Archive for the “Convenience Stores” Category

Customers are the New Categories for C-Stores

iStock_000056948566_XXXLargeThink back to your last marketing meeting. What kinds of conversations did you have? Did you discuss with your team how to sell more fountain drinks, how to get more chips out of the store, or how to launch that new coffee program? Maybe you talked about how to get more people to buy gas AND go into the store.

These are important conversations to have about how you’re ultimately going to sell more products, but this way of thinking is “category centric.” You’re concerned about how to get certain items off the shelves instead of how to get certain customers into your stores.

The Promotion

Imagine you decide to run a “Buy 2 Cans of Coca-Cola and Get 1 Free” promotion. Coca-Cola cares about one thing – getting their product into the hands of more people. And if you’re category centric, as most convenience store marketers have been for years, that’s probably all you’re focusing on too. Let’s say you decide to blast this Coke promotion to all of your customers, because you know that the more people you send this to, the more people will come into the store to take advantage of the deal.

The Results…at First Glance

There’s a reason why sending a mass email blast is so appealing. Here’s an example of a target and control […]

The 80’s were fun, but your loyalty program called and said it’s dying for an update.

convenience store loyaltyThe evolution of loyalty programs over the course of several decades has impacted how the airline, hospitality, and restaurant industries create relationships with their respective customers. To date, we have seen these industries move along a trajectory from paper to electronic stamp cards; basic point systems to tiered loyalty programs; to leveraging compiled customer data to emotional engagement and integration. The airline industry led the pack in the late 1970s, followed by the hotel industry in the 1980s, and then the restaurant industry in the 2000s. These loyalty programs across all sectors have built relationships by rewarding customers for their purchase behavior.

While other industries have moved programs toward more sophisticated use of the data gained from operating loyalty programs, convenience store programs in general seem to be stuck in the 80’s in terms of how data is leveraged to connect with customers in a relevant, motivational manner.  The majority are offering programs that are centered on CPG promotions funded by partners and offering fuel rewards in the form of cents off the gallon. […]

C-Store Marketers: Get Your Customers to Turn Left

It’s rush hour on a weekday and a potential customer, let’s call her Sarah, is driving along a busy and traffic-jammed road. She’s had a long day at the office, but she can’t go straight home just yet – she’s noticed her gas tank is low. It’s time to fuel up.traffic jams in the city, road, rush hour

After crossing through a clogged intersection, Sarah sees two convenience stores with gas pumps: Store A the right side of the road, and Store B on the left. Buying gas at Store A would certainly take less time – one simple right turn off of the street and she’s in the lot pumping fuel. Making a right turn out of the lot once she’s finished should be smooth going, too. To get to Store B, however, she’d have to wait for the backed-up traffic in the opposite lane to either pass entirely, or wait for a kind soul to let her through the lane into Store B’s lot. Either of those waiting options requires more time and potential frustration, and leaving Store B would require yet another left turn. Which convenience store will she choose for her gas purchase?

Sarah turns left, deciding that visiting Store B is worth waiting in traffic. Why would she do this? […]

Top Two Ways to Compel Price-Sensitive Customers to Spend More

Price-sensitive customers are far too often ignored by marketers. The common thread of thinking is that they are tough to sell to, but with the right strategy that is not the case! In fact, this customer segment has much more spending potential than you might expect.

Let’s say that your stingy customers have shown in the past that they are able to visit your locations three times per month, but generally they come in one time per month (these numbers align best with a quick-service restaurant concept – adjust them to fit your company’s business model). These stingy customers – the people who either visit infrequently and/or spend very little with each visit – have a lot of room for growth because they’ve shown that they are capable of spending more.

In order for these price-sensitive customers to reach their spending potential, they must be challenged in a relevant way. Your marketing tactics should ask them for something you know they are capable of achieving. If you ask a stingy customer to behave the same way as a loyal one, the daunting task could be a turn-off altogether. You’ll need to track customer behavior with either a loyalty or CRM program and then analyze the resulting data. When you’ve identified the true spending potential of your stingiest customers, here are the two best ways to compel them to spend more: […]