Loyalty Programs – No Longer Just a Coupon

Consumers want their favorite brands and purchasing habits at the tips of their fingers – literally. The modern convenience store shopper is likely to have a number of mobile apps on their smart-phones specifically developed to allow price checking, sale and discount updates, and mobile-payment options. Convenience Store News details how retailers in the convenience store industry have picked up on the loyalty program trend within the past year. A handful have even announced chain refreshes and re-launches of new loyalty programs. 

In years past, these programs created an opportunity to engage customers by offering select groups early deals and discounts, simply because they’d bought something. The problem was the value special customers got was basic, and retailers weren’t using the loyalty programs to their full potential.  

Savvy c-store retailers have begun to merge loyalty programs into consumers’ everyday product consideration, creating personalized experiences with the data gained. 

Personalized Loyalty Program Offers

The biggest advantage of providing a loyalty program for convenience retailers is the ability to collect customer data and putting it to use by creating personalized offers tailored to the individual customer’s habits. 

Well-designed loyalty programs let retailers segment their customers by number of store visits, items purchased and visiting time. Once a focused group has been identified, the retailer can create targeted offers. For example, customers known to buy a cup of coffee frequently may be offered a free pastry with their coffee purchase between 6am and 8am. Energy drink lovers might get 10% off the newest flavor. 

Loyalty program offers encourage sales, but the value doesn’t stop there. They help you get to know your customer base better so that you can always meet their needs and create lifetime customers. Our blog post detailing 5 of the most important retail KPIs can help you learn even more about your customer engagement.

Lifetime Customers

A key function of loyalty programs is keeping current customers active participants of the program. While the occasional coupon is great, customers crave recurring promotions more. Many c-store chains have launched revamped loyalty programs, stepping away from the endless coupon machine and creating unique events that build lifetime customers. 

Some unique offerings in the industry have been vacation giveaways. Each time a loyalty member makes a purchase they’re entered in a drawing, and if they make 10 purchases in a month they’re entered twice for each one following. Some offers let customers trade store visits as entries in multiple giveaways. Sure, not every customer can be a winner, but the opportunity is what attracts them and keeps them coming back again and again. 

While some convenience store chains have mastered personalized promotions, others are still working toward that goal. Finding the perfect balance of value, variety and engagement should always be a focus for any loyalty program. 

Read more about 6 technologies companies are using to get and stay ahead of their competition.