Convert More Fuel Stops Into Store Visits

Steps to help drive more traffic from the pump through the front door

gas station at night

Brought to you by Paytronix.

On average, 300 people visit a convenience store’s gasoline pumps a day, but only 35% of those customers step foot inside the store. Rest assured that you are not unlike other marketers who dream of solving this dilemma. We all know that margin mostly lives in the store, not at the pump, which is why converting fuel customers to frequent in-store patrons is like the brass ring of convenience-store marketing.

For years, marketers have tried to solve this challenge. Some send the same “buy one coffee, get the second free” offer to all customers, hoping it pulls them in. Others have invested in expensive pump displays, point-of-purchase material and more to convert that customer. There is even a group that has given up trying to convert them, leaving room for competitors to grab their customers instead. But there is a better way to motivate store visits: Use an individual’s purchase data to compel in-store sales.

With individual contact information, such as an email address, coupled with a history of purchase behavior, marketers today are equipped with the intelligence they need to persuade the customer toward their next purchase. A well-designed loyalty program motivates customers to share their contact information with you, which enables the brand to gain insight into individual purchase histories.

Once you compel customers to join and participate in a loyalty program, strengthen the bond and drive profitable promotions by segmenting the membership data to deliver targeted promotions.

There are clear segments in your customer base, each with different motivational factors. When marketers discover segments with common motivators, the result is a powerful, profitable marketing strategy.

Beyond simple segmentation such as demographics and preferences, creating segments of like-minded lifestyles helps a brand deliver relevance and convenience to its customers. You may recognize some of these folks:

  • The truck driver. This blue-collar worker averages 300 miles per week, making him a frequent gas customer. He comes in at least once a week to fill up and then hits the road again.
  • The soccer mom. Her minivan is always filled with kids as she carpools to and from practice. She is cost-conscious and a nonsmoker, and she fills up her tank quickly in between shuffling kids around.
  • The professional. Always on the go, he or she stops in to quickly fill up the gas tank a few times a month on their way to or from work.

The typical purchase behaviors within each of these segments are distinct. Each is motivated to purchase in a unique way. For example, sending a free Slim Jim offer would likely appeal to your truck-driver segment rather than the soccer mom. Relevant promotions motivate incremental purchases inside the store.

If you are not convinced lifestyle segmentation will drive customers into the store, consider this:

Relevance of offer matters. We have tested this across a number of dimensions and have found that continually sending irrelevant messages causes recipients to tune out your brand or, worse, unsubscribe. Instead, customers experience success in sending relevant messages to draw customers into the store.

Here’s an example: A pattern in the customer purchase data revealed that about every fourth visit, a customer named Jessica comes in to purchase a tobacco product. Sending a message just after the second visit with an offer for a free drink in addition to that tobacco purchase causes the customer to decrease time between visits, ultimately increasing the number of store visits Jessica makes over the course of the year.  

Leverage data to target each customer with a relevant promotion, with careful consideration of timing and offer, and it will get them in to the store more often. Watch “Who’s Buying Your Cold Drinks and Why Should You Care?” to learn more.