Customer Loyalty

Blog writers may be inside the industry, but we’re shoppers like anyone else.

We research industry trends and strategies, then circulate stories about them. When we put on our consumer hats, we aren’t just walking into a C-Store, we’re walking into a retail laboratory. We get past the hype to see what works and what doesn’t.

It’s easy for us to get jaded because, what’s advertised falls short of reality. When we run into something that actually works for us on a personal level, its impact is heightened.

Like loyalty programs. A non-fuel retailing C-Store in my neighborhood started a promotion with a handful of local gas stations—a pretty basic one—where shoppers receive a per-gallon discount depending upon how much they spend at the store (by swiping a loyalty card at the store’s point-of-sale). I didn’t go to the C-Store much and I never frequented the gas stations but now I frequent both regularly. My buying patterns and therefore, my life, were changed forever

SSCS customers Sunoco and Circle K both embrace similar models, but they come in all shapes, sizes and forms.

Supreme Oil’s Point Pass takes the gas loyalty card concept to a new level by using smart technology that fits right on the customer’s keychain.

Customers of Super Pantry convenience stores receive rewards points each time they use a partner bank’s PIN-authorized debit card.

Two-way communication is the lynchpin of ShortStop’s loyalty program.

In fact, such programs have become so central to the industry that wholesale distributors like McLane see their contribution to C-Store success and do what they can to ensure such programs are successful.

Last, but not least, there are any number of third-parties willing to jump in and help C-Stores manage turnkey loyalty programs

We may have exaggerated when we said that loyalty programs change lives, but they change consumer buying habits and that makes them extremely powerful from the perspective of a C-Store operator. If you haven’t considered implementing such an initiative, there’s no time like the present.