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NATIONAL REPORT — "It feels nice to be appreciated."
So said one of the respondents in this year's Convenience Store News Realities of the Aisle consumer study, which not only analyzed the differences between frequent convenience store shoppers — those who shop at a c-store on a daily or weekly basis — and shoppers who visit c-stores less than once a week, but also delved into the purchasing behavior of convenience store shoppers enrolled in a c-store loyalty program vs. those not enrolled.
Of the 1,505 consumers who participated in the study, a little more than a third of them (36.5 percent, or 550 respondents) said they are enrolled.
While making shoppers feel appreciated certainly supports the single-minded focus on customer service that many convenience store retailers aspire to, providing customers with this positive feeling also translates into positive effects of the dollars-and-cents variety.
The most compelling difference between c-store loyalty program participants compared to non-participants is seen in the amount spent on a particular product category in a given month. Those enrolled spend a whopping 40.4 percent more on beer/malt beverages per month than those not enrolled — $45.98 vs. $32.75. This category, by far, had the most variation.
Other categories with a sizeable difference in spending among c-store loyalty program participants vs. non-participants are: cold/frozen dispensed beverages (participants spend 37.4 percent more per month); packaged beverages (22.3 percent more); hot dispensed beverages (21.7 percent more); cigarettes (21.3 percent more); and gasoline (20.1 percent more).
Overall, c-store shoppers enrolled in a loyalty program spent 38.7 percent more on their last purchase than c-store shoppers not enrolled — an $18.68 ring, compared to a $13.47 ring.
Considering these differentials, convenience store retailers should also take note that a little more than a third (36.1 percent) of the 1,505 consumers surveyed by CSNews said their usual convenience store does not have a loyalty program, but they would enroll if it did.
For more findings of the 2017 Convenience Store News Realities of the Aisle consumer study, look in the special “Guide to Consumer Insights” section of the February issue.