On average about 300 people visit a store’s gas pumps a day, but only 35 percent of those customers step foot in the store. The opportunity to compel store visits is palpable – you are not unlike other marketers who dream of solving this dilemma. We all know that margin, for the most part, lives in the store, not at the pump. Which is why converting fuel customers to frequent in-store patrons is like the brass ring of convenience store marketing.
For years, marketers have tried to solve this challenge. Some send the same ‘buy one coffee get one free’ offer to all customers and then hope it pulls them in. Others have invested in expensive pump displays, point of purchase material and more to convert that customer. There is even a group that has given up trying to convert them – leaving room for competitors to grab their customers instead. There is a better way to motivate store visits.
Use an individual’s purchase data to compel in-store sales.
Think 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.
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 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. […]
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.
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?[…]