Loyalty Paying for NOCO Express

New AAA fuel savings program exceeding expectations

Samantha Oller, Senior Editor/Fuels, CSP

TONAWANDA, N.Y. -- When NOCO Express and AAA Western & Central New York first launched their joint fuel savings and rewards program in early May, the goal was to log 5,000 unique users within the first month. The program easily surpassed that within the first week, said Henry Bays, general manager with the 30-store c-store chain and fuel distributor, and noted that the weekly trend is within "the five figures."

"It's been so great since the day we kicked it off--people have just embraced it," Bays told CSP Daily News. "It's just been a total success."

As [image-nocss] mentioned earlier in CSP Daily News (click here for previous coverage), the AAA & NOCO Fuel Advantage program rewards AAA Western & Central New York members with a three-cent-per-gallon discount on gasoline, as well as the ability to earn reward points toward NOCO Express items. Motorists swipe their AAA membership card at any NOCO Express pump, where it automatically reduces the price per gallon. They can pay at the pump by credit or debit card, or with cash inside after swiping the AAA card.

In addition, for every gallon of gasoline purchased, the customer earns 10 reward points. AAA members also earn 20 reward points for every dollar spent inside NOCO Express on convenience items.

Bays said NOCO Express has also seen an uptick in in-store sales, noting that for many of the chain's stores, there is a strong correlation between gallons and inside sales. While he could not cite a number, Bays noted that another win is in increased loyalty for the chain. "Not only are we attracting people to pumps, but they become more loyal to us," he said.

Indeed, NOCO Express originally approached AAA Western & Central New York to tap into the group's 880,000-strong member base.

"When you start a loyalty program, the first thing you have to do is get members," said Bays. "And the more members you get, more than likely the more successful the program."

For AAA Western & Central New York, the fuel loyalty program become one more selling point it can offer to its members to encourage renewals, said Bays, and a reason to use the AAA membership card more often.The program, a full year in the making, required NOCO Express to run through a few technical and logistical hurdles, which it did with the help of POSA Tech Inc., a loyalty services and processing provider based in Coral Springs, Fla. This included confirming the PCI compliance of the fuel rewards membership card, working with its POS vendor to ensure the card was recognized properly as a membership card--as opposed to a credit or debit card--and securing the approval of its processor. POSA Tech is offering certification for the AAA Gasoline Discount program to retailers nationwide.

This is only the first phase of the NOCO Express AAA fuel loyalty program. In the next phase--to be completed in late summer--AAA Western & Central New York will re-vend the AAA membership card into an automatic clearinghouse card (ACH), and members will have the ability to earn even greater rewards.

"It really was a program kind of like a marriage," said Bays, citing the rewards for NOCO Express, AAA Western & Central New York and their customers. "They benefit, we benefit, and our guests really benefit. It's been a win/win for everybody."