Thorntons' Refreshing Rewards Seeking to Raise Loyalty Penetration

Paytronix-powered program targets million registered customers by end of first quarter

Thorntons Refreshing Rewards loyalty (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Gas Stations)

LOUSIVILLE, Ky. -- Since launching the Refreshing Rewards program in late September 2014, gas station and convenience store chain Thorntons Inc. has met and exceeded its goal of registered customers and now expects one million customers to register by the end of first-quarter 2015.

Thorntons Refreshing Rewards program managers are using targeted promotions to get members to visit more frequently and are leveraging program data for category management.

Built with Paytronix Systems Inc.'s Rules & Wallets engine as its foundation, Thorntons Refreshing Rewards program segments registered customers by how often they visit the convenience store or buy gas. Thorntons can then deliver varying levels of rewards based on customer visit, spending and purchase behavior. For gas-only customers, the goal is to compel a visit to the c-store; for frequent c-store users, the program leverages each customer's transaction history to drive incremental visits.

Since Thorntons rolled out the Refreshing Rewards program to all 180 of its convenience stores, the percentage of transactions using a loyalty card is significant, said Paytronix. And Thorntons believes there's an opportunity to increase the loyalty penetration rate.

To date, Thorntons Refreshing Rewards has achieved the following milestones:

  • Successful enrollment. At the end of 2014, Thorntons had already exceeded its year-two goal of registered users. With results far in excess of original expectations, Thorntons increased its goal of the number of registered customers it will acquire by the end of first-quarter 2015 by 30%.
  • Incremental visits. Refreshing Rewards is generating one extra visit per member per month.
  • Reset targeted marketing strategy. With the goal of generating an additional visit per member per month, Thorntons is developing specific campaigns geared at targeting members by day-part and encouraging extra purchases, such as breakfast foods or milk.
  • Category Management. With its strong customer segmentation and data analytics capabilities, Refreshing Rewards is helping both Thorntons and its consumer packaged goods (CPG) vendors shift spend away from mass marketing to targeted promotions. As a result, it can measure the success of each promotion, gain visibility into customer demand for future promotional offers and ensure product availability across the chain.

"Although groceries have provided CPG vendors with buyer information for a long time, those same vendors are starved for knowledge on what is going on in the c-store channel," said Lee Barnes, head of data insights for Paytronix. "Working closely with its CPG vendors is a big part of Thorntons' 2015 strategy. Now it can share data with its CPGs on which visitors are buying which products, so that the CPGs can make intelligent offers to their joint customers."

"The combination of Paytronix technology, its deep loyalty domain knowledge and its Data Insights capabilities has helped the Thorntons Refreshing Rewards program get off to a fast start and exceed our expectations," said Tony Harris, president of Thorntons. "While it's very difficult to get someone who is not using a convenience store to begin using it, Paytronix has given us the ability to capitalize on the huge opportunity to increase the visits for existing Paytronix Systems, Newton, Mass., is a leading provider of reward program solutions to restaurants and retailers.

Louisville, Ky.-based Thorntons operates over 180 gasoline and convenience stores, car washes and travel plazas in six states: Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Florida and Tennessee.

Part of CSP's 2015 Convenience Top 101 retailers