Offering unparalleled convenience and ease of delivery goes a long way toward enhancing customers’ experiences with food products and in-store merchandise, said AlixPartners. Capitalizing on digital technologies such as mobile loyalty programs and mobile payments can further help operators attract and retain c-store customers.
Study participants named mobile loyalty programs as the most important technology offerings that c-stores can provide, said the report.
Mobile loyalty programs shape consumers’ decisions about which c-stores to patronize. RaceTrac recently launched a 100% in-app loyalty program. The program comprises several tiers, and as customers move up the tiers, the list of items for which they can redeem rewards expands, as does the number of free items available to them. The app scored 250,000 downloads in just four weeks following its launch.
And some chains use beacon technology to push notifications to customers’ mobile devices as they fuel up.
Mobile payments using near-field communication (NFC) have continued to gain traction, said the report. Many millennial and Gen X respondents in the study said they had used a mobile device to pay for products at a c-store in the previous 12 months. C-stores are also focusing on the costly effort of converting their systems for Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) chip-card compliance.