By now, the efficacy of loyalty programs has been well established. These programs have come a long way since visit punch-cards—with modern technology, loyalty promotes consumer engagement, fosters relationships with the brand, drives incremental visits and spend and ultimately drives revenue.
It should come as no surprise, then, that industry leaders in the convenience store space have begun to leverage their already successful loyalty programs in new and inventive ways.
The latest loyalty use case is highlighted in the employee perks programs seen at Duchess Convenience Stores and QuickChek. Each program runs slightly differently, but both use the existing loyalty program to reward employees for their work and to get them excited about the program and the products they are selling as ambassadors of the brand.
By inviting the employee to the program, the brand is enabling their understanding of brand loyalty on a deeper level. This will ultimately result in employees that care more about the program and are more likely to encourage customers to use it, too.
Duchess Convenience Stores has enrolled all 1300 retail employees at its 120 stations in Ohio and West Virginia in an “employee” tier of its Crown Card Rewards program, providing them with free products and rewards every day, even when they’re not working.
These rewards, paid for by the consumer packaged goods vendors, allow employees to sample new products. Those employees then provide valuable feedback to the brand about what products are likely to resonate with consumers. Duchess has already seen the impact on sales, especially when a new product hits the shelves.
QuickChek, a 153-unit chain of convenience stores in New Jersey and New York, is also leveraging its QuickChek Rewards loyalty program with employees, which the company recognizes as its No. 1 marketing tool. The new Ambassador program enrolls team members in QuickChek Rewards, in which each week, they can try new products—such as a new chocolate bar or the 6-inch sub sandwich special on the menu—for free. Having tried the products, they can then recommend them, driving QuickChek’s food service and its CPG partner brand promotions.
These employee programs have been especially critical during the COVID-19 pandemic for communicating directly with employees and rewarding them for their dedication as essential workers. Duchess was able to create digital, loyalty-based promotions instead of printing signs and sending traditional forms of communication to the store. Their program has been so successful that Duchess recently added its entire team of fuel and delivery drivers to the employee loyalty program too.
The most successful loyalty programs all share a fundamental dedication to the program from the highest levels of an organization down to the employees in the store. That’s because those employees are the face of the brand and are the ones interacting with customers daily. To invest in those employees’ relationships with the program is to invest in the program’s penetration, and ultimately, its success.
This post is sponsored by Paytronix