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Do C-Store Retailers Still Need A Loyalty Program in 2024?

No other industry has the number of SKUs and as diverse a customer base as c-stores. Retailers face unique challenges standing out from the competition and fostering lasting relationships with their customers. Imagine for a moment that you're advising a retailer who questions the necessity of implementing a loyalty program. "Why bother?" they ask. "Can't we just advertise to everyone?"


Well, here's the thing: if you advise your retailer client to forgo a loyalty program in favor of generic promotions to the masses, you're doing them a great disservice. You're essentially consigning them to join the chaotic sea of one size fits all advertisements that consumers are bombarded with every minute of every day. Offering discounts to every person who walks through the door is akin to throwing money into the wind. Sure, some customers may appreciate the savings, but what about your true convenience shoppers who value ease and efficiency over bargains? By indiscriminately doling out discounts, your retailer client is squandering valuable marketing dollars on customers who would have happily paid full price. And by not enrolling them in a rewards program, retailers lose out on valuable customer data that can be leveraged to tailor promotions and offers to individual preferences. By rewarding loyal customers with personalized incentives, retailers not only encourage repeat business but also differentiate themselves from the competition. A well-crafted loyalty program goes beyond one size fits all discounts; it's about fostering authenticity and creating a special bond with your customers. In the dynamic c-store landscape, where brick and mortar meets digital, this kind of genuine connection is essential to rise above the crowded pack.

The Downfall of App-Only Solutions:


A disappointed mobile app user

The latest report from Electrum highlights critical insights into mobile app usage within the convenience store sector, emphasizing the challenges and limitations faced by retailers in engaging consumers solely through a mobile app. Key findings show…


  1. Less than 15% of users open the app each month.

  2. Mobile coupons using barcodes on mobile apps have shockingly low redemption rates, averaging only 8 redemptions per location per month.

  3. Mobile app users shop less frequently compared to loyalty program members without apps.

  4. Mobile-only enrollment programs enroll significantly fewer consumers compared to multiple enrollment methods.


These findings underscore the challenges faced by convenience store retailers in effectively engaging consumers through app-only solutions. Despite efforts to promote app usage and loyalty program enrollment, the low engagement rates highlight the need for retailers to explore alternative strategies and diversified approaches to drive customer participation and enhance overall program effectiveness.

What gives retailers the highest ROI in a loyalty program?

Money steadily growing

Retailers must embrace a single-source loyalty program that prioritizes authenticity and offers diversified engagement channels for customers. When retailers rely on multiple vendors for different aspects of their loyalty program, such as a mobile app provider and another company for scan data and then another vendor who has to integrate with your other providers to offer gift cards, they run into stagnant fragmentation. This fragmentation can lead to breakdowns in the system and challenges in improving or adjusting the program due to the involvement of numerous vendors. By consolidating their loyalty program under a single provider, retailers create a seamless and personalized experience for customers and free themselves from the hassle of trying to do business with a host of vendors for a single program. A single source solution enhances customer loyalty, generates valuable data for future marketing efforts, and enables retailers to directly promote to their consumers in a myriad of ways.


Diversified engagement is crucial for boosting the redemption rates of digital offers. Retailers should offer customers multiple ways to enroll and engage, including QR codes, automated texts at the pump, mobile apps, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), kiosks, social media campaigns, web portal, and more. By catering to individual preferences, retailers can increase participation and effectiveness.


A unified loyalty solution simplifies operations, reduces costs, and eliminates the complexities associated with managing multiple platforms. By focusing on building meaningful relationships with customers, retailers can drive long-term profitability and maximize the ROI of their loyalty programs.

Looking Into The Future of C-Store Loyalty:

Aliens filling up their tank at a gas station

The future of convenience store (c-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 cannot be overstated. 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. However, the effectiveness of personalization hinges on seamless delivery and redemption mechanisms. In a market saturated with loyalty programs, retailers must leverage data insights to craft personalized promotions that resonate with individual preferences. By doing so, they can not only meet consumer expectations but also drive c-store loyalty program engagement and long-term profitability in the ever-evolving landscape.


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