You know those punch cards where a customer could earn their 10th coffee for free? On its surface, that seemed like it was telling the customer “We’re glad you’re buying your coffee here, and here’s a little something to reward your loyalty.” For a long time, those kinds of c-store loyalty programs really worked.
Today, though, customers’ expectations are changing and winning their loyalty takes a lot more than punch card. Customer loyalty statistics are in for 2016, and here are a few that should grab the attention of c-store managers and owners:
- 85% of loyalty program members prefer interacting with their favorite loyalty program online (Collinson Latitude)
- 63% of loyalty program members believe having a wide range of rewards and offers is the most important aspect of a loyalty program (Collinson Latitude)
- 72% of consumers said they would be more likely to sign up for a loyalty program if the process was simplified by text message (3Cinteractive)
- 57% of brands indicate that they will increase loyalty program budgets in 2017 (CrowdTwist)
- 48% of consumers cited SMS as their preferred means of receiving loyalty messages, followed by email (22%) and app notifications (20%) (3Cinteractive)
Think Outside the Loyalty Card
As customers’ attitudes about loyalty change, so should your strategy. If you don’t have the budget to build a custom loyalty app for your store, don’t panic. There are other ways to go beyond the punch card. Many of your customers still want that free cup of coffee, but they also want to be rewarded for something they wouldn’t probably be buying anyway. Give your loyal customers extras and add-ons that aren’t offered to everyone. Maybe that free cup of coffee comes with a discount on your grab-and-go dinner meal. Or maybe every member of your c-store loyalty program gets product offerings reserved just for them. Think outside the punch card. Instead of telling them “We’re glad you’re here, enjoy your free coffee,” build a program that tells them “We’re lucky to have you, and you’re worth more than a free cup of coffee.”
Customer service is the key to building c-store customer loyalty. Click here to check out the Customer Service online training module from Ready Convenience.