Secrets Behind Speedway’s Speedy Rewards

5 reasons why Marathon Petroleum's program remains gold standard in c-store loyalty

ENON, Ohio -- It is the loyalty of envy in the convenience channel: Speedy Rewards, Speedway’s brilliantly employed card that a year ago touted more than 3.8-million active users.

So it was hardly a surprise when dozens of vendors attending the IRI Growth Summit 2016 took copious notes as two key members of the Speedy Rewards program shared the thought process and aspirations behind the loyalty program.

Here are several key insights from the session held during the conference in Washington:

Customer Segmentation. Are you tired of hearing about millennials and baby boomers? Well, so are Jon Kneer, Speedway’s manager of supply chain management and consumer insights, and Greg Wolfenbarger, company director of consumer insights and analytics.

Actually, the two find these breakdowns too sweeping. “We create segments within millennials and boomers” because the younger and older portions of each segment “think differently,” Wolfenbarger said. “It’s not just millennials or boomers.”

Vendor-Retailer Relations. Don’t come in with slides of Nielsen grocery market data, Kneer cautioned. “We expect convenience-store data. We expect vendors to go beyond POS data, to share behavioral data.” In return, Speedway will share with vendors insights from its rewards programs to propel new marketing initiatives such as two-fors, discounted items and other allures to grow market basket.

Two-Way Street. With more than 2,700 stores anchored in the Midwest and, more recently in the East Coast with its acquisition and conversion of Hess’ retail network, Speedway stands mightily to leverage its size and dictate terms. From interviews with suppliers and hearing both Kneer and Wolfenbarger, that is not the case at all.

“Some suppliers are really good and push us,” Wolfenbarger said. “That’s what these programs are for, to push each of us to get better.”

One supplier, speaking to CSP Daily News after the session, shared, “They’re strong negotiators but fair. They want to make a profit but they also want us to make a profit. They’re about getting the best deal possible for the customer.”

Measure. Measure. Measure. Speedway is famous for its metrics. Since it launched Speedy Rewards in 2004, the operator has fostered a loyalty experience that touches every point of the forecourt and backcourt. Kneer talked about how the company, through a dedicated Speedy loyalty team, analyzes consumer behavior on a gamut of SKUs, methodically exploring how to influence behavior through different price points, product placements, bundling and other techniques.

Optimize Assortment. Extending its metric-driven model, Speedway runs six store clusters across the chain, recognizing that not all products will thrive equally in every market. In some markets, a product may overindex and underperform in another.

When it lays out its plan-o-gram, one thing the company works feverishly to avoid: cannibalization. “We can have a legitimate, unbiased conversation of what the set should be,” Kneer said. But, he added, Speedway has little interest in me-too products. Its focus is continuously on growing the total category and overall store performance.

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