Seven Keys to a Successful Convenience Store Rewards Program

Posted by Brent Harms on Wed, Feb 28, 2018 @ 08:29 AM

 app pic for trade show .png

When our team works with our clients and prospects, it is easy for everyone to focus on the new exciting elements of a rewards program. Today, an example of this is mobile. Yes, it’s critical to a successful program, but there are many other elements that drive success.     

From my experience, the seven keys to a successful convenience store rewards program are the following:

1. Training

In many ways, this is the most critical element. Training of your staff is the foundation of any program, especially the front-line team that has the daily interaction with your customers. If they don’t feel comfortable promoting the program and answering the customers questions, then the customer is not likely to even know there is a program available. Don’t forget this isn’t a one-time event, rather an ongoing training as new staff join the team. We recommend selecting a “Program Advocate” for each location with one of their key responsibilities being training staff and answering questions.


2. Relevant and Compelling Benefits

One of my strengths as a consumer is sensing when it is worth my time to join a rewards program. There is often a combination of factors that in most cases, causes me to not join the program. The two driving factors for me are how difficult is it to join the program? And second, are the benefits that I can receive worth the effort? My ideal situation is to just use my cell number, not a card.  Second, I want a significant incentive for me to join and register for the program. If it would take me, say, six months of buying something at the convenience store to earn a cup of coffee; I’m not going to bother. It’s not worth my time.  


3. Simple and Easy

For your busy customers, they are not likely to be a member of your program if it isn’t simple and easy to participate. Recently, that means, don’t tell me to carry a card. I just want to use my phone number or bar code on my phone to get credit for my visit. If you look around at the most successful rewards programs, they do not require you carry a card.


4. Digital

Digital is a benefit to both you and your customers. Your customers don’t want the card and they want easy access to information and offers on their phone or through their email or text. Also, digital saves you - the business owner - a lot of money as you no longer need to print any materials or cards; plus, you can deliver information and offers instantly to your customers.


5. Return on Investment (ROI)

As a business owner, don’t forget the numbers. There is no reason that your rewards program can not have a positive return on investment. Build a model before you finalize your program structure and benefits to ensure that this occurs. Then you need to set some benchmarks to evaluate results against the benchmarks. We have clients with over a 900% ROI on their program. Ensuring that your members spend more in store with the program than before is a great way to drive up your program ROI.


6. Pick the Right Partner

For most of our clients, they do not have the resources or staff to build and run their own program without outside help. If you find the right partner, they can make it easy and cost-effective to both launch and run a program. Having a dedicated person from your partner to manage your relationship is invaluable as they can eliminate your need for additional staffing and will also ensure that your program is achieving your desired results.   


7. Evolve and Improve

The best programs evolve over time based on customer needs and the availability of new tools and techniques to market to your customers. It wasn’t very long ago that every program had a card. Also, mobile apps are relatively new in the last few years. The benefits that motivate customers have also changed significantly. They want more immediate gratification from the awards they can earn; or don’t necessarily want something free. In the hotel industry, maybe a free room upgrade, or get on the plane earlier. For convenience stores, maybe you should consider free delivery of in-store items that your customer ordered through your app that are then delivered to them while they pump their gas.


Please reach out to our team here at Tecmark if you want help to build a successfully program that consider these keys to success.


Brent Harms

Founder & CEO

Tags: Convenience Stores, Loyalty Learning, convenience store rewards