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ANKENY, Iowa — Casey's General Stores Inc. may only be roughly one and a half years into its mobile initiative, but this has already become a key growth area for the convenience store retailer.
Speaking during the company's fourth-quarter fiscal 2017 earnings call, Casey's President and CEO Terry Handley said the company is encouraged by the gains in its online ordering program and mobile app program.
Since its rollout in January 2016, total downloads of Casey's mobile app have exceeded 850,000 and that number continues to grow, he noted.
In early 2016, Casey's partnered with OpenStore by GasBuddy to launch its mobile app. Using the app, consumers can navigate to their nearest Casey's location, check gas prices, find the latest deals and product offerings, and order pizza from their smartphones, as CSNews Online previously reported. The app was well received by shoppers: the retailer saw 200,000 downloads within the first two months.
The app launch closely followed Casey's implementation of online ordering, which went live in June 2015. According to Handley, the amount of pizza orders completed online has climbed to approximately 14 percent, and the basket ring of an online order continues to be around 20 percent higher compared to telephone orders.
"We are optimistic this contribution will continue to grow as the number of downloads of the mobile app increases," the chief executive said.
Heading into fiscal year 2018, Casey's will be taking further steps to enhance digital engagement with its customers, including the launch of a loyalty program, Handley explained.
"We believe we have an opportunity to widen our customer base and increase revenue as a result," he said, adding that updates on the technology front will be shared throughout the new fiscal year.
The rollout of any digital enhancements would most likely come in the latter part of 2018, according to Chief Financial Officer Bill Walljasper. At this stage, Casey's has reached out to a number of third parties to assist in the development of digital programs.
"We definitely recognize there is a consumer out there who wants to engage in a digital arena and we want to make sure we give them that avenue to engage with us," Walljasper said. "We do believe we have the opportunity to gain incremental customers from an increased awareness in this particular area."
Ankeny-based Casey's General Stores operates 1,978 convenience stores.