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    Regional Differences Offer Key to Fuel Rewards Success

    Excentus data examines impact of loyalty programs on consumer behavior.

    DALLAS — American consumers exhibit striking regional differences in how they earn rewards and use loyalty programs to save on the cost of fuel, according to a new report from Excentus called “Road to Rewards: American Shopper Insights.” 

    Brandon Logsdon, president and CEO of Excentus Corp., said the report’s findings “can help retailers, merchants and loyalty program managers improve their customer recruitment, retention, segmentation and targeting efforts, based on where consumers live and how they interact with rewards programs in those regions.”

    According to the report, not only do consumers differ in their rates of program membership, frequency and activity within loyalty programs linked to fuel savings, but they also differ in their reliance on brands, retailers technology and peer influence for earning and tracking their rewards.

    The third in a series examining the impact of loyalty programs and loyalty currencies on consumer behaviors, the report includes region-specific findings, such as:

    • Midwesterners are most active in pursuing fuel savings rewards; 57 percent belong to a loyalty program that enables them to save on fuel, compared with 56 percent membership rates in the West, 52 percent South and 50 percent Northeast. Midwesterners also earn and redeem rewards more actively (32 percent), compared with 31 percent South, 26 percent West and 25 percent Northeast.
    • Northeasterners say they drive more than consumers in other regions (27 percent vs. 23 percent Midwest, 18 percent South and 10 percent West), and they are more likely (15 percent) to join a fuel savings rewards program based on a peer’s recommendation than consumers elsewhere (9 percent).
    • Southerners are more likely to choose brands, grocers and retailers based on the ability to earn fuel savings, and 44 percent say they join loyalty programs to save money any way they can, compared to 41 percent Midwest, 37 percent West and 33 percent Northeast.
    • Westerners (23 percent) are more likely to track their fuel savings rewards from a mobile app (12 to 18 percent in other regions), and more than half (52 percent) join a fuel savings rewards program because it is offered where they already shop.

    "Knowing which behaviors and preferences U.S. consumers share — and which are unique or more relevant to a specific region — can help marketers create, improve and fine-tune new or existing loyalty programs, whether they are partner-driven or standalone," Logsdon added. "Regional data can also help loyalty programs find what works best to turn existing customers into even better customers — more engagement, greater frequency and more revenues."

    Excentus data also showed that consumers embrace the ability to save on gasoline. On average, 65 percent redeem their fuel savings on purchases of 12 to 13 gallons a month, whether prices are $2 or nearly $4 per gallon.

    In the report’s findings — based on an Ipsos eNation-Excentus survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers — fuel savings ranked No. 1 as consumers’ preferred loyalty program incentive, which was higher than cash-back offers, instant discounts, coupons and travel-related points and miles.

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