Indie Loyalty

Quality State Oil extends "multi-club" program to dealer ranks

Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. -- For independent retailers struggling to develop and execute a store-level loyalty program, the task may seem insurmountable. In that environment, at least one distributor has chosen to extend its solution to its dealer network.

After seven years of working on its own program which is implemented at all its 18 Q-Mart stores, Quality State Oil Co., Sheboygan, Wis., is offering a version called Badger Rewards to its 60-site dealer network.

For the past three months, the program has been in seven dealer locations.

Badger Rewards is based on Quality State's "multi-club" loyalty program called, Q-Mart Rewards, which allows people to participate in over 70 different "clubs." Each club works in a similar way, rewarding people who buy a certain number of cups of coffee with one free. It could be a milk club or beer, with a more recently introduced club for craft beers showing early signs of promise, according to said John Winter, vice president of planning and development for Quality State.

The Q-Mart loyalty program has attracted more than 90,000 members, with more than 75 "club" levels for customers to reach, Winter told CSP Daily News. Vendor partners often work with Winter to develop and fund certain club promotions. For instance, Houston-based CITGO helps fund a sweepstakes program that has, to date, given away $100,000 in random rewards.

For dealers signing onto the Badger Rewards program, a degree of autonomy will exist that allows each site a choice as to what clubs and promotions to use, according to Scott Stangel, wholesale marketing manager for Quality State and in charge of the Badger Rewards program.

"Independents think differently," Stangel said. "So this is not only a structured program, but one that gives them the flexibility to develop a program within a program."

A dealer can sign on for the basic rewards program, but then add a car-wash promotion or work with a foodservice vendor to add a unique reward. They can even partner with an off-site business to offer services such as oil changes.

The program runs off of the Outsite Networks platform, a loyalty provider based in Norfolk, Va. Winter said the provider has worked with them on its Q-Mart program for years and expressed confidence in its technology and capabilities.

Initial results at the seven dealer test sites shows that customers who signed onto the loyalty program spend about 4.7 times more than non-loyal customers, with loyalty customers averaging $10 per visit.

Critical to the success of the program, Stangel said, is motivating sales associates to understand the program and engage the customer. The larger goal is to get key fobs into the hands of consumers and keep the excitement going week after week with new clubs and promotions.

"Our philosophy within Quality State is to add value," Winter said. "How can we help our individual dealers … grow their business?

Angel Abcede, CSP/Winsight By Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP
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