CRU Awards Part 1: A Decade of Loyalty

Speedway honored for executing its Speedy Rewards program at high level

Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News

Mitch Morrison (left), Christi Frizzell, Grant Heminger

FAIRBORN, Ohio -- Great store design, remarkable community involvement and a great consumer experience--these are the three primary attributes honored in CSP's annual Convenience Retailing Awards. But really what drives the award winners is passion for providing a superior retail experience to customers.

Our first winner is Speedway Convenience Stores, honored for the superlative customer experience its Speedy Rewards program has provided for 10 years now. And with more than a decade of experience under its belt, Speedway finds its Speedy Rewards program has very much become part of the landscape and part of the way the Springfield, Ohio-based company does business.

Speedway was presented with a Convenience Retailing Award for consumer experience Wednesday during CSP's Convenience Retailing University event in Fort Worth, Texas.

Working in tandem with the chain's strong emphasis on friendly customer service, Speedy Rewards allow customers to earn points toward gasoline discounts and free merchandise in the stores, as well as coupons for savings just for using the membership card inside the store or at the pump.

"When you look at what we sell vs. what our competition sells, we generally sell the same things, whether it's gasoline, candy, soda, fountain, foodservice items," Speedway CEO Tony Kenney told CSP Daily News in an exclusive interview. "So what we've tried to do is find a point of differentiation to give that consumer more choices or more reasons to shop at Speedway as opposed to one of our competitors."

Many of the rewards are automatic, with a swipe of the card, while others can be viewed and redeemed from redemption terminals located inside Speedway stores. Among the possible rewards recently: a free cup of coffee, a free candy bar, up to 50 cents per gallon off of a gasoline purchase, and gift cards from iTunes, Zynga, Applebees and other retailers.

A variety of "award clubs" let customers choose the quickest way to earn the freebies they want most, while signage in the store clearly defines the benefits of each "club."

"Whether its food items, a free cup of coffee, discounts off of fuel, free sodas from the fountain, they choose what's important to them," Kenney said. "Some of the more popular items are from the prepaid-card selection that we have. We have a number of … other merchants' prepaid cards, but the Speedway prepaid card is the most popular. That allows you to but fuel or any items inside the store."

In addition, online sweepstakes allow cardholders to compete for larger prizes, such as tablet computers and high-definition camcorders. And the Speedy Rewards Pay Card option opens yet another reason for customers to sign up.

Working with vendor partners in other channels of retail--from grocery to restaurant--Speedway has expanded the reach of Speedy Rewards, while always bringing customers back to Speedway stores for redemption. And additional partnerships are on the horizon.

So with 3.5 million active members--and growing--what makes Speedy Rewards click with consumers?

"It's really designed around being a loyalty program where the consumer chooses what they want to redeem those points for, what's of value to them," Kenney said. "And what we do at a store in Fairborn, Ohio, for example, we across 1,400 other stores in seven states. So if we're executing a promotion for bonus points on certain items where we've partnered with a CPG company, we can offer that same promotion to the consumer whether they're in Fairborn or Chicago or Louisville, Ky. So I think the element of control throughout the company operations gives us the ability to really execute at a very high level."

Steve Holtz, CSP/Winsight By Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News
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