Digital Ranking Profile: Pilot Flying J (January 2018)

Jackson Lewis, Associate Editor

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PhiladelphiaKNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- CSP Daily News continues its series examining the ranking of the digital capabilities of the convenience-store industry’s largest and most influential chains.

This month’s featured profile is Pilot Flying J, which placed at No. 7 with an overall score of 2.09 as of Jan. 12, 2018. While the travel center takes seventh place in the ranking overall, the chain’s website took the fifth-highest ranking. The chain’s app also contributed its score, with standout features such as the ability to pay at the pump through a phone or reserve showers and parking spots.

The ranking platform is managed by Stuzo, a digital-product-innovation company focused on the convenience-store and fuel-retail industry with headquarters in Philadelphia.

The ranking covers 100 c-store chains, measuring each chain’s digital presence, including mobile commerce, mobile employee activation, connected car, website and social media. Each company is ranked on a points-based system, with a score of 0 to 5 for each metric. Each metric is calculated using four more specific metrics. While this article examines the details behind the Love’s ranking, it is meant more as a profile than an attempt to compare it to competitors.

Click through for details on where Pilot Flying J stands in Stuzo’s C-Store Digital Ranking and information on the brand’s digital capabilities …

Mobile Commerce: 2

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Pilot Flying J’s overall score for mobile commerce is 2. Here’s how it breaks down:

App Performance: 3.67
Mobile Payment: 1.33
Loyalty Program: 3.0
Mobile Ordering: 0

In addition to fuel payment and shower reservations, Pilot Flying J’s mobile app allows users to earn points through the myRewards loyalty program, which can be used to redeem showers, Wi-Fi and more.

However, some users report issues with the app. “Out of 6,100 reviews in the Google Play store, 1,500 customers have rated Pilot Flying J’s app with 1 star,” said Aaron McLean, chief operating officer of Stuzo. “The app is often unreliable, specifically with mobile payment ability, and loading times at the pump are long.”

Website: 4.63

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Pilot Flying J’s overall score for its website is 4.63. Here’s how it breaks down:

UX/UI: 5.0
Loyalty Program Promotion: 4.0
Personalization: 4.5
App Promotion: 5.0 

Customers with a myRewards account who visit the Pilot Flying J website have a customized experience. Rewards members who sign in with their account can view current deals and enter sweepstakes.

The website also offers an abundance of information about products, business services and reward programs. The app is promoted on the website's home page.

Social Media: 3.8

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Pilot Flying J’s overall score for its social-media use is 3.8. Here’s how it breaks down:

Brand Responsiveness: 4.0
Frequency of Posts: 3.5
Creativity of Content: 2.75
Level of Engagement: 5.0

Pilot Flying J posts on its various social-media channels two to three times per week. The content is engaging, containing images, videos and holiday best wishes.

McLean said Pilot Flying J engages with its customers well online but could post more frequently to increase brand loyalty. Despite this, the chain’s fans are engaged online, as Pilot’s posts receive a significant number of shares, likes and comments.

Connected-car and mobile-employee activation: 0

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Pilot Flying J did not score in either the connected-car or employee-activation metrics, but this is not unusual for c-store chains on Stuzo’s list. These metrics are focused on the future; Stuzo predicts chains will put more resources into such initiatives as the industry evolves and becomes more tech-focused.

The mobile-employee-activation metric measures how chains increase employee productivity and work satisfaction through mobile-based programs. Connected car measures the chain’s use of a car’s "infotainment" system on the dashboard, which will become more common as the capabilities of car platforms expand further.

With more than 700 c-stores, Knoxville, Tenn.-based Pilot Flying J ranked No. 12 on CSP’s 2017 Top 202 list of the largest c-store chains in the United States.

Philadelphia-based Stuzo is a leading provider of personalized and predictive commerce solutions for retailers, powered by products, services, and market leading insights platforms. Stuzo’s solutions help retailers develop one-to-one relationships with their customers, increase average transaction value per customer, increase customer visit frequency and build repeat customer behaviors that drive targeted business outcomes.