2020 tested the convenience industry like never before. With the COVID-19 pandemic causing lockdowns and restrictions, some key elements emerged as lifelines: online ordering, curbside pickup and delivery, contactless payment and loyalty programs.
In addition to fostering goodwill between a brand and its customers, a loyalty program provides tremendous insight into consumer behavior and personal preferences. It also offers a direct line of communication with members, enabling enhanced marketing efforts. These benefits proved invaluable in 2020, when industry giants like GPM Investments and QuickChek were among those that launched or relaunched loyalty programs as brands reinvented themselves to survive in a rapidly changing environment.
Convenience stores experienced only a minuscule decline in visits among loyalty members who visited at least twice in 2020, averaging a loss of 0.4 visits per guest, which equates to about 1%. Even during the onset of the pandemic in March, stores didn’t see a significant drop in visits on a monthly basis. Average monthly visits surpassed the 2019 average by July and continued to grow in the fall. By December 2020, loyal customers were averaging 0.3 more visits than in the same period in 2019, representing a growth of about 10%.
Although fuel sales fell dramatically in 2020, overall spend among loyalty members declined by just 3%. Consumers were filling up less often, but the average gallons sold per check increased by about 7%. Loyalty customers also spent an average of about 10% more per visit last year.
Loyalty programs ultimately helped convenience brands weather the pandemic. In fact, Paytronix data shows that the top 10% of loyalty guests accounted for 9.4% of all spend across restaurant and convenience brands in April 2020, proving that loyalty consumers continued to visit more often than their non-loyalty counterparts during a difficult time. That same top 10% accounted for more than half of all loyalty spend for eight months of 2020.
To get more insights like these, download the first annual Paytronix Loyalty Report. This one-of-a-kind report examines trends across the loyalty landscape, including those involving visits, spend, member demographics and program types.
This post is sponsored by Paytronix