Retailers with loyalty programs are trading up to more sophisticated platforms to help them get to know their customers better and target future offers.
Tri Star Energy’s Twice Daily convenience stores, which has about 160 locations and supplies fuel to wholesale trade channels in 17 states, and White Bison Coffee shops with 17 units throughout Tennessee and Alabama, recently partnered with Paytronix’s Mobile Experience Builder (MXB) to relaunch their Twice Daily and White Bison Rewards apps in March of 2022 “to give guests a clearer picture of the programs’ offerings,” said Eric Rush, Tri Star’s marketing director.
Included in the upgrade were a refreshed rewards identity via a new logo, color scheme and other aesthetic changes to digital promotions and in-store signage.
“With more images on the home screen and throughout the apps, rewards and offers should be clearer to our guests,” Rush explained. “The redesign of the app and the creative campaigns around them have really driven a significant increase in registrants and active users.”
Both the Twice Daily and White Bison Rewards program sales have experienced “significant growth” within the past year, Rush reported. For example, between August 2022 and early April 2023, there has been a 33.84% increase in the overall percentage of the stores’ transactions via the rewards programs.
Rush stated that members are more engaged with a new customizable interface that can be instantaneously updated without app updates, allowing the stores to communicate information rapidly. The company has also added a Rewards Catalog for guests to track and manage their rewards progress efficiently and create excitement about new specials, deals and promotions.
“We are running a mix of offers right now because there is a constant need to get new members in, get them active and then keep them returning,” Rush noted. “We send unique offers based on several key factors depending on where they are in their journey.”
One of the “most beloved” deals is a free coffee after seven coffees purchased with the rewards number, he pointed out. Various buy-one-get-one (BOGO) promotions and sales throughout the month are available only on the app for loyalty members.
“The app has also made customer service even more effective because, unlike email, a direct response through the app lets us get real-time data and a peek into how guests shop in our stores,” Rush added. “Whether the feedback is positive or negative, we can work to respond and offer points back or free offers quickly. “We are also able to track the impact of the response. Did we lose potential trips? Did they keep the same routine? Or, in the best cases, did they begin coming in more?”
Streamlining The Customer Experience
On March 1, Gulf Oil partnered with Stuzo, provider of the Wallet Steering solution, to relaunch its Gulf Pay app. Prior to this, loyalty was limited in the app that had been in place since 2017.
This platform, according to Nikki Fales, vice president marketing and payments at Gulf Oil, is “more sophisticated.” The original app was focused on growing the digital wallet as a payment method. While that is still an integral part of the program, the loyalty part of the app is “more aggressive” than the original.
Gulf Pay offers members who are fully enrolled and complete their purchases using Gulf Pay as their payment method receive 15 cents off per gallon on their first fill up and then a three cents per gallon (CPG) off on every other fill from then on, Fales explained. On bonus days the 15 CPG will stack on the 3 CPG everyday offer and users will receive a total of 18 CPG on that fill up. If individual retailers decide to boost an offer with additional CPG at their station, it would stack on the three CPG everyday offer.
The new app streamlines the customers’ experience by being a “one stop shop” for loyalty perks and payment, she said. It allows the stores to “surprise them with personalized offers and discounts” to encourage incremental sales through increased basket size and the number of times they visit stores and fuel up at the pumps.
Since the introduction of the new app, Gulf’s customer service team has received more communications from customers.
“If, for example, a customer has a less than ideal experience we can provide them with a digital offer to keep them coming back,” Fales said. “We are able to be in tune with customers — who they are and their behavior — and personalize our relationships.”
Fales pointed out that the company is heavily focusing on migrating active users from the previous app.
“We’re right on target with what we were hoping to see and we have lofty goals for the summer travel season,” she noted.
Gulf Oil has 1,400 distributors and independent retailers in 36 states including Puerto Rico.