The convenience store industry is going through a transformation where retailers are becoming competitors in the foodservice space, but there is still a lot that c-stores can learn from restaurants when it comes to customer engagement. By learning more about their customers and leveraging the data, c-stores can build loyalty and earn increased visits and spend from their customers.
How can c-stores achieve the level of customer engagement that restaurants have been able to get? There is a shift in the way brands think about their marketing, moving from category-centric to customer-centric, meaning instead of thinking about how to sell more of a product you think about who is buying those products. A customer-centric approach still revolves around selling more products, but it also means delving into who is buying them and why.
To move to a customer-centric approach, c-store marketers need to think about three main things:
- Know who your customers are. Do you know which of your customers is visiting regularly? Who is just purchasing fuel? Who is just going into the store? Who is doing both? Think about what you currently know about your customers and make sure to gather more information to get to know them better. The more information that is collected about each customer the more retailers can know about them and market to them effectively.
- Don’t treat all customers the same. To create a bond between the brand and its customers and maximize the impact marketers have on revenue creation, market segmentation is essential. Within any customer base, there are segments of people with shared interests and motivational factors. When marketers develop insights into their customer base that reveal common motivators, the result is a powerful, profitable marketing strategy. By identifying your market segments, marketing messages, offers, and message cadence can be tailored to each segment based on their common needs and behavioral patterns. The result is greater audience reach, more revenue, and higher profitability.
- Keep enrolling. One of the most important components of a reward program is enrollment. If you don’t have a sufficient number of your customers enrolled, you will have a hard time getting them to be active enough to provide beneficial returns on your program. Gaining new enrollment from your customers should always be a top priority for any brand. The best way to ensure that your customers are enrolled in your program is to lower the barrier for entry and allow signing up in a way that makes the most sense to them.
For instance, Thorntons Inc. utilizes a multi-channel enrollment method that includes a card, mobile app, and responsive web pages that are easily accessed from any device. By using multiple channels, the company was able to enroll one million customers within the first year, creating the desired incremental sales and contributing to the program’s profitability.
By employing the customer engagement methods that restaurants have practiced and refined over the years convenience stores are poised to generate increased loyalty and spend from their customers. This topic was recently discussed at length during the webinar “What Can Convenience Stores Learn from Restaurants about Guest Engagement”, view this on demand to learn more.