A recent C-Store Shopper Report: How to Fuel Customer Loyalty uncovered some interesting findings about the popularity of not just c-stores, but the loyalty programs they offer customers. The report, in which research firm Researchscape surveyed 2,221 consumers and 231 retailers nationwide, was intended for c-stores to get a snapshot of their customers, get to know them better and more fully understand their preferences and behavior. In today's marketplace, that kind of information is worth its weight in gold.
In a nutshell? Most c-stores offer some kind of loyalty program, but of those, most haven't maximized their programs to encourage spending and increase foot traffic.
It's no surprise that the study found members of loyalty programs are engaged customers, fueled (pun intended) to participate in their c-store's loyalty program by the savings offered at the pump. That's been the number one reason for c-store customers to engage with loyalty programs for four years running, and we have a feeling that's not going to change anytime soon. With prices at the pump increasing lately, fuel savings is a powerful reward, and a powerful reason for a customer to keep coming back to your location. But the promise of fuel savings isn't attractive only when gas prices are soaring. Everyone wants to save on gas all the time, whether prices are high or low.Key findings
Here are some of the findings uncovered by the C-Store Shopper Report:
- 89% of adults in the U.S. have visited a c-store within the last six months.
- 42.5% of consumers said they belong to a c-store loyalty program, which is up 6% from 2017.
- 73% of c-stores offer a loyalty program to their customers.
- 97% of c-stores that offer loyalty programs say their programs have been in place for more than a year.
- C-store owners and operators say their top two concerns are decreasing store traffic and attracting new customers. Loyalty programs are a powerful key to combating both of those concerns. Staff training in loyalty programs is another big concern.
- 55% of c-store owners or operators say keeping pace with technology is a challenge.
- 72% of c-stores collect customer data from loyalty programs, but are not taking advantage of the power that data provides.
So, what can we glean from all of these findings?
Here are some tips for maximizing your loyalty program:
- Offer choice.Your customers aren't all alike. Some people prefer email, text, push notifications or a card. Offer all of those options and you'll hit everyone's preferences.
- Harness the power of customer data. Using the data gleaned through your loyalty program about customers' shopping preferences, you're able to offer personalized rewards. In this age when companies like Netflix and Amazon are suggesting products customers don't even know they need (yet), consumers have an expectation of personalized service.
- Take a look at your rewards program. Does it need an upgrade?
- Find ways to drive customers from the pump into the store. It's about increasing sales inside the store as well, not only sales of fuel.