Sheetz Expands Loyalty

Retailer brings MySheetz card to Pennsylvania following successful tests

Greg Lindenberg, Editor, CSP

ALTOONA, Pa. -- After tests in its Ohio and North Carolina convenience stores, Sheetz Inc. is debuting its loyalty card in Pennsylvania, reported The Patriot-News. Rich Steckroth, director of business development for the Altoona, Pa.-based chain, told CSP Daily News that the MySheetz loyalty card program ran in those test markets for about two years. It "will be moving into the rest of the company's markets sometime this summer," he said.

The program has several components: Customer frequency--"buy X get Y"; immediate deals in store; immediate gasoline [image-nocss] rewards; and online deals. "Those are the four legs of the chair," Steckroth said.

"The strategy is clearly about convenience for the customer," he added. "Making it easy for the customer to do business with us."

Between 40% and 80% of customers in the test market signed up for cards, the Patriot-News added.

Customers swipe the MySheetz cards at the pump for an instant three-cent discount. No purchases are required, and points are not involved.

Steckroth would not discuss how the company will market the program. The industry would "have to wait and see" how it is rolled out when the time comes.

The newspaper asked, will 3 cents a gallon savings be enough to build customer allegiance?

Gasbuddy's petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan thinks so. "It's a mere three cents, but they're working on creating loyalty, and good loyalty programs are worth their weight in gold. And every penny counts to a lot of people out there these days," he told the paper.

Loyalty programs from Sheetz's rivals appear to be popular with their members, said the report. Giant loyalty card users have saved more than $17 million at the pump so far this year, Chris Brand, spokesperson for Pittsburgh-based Giant, told the Patriot-News. "Customer participation rates increase as gas prices rise. We closely monitor program participation and all aspects--coupons and bonus-point product offers--show a growing participation," he said.

Customers also are signing up for Rutters Farm Store loyalty cards, first offered 18 months ago. Spokesperson Alex Henry said gasoline rewards since the launch total more than $1 million. "People are definitely paying more attention to the points that they accumulate and when they fall off," she told the paper.

Established in 1952, Sheetz is one of America's fastest growing family-owned and operated c-store chains, with more than $4.5 billion in revenue for 2010 and more than 13,500 employees. The company operates approximately 390 convenience locations throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina. Sheetz provides an award-winning menu of MTO subs, sandwiches and salads, which are ordered through touchscreen order point terminals. All Sheetz convenience stores are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.