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If you pull into a gas station, chances are you’re going to see almost every customer looking down at their mobile device while they wait for their tank to fill up.
Our society has become highly dependent on our smartphones, with an average 4.7 hours spent staring at the screen each day, according to Informate Mobile Intelligence. This creates a unique opportunity for convenience stores to strategically use mobile marketing to engage with consumers and increase sales beyond the pump.
With so many options to choose from, consider implementing these four tools to build a loyal shopper base and regular in-store customers:
1. Mobile Apps
Whether using a branded or universal app, there are endless possibilities for implementing a mobile app strategy. For example, create a digital coupon book in the app that allows customers to search for specific products, such as cleaning supplies or basic household goods. Once downloaded, patrons can “flip through” the pages of regularly updated discounts that are applicable. This will encourage customers to consider the convenience store as their “go-to” for basic necessities.
2. Text Codes
If you prefer not to develop or use a mobile app, text codes can be a great option as well. Not only are they inexpensive, but they also have a much higher adoption rate. By providing customers with a keyword to text in to a specific shortcode number, such as “Text ‘PIZZA’ to #55555 for half off all frozen pizzas,” they can instantly receive discounts on items.
Create awareness with signs at the gas pumps to garner guests’ attention and entice them to opt-in to the text message campaign. This encourages impulse buys and further increases store traffic, while also providing customers with useful information each time they stop to fill their tanks.
Beacons are portable devices that rely on a Bluetooth connection to transmit information directly to a consumer’s smartphone via a software management system. Once paired, the smartphone listens for beacon signals and instantly receives the respective marketing message. Because the software management system can provide an abundant amount of information, stores can creatively implement programs beyond simple discounts and promotions.
For example, if a competing gas station is known for its unsanitary establishment, you can send alerts touting, “Clean restrooms here! Checked on the hour, every hour” to let drivers know of the quality you provide, thus increasing in-store interactions and potential purchases.
4. Social Media
Finally, social media is essential for any convenience store’s marketing plan. By engaging consumers via social media channels, stores can build a positive brand reputation and build rapport with followers.
While it is important to share store information and special offers, think beyond promotional content. Consider a “Tuesday Trivia” that discusses fun facts, such as the average amount of time consumers spend filling their tanks each month. Additionally, engage fans with useful advice, like the top five tips for a successful road trip.
To stay top of mind for shopping needs and increase sales, convenience stores must begin marketing in a way that moves customers beyond the pump. To differentiate your store from competitors, consider mobile tactics that will bring more guests in-store and build a loyal shopper base.
Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Convenience Store News.