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Key Attributes of C-Store Loyalty Programs

What Should C-Stores Look for in Their Loyalty Programs

Aign post pointing the way to 'Loyalty;

-Stores have been paying more attention to loyalty programs – and rightfully so.  According to a C-Store Shopper report, about 89% of the citizens of the United States have visited a C-Store in the last six months.  Out of this 89%, 42.5% of consumers claimed that they were a part of the C-Store loyalty programs.  The latter figure has witnessed an increase of 6% since 2017, meaning that retail loyalty systems are gaining more and more interest.

Importance of C-Store loyalty programs

Loyalty programs have been in existence for almost a century.  The S&H Green Stamps program, which began in the 1930s, was one of the first attempts to foster consumer loyalty.  According to Jupiter Research, more than 75% of customers now have at least one loyalty card, with one-third of the population having two or more.  

For any business to grow, you must:

  • Focus on increasing the number of your customers.  
  • Encourage your existing customers to buy in larger volumes.  
  • Encourage your customers to return and purchase more.  

C-Store loyalty programs are designed to help businesses in:

  • Maximizing their profits.  
  • Building an emotional connection with their customers.  
  • Retaining customers
  • Reaching out to new customers.  
  • Delivering insights into customer behavior.  

By having a robust retail loyalty system in place, customers do in fact become ‘loyal’ to your business.  Loyal customers mean more profits, which means more avenues for growth and expansion.  

Are C-Stores Leveraging Loyalty?

Many C-Stores are utilizing retail loyalty systems to build an emotional connection with their customers.  C-Store loyalty programs have a record of retaining customers, and these customers give C-Stores a more significant ROI.  Moreover, retail loyalty systems prove helpful in gaining new customers and providing maximum benefits to the customers.  

Establish customer loyalty from day one by ensuring that customer experience is taken into consideration for every customer touch point. This includes touch points before, during, and after purchase. Even if you don't create a loyalty program from the get-go, you can always ensure that each customer has a positive customer experience.  Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré, CMO, Reeview.app

According to the C-Store shopper report:

  • The majority of convenience stores (73%) have a C-Store loyalty program in place. Out of this 73%, the majority c-stores (97%) claim that their programs have been in place for more than a year and many for more than five years.
  • C-Store loyalty members spend $11.17 on average compared to $8.66 for non-members – that’s a 29% spend increase for loyalty program members – per visit!
  • Two of the main worries for C-Store owners are declining shop visits and recruiting new consumers.  In addition, 42% believe that educating personnel to communicate to clients about their retail loyalty systems is their biggest problem.  
  • Keeping up with technology and the pace of change (55%), preferring a mobile app for tracking and redeeming (52%), and worries about consumer fraud are among the other issues that C-Store owners face (43%).    

Today, only about 72% of the C-Stores operating in the United States collect user data.  The ones that DO collect customer data don't make full use of that data.

Overall Characteristics of good loyalty programs

To put robust C-Store loyalty programs in place, C-Stores should Motivate customers to be a part of the retail loyalty systems.  

  • Personalize their messages and announcements in a way that resonates with the customer.  
  • Work towards deploying customized offers and promotions if the customer is a part of the loyalty program.  This encourages the customer to be a part of the loyalty program.  

Listed below are some of the most prominent characteristics of good loyalty programs:

  • Relevant Data – Loyalty programs help C-Stores gather relevant data about their customers; this allows them to set better pricing and marketing strategies.  C-Stores can gain this data through the process of the customer signing up for the program.  
  • Simplicity – One of the most crucial characteristics of good loyalty programs is their simplicity.  The loyalty program should be easy to follow for the customer and shouldn’t include any complexity.  
  • Rewards – Customers should be getting rewards every now and then that are commensurate with their loyalty points.  
  • Memorable Experience – the C-Store loyalty program should create a unique experience for the customer.  It should reward the customers when they least expect it, such as some birthday bonus points.  

Scope of C-Store loyalty programs

As customer loyalty becomes more and more important, you’ll need software that can work hard to gain every customer and keep them coming back for repeat business.  Loyalty programs and software are a great way to keep customers coming back.  They’re also a great way to reward customers for their repeat business and referrals.  In general, you’ll want to consider these functional features in your loyalty software:

  • Customer data collection: including email, phone numbers (for SMS advertising)
  • Email marketing: this can be in-app or with an integration
  • Integrations: with your ecommerce store, CRM, POS software, or marketing automation tools
  • Social Media connections: communicate with customers, send coupons via social
  • Gamification features: badges, contests, leaderboards
  • Notifications and alerts: internal alerts remind employees to complete tasks, notifications automatically send important data to customers
  • Branding: customize the customer-facing portions of your tool to match your company’s branding and aesthetics
  • Mobile app: Not a necessity, but definitely nice to have, since folks use their phones for everything these days

Top customer loyalty software for small businesses


Belly provides custom loyalty programs for small businesses where companies can choose their rewards, track their customer growth and engagement, and market directly to existing customers. The system lives separately from the company’s POS terminal, and customers check in every time the visit the store. Dedicated marketing automation and email marketing tools provide companies with marketing choices right where all of their loyal customer data is stored. And for security-conscious customers, Belly’s hardware communicates with Apple Passbook, Google Wallet, and comes enabled with iBeacon for near-field data transfer.

The Loyalty Box

The Loyalty Box is customizable customer loyalty software built to serve brick and mortar or ecommerce retail spaces. This rule-based software boasts nearly infinite customizations based on the types of loyalty programs your company is interested in running. And the loyalty programs can be run through the POS, on the company website, on a mobile app, or through Facebook.


Badgeville by Callidus Cloud is an enterprise rewards and gamification system built on customized rules. Badgeville works for both internal and external loyalty and engagement. The system is highly flexible, and companies can set up their own guided experiences to lead customers and employees through training, engagement, and loyalty tools. Social integrations drive engagement rewards that go beyond simple badge awards. Use the API to deploy Badgeville to nearly any app or software.


Vend is a retail and small business POS that can be downloaded directly to an existing iPad and used to expand brick-and-mortar into the ecommerce space. Customer loyalty features include the ability to produce gift cards and store credit, segmented customer lists, exports to email marketing software, and the custom Vend Loyalty program. Vend Loyalty can automatically add customers to your loyalty program or you can ask customers to sign up via email. A customer’s reward balance is easily visible on the pay and checkout screens so employees always know when a customer is eligible for rewards.


Often considered as the go-to small business POS software, Square leads the market with their sleek user interface and handy hardware. The Square Loyalty program comes as an add-on to the POS program, where customers can sign up by entering their phone number. Use those phone numbers to send text marketing messages, and reward customers based on how much they spend. Customer spend and usage statistics are gathered in analytic reports that help you better understand your customers’ buying habits.


Empowered by technology, the demands of the 21st-century consumer have drastically changed.  The modern consumer expects brands to provide tailored products and services - how they want it, when, and where they want it - and they are willing and ready to switch to brands that best serve these demands.

February 10, 2023