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WAYCROSS, Ga. -- Flash Foods Inc. began researching the possibility of launching a mobile app years ago, but the idea finally became a reality in October and just six months later, more than 33,000 people had downloaded the Flash Foods mobile app.
The chain, which operates 172 Flash Foods convenience stores in Georgia and north Florida, designed the app to include a store locator, fuel pricing, mobile coupons, and mobile payments for its GoBlue loyalty payment card holders both at the pump and in-store.
“The app is centered around our loyalty program, Rewards in a Flash, and our GoBlue ACH payment card,” Jeannie Amerson, loyalty and advertising manager, told CSNews Online. “App users can find current gas prices for each of our locations, while also accessing the store’s address and driving directions. We are able to offer our customers customized promotions that specifically reach our loyalty customer base and encourage customers to shop inside our stores.”
National Payment Card Association is the ACH payment processor for the GoBlue card and worked with Flash Foods' point-of-sale vendor Pinnacle Corp. to interface with the retailer's POS so that the app could accept payments in-store and at the pump.
Meanwhile, Flash Foods worked with Zingon to create the actual app from the ground up, tailoring it to the chain’s needs and integrating it with Google Analytics to allow for customized reports. The retailer can pull reports on demographic information to see who's in the app at any given time, such as five people in Atlanta and three in Waycross -- and it’s all real-time.
Flash Foods can also measure how many customers downloaded the app, the type of phone used, how often customers are opening the app, the number of page views and how long they stay each time, Amerson explained.
As of April, 33,000 people had downloaded the Flash Foods app, with iPhone being the dominant platform. The most used app feature is fuel pricing. The chain also has 65,000 existing GoBlue cardholders that now have the ability to use the app for payment.
“The GoBlue mobile payment is only one aspect of the app. Customers can still download the app for gas prices and scan in their existing Rewards in a Flash loyalty card to receive instant discounts, build points and check their account stats,” Amerson noted. “They can also take advantage of in-app coupons.”
Its loyalty program is a huge focus for the company and everything in the app ties back to it in some form. The app also allows the company to market the Flash Foods brand to customers outside of the store through the in-app coupons launched earlier this year.
“Our vendors have been very eager to support these new ways to reach customers, including the option of customized banner ads within the app that can take customers directly to the vendor’s website,” Amerson said. “We have some really exciting opportunities we will be introducing to our customers through the app throughout the remainder of the year.”
Other new features launched this year include the ability to refer a friend to a promotion via email or Facebook, and the ability for customers to rate the app.
In the future, the chain will continue to offer promotions and coupons through the app, and the goal is to take them down to a level whereby specific customers can be targeted, as well as coupons specific to a Flash Foods store.
“We have been overwhelmed by the positive comments we have received from customers, and they can give feedback right through the app,” said Amerson.
The Flash Foods mobile app is the recipient of this year's Convenience Store News Top Tech Implementation Award.