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    Loyalty Rewarded

    Corner Pantry program exceeds projections by 26 percent.

    KANSAS CITY -- David Tucker understands his convenience store customers. They want a store that responds to their needs, quality service and good prices. In return, they become loyal patrons and tend to encourage others to shop at a particular store as well.

    To reward those loyal customers, Tucker, president of Corner Pantry convenience stores, last month launched the Corner Pantry Rewards Loyalty Program, and after just a month, the program has topped expectations by more than 25 percent.

    Despite the program being in a "soft launch" phase, Tucker said enrolments have exceeded targets by over 26 percent, with almost 3,000 members joining in the first week of the program -- each spending an average of $17.70 over this time.

    The program, which incorporates vendor programs and local businesses, has been extremely supportive of the program and are providing thousands of prizes, Tucker said. Around 800 prizes per day will be given out in October including tickets to the Carowind Amusement Park, Coke products, Beanhead Coffee and tickets to Carolina Panthers football games, plus snack items such as Snickers Bars, cookies and Pepsi products.

    "Vendors are clearly excited about the ability to target their products to our customers and conduct business in an exciting and different format," Tucker explained. "The customer response has been overwhelming, and it is clearly generating repeat business for us even in the first week of operation. Our customers are ecstatic about winning prizes through the Reward Card -- it makes their visit to the store more fun for them."

    Tucker also said that customers were very happy with the earned rewards component of the program, where members accumulate points to earn rewards such as two-liter Coke or Pepsi products and $2 coupons for gas and other convenience store goods. "One customer remarked how nice it was to have a positive, friendly focus in the program, rather than the typical grocery store where they have two sets of prices, one for the card holder and one for the non-cardholder," Tucker said.

    To support the program long term, Corner Pantry will also be implementing an employee incentive scheme designed to reward employees for behavior above and beyond their normal duties. The incentive program focuses on encouraging employees to build good relationships with customers and increase positive customer contacts.

    Tucker considers Corner Pantry's decision to implement a loyalty program to be "sound business decision. It increases our ability to become offensive instead of defensive when big box retailers invade our market using the predatory tactics we've seen in other areas. The team at Visible Results has made the implementation process easy to follow. They have been professional and hard working. It's been a lot of work for our management team, but it's nice to see the positive results of everyone's hard work and commitment so quickly, and most importantly, our customers love it."

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