recent survey of convenience store managers shows that decreasing store visits and attracting new customers were the two most significant issues their companies faced. When you realize that it costs between 5 and 25 times more to attract a new customer than to retain a current one, loyalty programs are the perfect solution as they help retention and return of customers. The food service area of a convenience store is an ideal place to implement a loyalty program. Yet, only about 73% of people belong to a convenience store loyalty program, so there is plenty of room for growth.
About 94% of customers say that a good customer experience is why they stay loyal to a particular brand. You can easily collect data with your customer loyalty program, allowing you to personalize the foodservice coupons and rewards given through a loyalty program. A 2018 study shows that 51% of customers will shop at a particular convenience store more often when they are members of that store's loyalty program. Additionally, 22% say they shop exclusively at that location.
Yet, customers have grown leery of providing retailers with too much personal data. This is understandable given the frequency of data breaches. About 57% say they are comfortable providing personal information if they know what the company intends to do with the collected data. Therefore, companies need to be careful of how much data they collect and be sure to tell customers why they need that data.
Most people will provide their email addresses and phone numbers, but they are hesitant to provide their addresses. Therefore, stores need to base their loyalty program on engaging with customers through emails and in-app messaging, geotargeting, short messages and push notifications.
51% of customers will shop at a particular convenience store more often when they are members of that store's loyalty program. Additionally, 22% say they shop exclusively at that location.
Customers want an easy way to track and redeem their points, and they also want points that will not expire. While a personalized shopping experience was once enough to drive customers to a particular brand, it is no longer enough. Instead, customers are demanding programs catering to their shopping habits. Furthermore, customers want an easy-to-use app that they can download to their mobile devices.
The excellent news for convenience stores trying to increase food sales through loyalty programs is that 87% of customers are comfortable having their buying habits tracked if the brand uses that data to deliver them a more personalized shopping experience.
Suppose the current brand loyalty program rewards customers for frequently shopping, but it does not rely on data to show what food items the customer is buying. In that case, it should be called a frequency program instead of a loyalty reward program. In some cases, the brand may need to switch program providers so that the food provider can provide a personalized shopping experience to the customer based on their buying habits.
One of the worst things you can do is create a loyalty reward program not driven by the customer's buying behaviors. For example, you may have a customer who comes in daily for your coffee, burritos, pizza or other food items, yet they do not drive, so offering them a discount on their gas purchases does not encourage them to stay loyal to your brand. You need to be particularly careful when sending messages to these customers because 74% report that they become frustrated when the messages do not apply to them.
Convenience store management must consider the goals they hope to achieve through this marketing effort and make sure that those goals align with other company initiatives. If the correct data is not collected, it is hard to tell if your loyalty rewards program is successful. Ensure that you increase brand recognition & loyalty programs awareness in all segments of the restaurant's audience.
Especially in convenience stores, it is vital to engage customers through your loyalty program at all stages of the buyers' journey and through methods that work well for that individual. Additionally, brands must ensure the program rewards users for performing different actions, like special promotions, events, gift cards and free products.
Customers need to be able to access the loyalty rewards program on the device of their choosing. If they change devices while a member of the foodservice rewards program, they need to be able to switch over their accounts quickly. It is also helpful to constantly be tracking data so that you can tell what items are trending and react to consumer buying habits.
The convenience store company must consider the program's value to their own business. When using loyalty programs to drive foodservice sales, be cautious that you are not forcing customers to your competition. For example, one company offered a loyalty reward program that was good at dozens of food service establishments. Establishments were sold an advertising spot on the card, but consumers could use it at multiple locations. Therefore, they were not encouraged to be loyal to a particular brand or location. There was no benefit for the establishments participating in these programs, except that patrons might be encouraged to dine out more.
The convenience store must consider the program's value to their own business, just like they do when adding food service technology. For example, one company offered a loyalty reward program that was good at dozens of food service establishments. Establishments were sold an advertising spot on the card, but consumers could use it at multiple locations. Therefore, they were not encouraged to be loyal to a particular brand or location. There was no benefit for the establishments participating in these programs, except that patrons might be encouraged to dine out more.
Loyalty rewards programs are helpful for many different purposes. There are numerous types of loyalty programs, including:
The most successful food service convenience store companies will have successful loyalty reward programs as they draw people into their businesses frequently. If you need help implementing or updating yours to align with your company goals, reach out to us today. You can easily increase brand recognition & loyalty program participation when working with professionals prepared to lead at each project step.