs that cater to their individual shopping habits. In fact, Oracle research revealed that 87% of shoppers are comfortable with having their buying habits tracked and monitored, if that information is used to personalize a loyalty program.
To make the most of its loyalty program, the program has to be a top priority from the executive suite to each individual store. Consider Stinker Stores, which operates 103 stores across Idaho, Colorado and Wyoming. Company President and CEO Charley Jones led the charge to develop a loyalty solution that includes an app, gamification and rewards. It partnered with Liquid Barcodes to roll out a new app-based loyalty program that features an engaging way for customers to earn digital stamps every time they buy coffee, doughnuts, fountain drinks or energy drinks. With engagement at its heart, the Stinker program is completely frictionless to use, with just one scan needed to pay and enjoy the program benefits and rewards.
“We’ve made it our mission to delight our customers and exceed their expectations, while keeping things super simple,” Jones said. “This app is the best way we have found to give our customers the discounts and rewards they deserve and help them have some fun every day, too. Even our employees love it.”