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Deciding on a Loyalty Program? These 9 Questions Are Vital For Convenience Store Retailers

In the realm of convenience stores dominated by big chain competitors, an impactful loyalty program is essential for rising above the rest, retaining valuable customers, and boosting profits. But choosing the right loyalty provider can feel overwhelming. Do I choose a mobile app only program? Do I partner with a fuel loyalty provider? Can I integrate my existing tobacco scan data into a loyalty program? In this article, we'll explore nine key questions to ask when evaluating potential loyalty providers, helping you make an informed decision for your business's success. To download our full “choosing the right loyalty program” guide, click below.



Loyalty Provider Comparison Guide


  1. Are you a convenience store specific loyalty provider, or do you also service QRS (quick service restaurants), etc? 

    1. While convenience stores and QSRs are linked, it’s vital to choose a loyalty provider that understands the intricacies of the c-store space. No other industry has the same amount of SKUs in such small real estate – and you want a provider with expertise on how to entice customers to high profit margin SKUs and more.  

  2. What offerings do you provide?

    1. While it may seem like an obvious question, retailers should document everything their loyalty provider can offer and verify whether any of the services being presented are outsourced to another company during their vetting process. Oftentimes retailers find themselves having one vendor provider gift cards, another for scan data, another for a mobile app and so on. When retailers want to make adjustments or improvements to their loyalty program – having a fragmented solution can cost retailers valuable time and energy. We highly recommend finding a loyalty provider that is capable of customer facing loyalty offerings, a mobile app, gift cards, scan data, customer facing kiosks, and an API to provide online ordering. 

  3. How do I track how my loyalty program is doing?

    1. Make sure your loyalty provider has built in analytics that allow you to look at your loyalty program on a micro and macro level. Whether you want to track your ROI overall or improve metrics at an unperforming store – comprehensive analytics modeled for convenience stores is a must for a good loyalty provider.

  4. What is your loyalty philosophy?

    1. Beware the loyalty provider who only promote fuel discounts to your customers or other providers who believe in a one-size-fits-all philosophy when it comes to promotions. A program must both be profitable for retailer and increase customer acquisition without engaging in loss leader tactics. Great loyalty programs offer the highest value to the most valuable customers and don’t waste valuable dollars on generalized promotions. Ask each platform provider, “Does the platform have features to drive retention and encourage the return of lapsed guests, and if so, how do they work? What retention rate can we expect to achieve on your platform in the first year?

  5. What are your engagement methods to enroll and retain customers?

    1. A profitable loyalty program must have multiple touchpoint for customers for maximum participation and impact. With less than 15% of consumers opening a c-store mobile app per month, retailers don’t want to put road blocks in the way of customers being able to engage with their brand. Ensure your loyalty provider has multiple engagement methods to interact with customers including mobile app, progressive web app, pump texts (PWA), QR codes on signage, kiosks, plus direct email and social media campaigns. A diverse range of options grants customers the autonomy to engage with loyalty on their own terms, ensuring the brand remains a welcome presence rather than being relegated to generic ad noise consumers tune out of a daily basis.

  6. What is the enrollment process for customers?

    1. A good loyalty provider captures valuable customer data at enrollment that will help them craft personalized rewards that will drive participation. Check with the provider to see what kind of data they get in enrollment. If the answer is that customers are only asked for phone or email without the option to including more information for rewards– then retailers will miss out on valuable data that could qualify them for vendor funded discounts and campaigns, scan data reimbursements, and so much more.

  7. Can I see your loyalty program in action?

    1. The slide deck was perfection. It all sounds great on paper. But retailers should make sure to see a demo of what the provider can really offer. Whether that is going somewhere to test out loyalty at another brand’s store or talking to another retailer who uses that provider – make sure to see the program in action.

  8. Do you offer personalized rewards?

    1. The future of convenience store loyalty lies in personalization, driven by consumers' growing demand for tailored experiences. With over 80% of shoppers favoring personalized interactions, the significance of customized offerings is huge. Despite concerns about data privacy, 65% of consumers are willing to share their data for personalized benefits. This shift towards personalized experiences is further validated by statistics showing that nearly half of shoppers make impulse purchases after receiving personalized recommendations, and 40% are likely to spend more on highly personalized offerings. The effectiveness of personalization hinges on seamless delivery and redemption mechanisms.

  9. Do you offer opportunities for vendor funded discounts or campaigns?

    1. Retailers have valuable insights into customer behaviors and vendors will fund campaigns or offer deeper discounts based on those analytics. Make sure your loyalty provider has these capabilities to ensure lucrative partnerships with vendors.



Finding a loyalty provider who is the right fit

 

Choosing the right convenience store loyalty provider is a pivotal decision that can significantly impact your store's success. By asking these nine crucial questions, you'll gain valuable insights into each provider's capabilities, philosophy, and commitment to driving tangible business results. With a well-informed decision, you'll be equipped to implement a loyalty program that not only enhances customer satisfaction but also drives sustained grow th and profitability for your convenience store.

 


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