Keeping it New and Personal With Loyalty Programs

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Loyalty programs play a significant role in boosting customer engagement at c-stores. With loyalty programs, c-store retailers can bring in new customers while maintaining the ones they already have by offering deals on products they buy frequently and giving them rewards for future purchases.

As loyalty programs become even more important, especially with technology usage continuing to grow and inflation keeping prices high, more consumers are prioritizing c-stores that offer them.

In fact, over one-fifth of U.S. adults say customer loyalty programs are very important to them in choosing where to shop and what brands to buy, according to recent CivicScience data. The data also shows that 66% of consumers who place the highest importance on loyalty programs say they are very loyal to their favorite brands.

Now that more consumers heavily rely on loyalty programs when shopping, retailers are diving in headfirst with new, innovative ways to take their programs to the next level while continuing to captivate customers.

Focusing on Deals and Rewards

 H&S Energy, operator of over 100 c-stores under the ExtraMile and Power Market banners in California, is one company ramping up its loyalty program with new deals and rewards.

H&S Energy’s Power Market Rewards, which can be found through its Power Market app, gives customers access to special offers, various features and benefits.

“Our loyalty program is designed to reward our customers for their continued patronage,” said Hana Hassan, marketing manager for H&S Energy. “Upon signing up, customers instantly receive a benefit of 10 cents off per gallon of gas, making their fuel purchases more economical from the get-go.”

In the app, customers can also locate nearby stores, explore services such as car washes and auto shops, view different food offerings, place delivery orders, participate in exclusive games, receive push notifications about promotions, and manage their loyalty card.

However, as of recently, H&S Energy has been planning a new approach to enhance customer engagement through new rewards and innovative deals.

“Firstly, we will constantly refresh our offers, providing customers with ongoing opportunities to earn additional cents off per gallon of gas,” said Hassan.

She also mentioned that H&S Energy will be transitioning to a point-based system, offering customers more flexibility and extra rewards.

As another approach, Tri Star Energy’s Twice Daily is building on customer engagement with its loyalty program by forming lasting relationships with the communities it serves, including offering deals customers can use to support local organizations. Twice Daily operates 82 locations across Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky.

Twice Daily partners and runs promotions with the Tennessee Titans, Nashville Predators, Nashville Sounds, Nashville Zoo and the Rocket City Trash Pandas, amongst others, noted Jackson Tolk, loyalty and mobile application manager for Tri Star Energy.

“Whether it’s a surprise free doughnut promotion, member pricing available daily for savings on a favorite energy drink or a free half sub because the Titans scored after a two-minute warning, we aim to delight our guests,” he said.

Customers who join the Twice Daily loyalty rewards program through its Twice Daily and White Bison app can also find member pricing offers, age-verified (21 and over) offers, point and club balances, the reward redemption catalog and nearby stores.

Prioritizing Personalization

Retailers who engage in personalized marketing within their loyalty programs will likely see an increase in customers visiting their stores due to the connection customers get when they see deals and offers that relate to their shopping habits.

H&S Energy, for instance, sends push notifications to inform users about relevant promotions and offers based on their interests and location.

“Geo-targeted coupons are also employed to deliver location-specific discounts and incentives to customers, enhancing their overall experience with our loyalty program and brand,” said Hassan.

Twice Daily is developing campaigns to target specific customer segments. Tolk explained that the campaigns target guests with offers related to their activity and preferences.

“Age-verified guests may get a specific tobacco offering that relates to their purchase activity, while new registrants will get offers to demonstrate the value of stopping by Twice Daily as part of a constant routine,” he said. “We look forward to refining and creating new campaigns with improved targeting and more personalized offers.”

Moving Forward With Loyalty

 With technology continuously advancing and new forms of technology coming into play, including artificial intelligence, retailers must keep their heads in the game when elevating their apps and loyalty programs.

“Throughout the remainder of 2024, our focus is on continuous improvement of our loyalty

program,” said Hassan. “This includes refining the point-based system to ensure it offers maximum value and flexibility to our customers. We will also introduce new club offers, such as buying nine items and getting the 10th item for free, to add more excitement and rewards for our loyal patrons.”

Tolk is excited to continue working on new ways to keep Twice Daily customers engaged.

“Whether it’s providing discounts to guests who have never placed an order, adding delivery to our ordering arsenal, supplementing additional options to the rewards catalog, or using new data insights to provide more directed offers that meet individual needs, the future remains bright for our program’s growth,” he said.

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