CHICAGO -- One thing that Anthony Perrine, owner of Lou Perrine’s Gas & Grocery, Kenosha, Wis., learned about the “carrot/stick” dynamic that underpins convenience-store loyalty programs is this: Cash rules, but too many program requirements definitely don’t rule.
Referring to his loyalty program as a “killer program” with 12,000 members, Perrine said the “people sign up for it because we give them cash back—they have to use the cash here in the store, but cash is the thing that incentivizes them. They accumulate points and the points earn cash. There’s not a lot of heavy lifting involved either, such as having to go online. You spend money and we give it back to you.”
Consumers are seeking some level of reform across several areas of concern around loyalty programs, including arduous information requirements to enroll, and protracted payoff times.
Research from St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Kobie Marketing, which consults on best-practice loyalty-building strategies, found that half of respondents to a recent survey felt deterred from joining new loyalty programs because the sponsor company asked for too much information in the enrollment process; 22%, meanwhile, said it takes too long to accumulate rewards.
Click though to view seven popular c-store, fuel, car wash and lube oil service-driven loyalty programs that strive to remain a cut above the norm ...
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Weigel’s Farm Stores
Powell, Tenn.-based Weigel’s Farm Stores Inc. is known for its popular Basic Milk loyalty card, through which customers receive a free gallon after purchasing 16, which increases trips, according to Charlotte Havely, director of marketing for the chain of 33 convenience stores. The card also entitles members to a birthday gift, surprise coupons, monthly freebies and special tobacco deals.
Last spring, the chain launched a new customer loyalty program: the myWeigel’s Rewards Card in conjunction with Norfolk, Va.-based loyalty provider Outsite Networks Inc. (ONI) on program architecture. “ONI’s program was selected for many reasons, including its ability to seamlessly integrate with Weigel’s current point-of-sale (POS) and payment platform,” Havely said.
Westlake, Ohio-based Minit Mart, which has 296 stores in 31 states, recently launched its new loyalty program, GoGo Rewards. It includes a points program and the digital equivalent of a punch card program. Members earn 20 points for every $1 spent in a Minit Mart store and 10 points for every gallon of gasoline purchased. Points can be redeemed for store merchandise or discounted fuel prices and exchanged for $5 Minit Money certificates to be used as cash for purchases in the store.
Customers can also participate in clubs that allow members to receive the eighth item free after purchasing seven eligible club items. Club categories include carbonated beverages, coffee, energy drinks, fountain drinks, pizza slices and king-size candy bars.
Minit Mart's parent company is TravelCenters of America.
Jacksonville, Fla.-based Southeastern Grocers Inc. (SEG) and Shell are surprising the first 100 customers at a Shell-branded station in select markets with up to $40 in free fuel in celebration of the new Southeastern Grocers loyalty program that debuted in mid-July. The program’s arrival follows the closure of Plenti Rewards, the “coalition” loyalty program that allowed shoppers to earn and redeem reward points among multiple retailers, which formerly included SEG.
Shoppers at Bi-Lo, Fresco y Mas, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie stores earn points during checkout, which can be redeemed for discounts on future grocery purchases as well as fuel at participating Shell gas stations.
Lou Perrine’s Gas & Grocery
Perrine of Lou Perrine’s Gas & Grocery, Kenosha, Wis., knew sales on Monday were woefully lacking compared to most other days of the week. Solution: He established a “Double Points Monday” for the single-store company’s loyalty card. Business on Mondays is now brisk.
Loop Neighborhood has launched Loop Back Rewards, an app-based rewards program that offers customers points in exchange for purchases, the ability to collect and redeem coupons, and a digital punch-card program. For every dollar spent in-store, customers receive 4 points. For every gallon of gas filled, customers receive 2 points. Points are redeemable for coupons at any in-store kiosk or through the app. Customers can then use their app in-store to have the discount applied to purchases.
Customers can enroll online or download the free Loop Back Rewards app.
C-stores that have reputable full-service car washes have an additional lever to pull when it comes to loyalty value. Fabulous Freddy’s, Las Vegas, offers just that extra incentive. Customers receive fuel discounts with car wash purchases and can earn one point for every $1 spent at the car wash, express lube or inside the convenience store. The Freddy Card Deal of the Month for July was a free fountain drink after buying 10.
Kwik Trip/Kwik Star
Four months after its launch, the new loyalty program from Kwik Trip/Kwik Starreached 1 million members in May. To celebrate, Kwik Trip began giving registered rewards members the chance to win free fuel for a year for shopping at company stores. The growth in members follows the loyalty program’s introduction of 15th-visit rewards, punch cards, exclusive coupons and stackable fuel discounts with opportunities to upgrade to debit and credit options for an added bonus. The program, officially launched in February 2018, offers a variety of rewards, from Nature’s Touch dairy products and Kwikery Bake Shop sweet goods. Rewards are always changing, the company said.