Converting Fuel-Only Customers to In-Store Shoppers

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — While fuel margins may be unlikely to increase, retailers that can lure fuel customers into the store stand to see a significant impact on their bottom line.

Convenience Store News Editorial Director Don Longo hosted a webinar earlier this week titled "How to Get Your Customers From the Pump Into the Store" with Paytronix Content Marketing Specialist Kimberly Otocki, who offered advice to retailers on how to turn fuel-only customers into fuel-plus customers.

Today, only about a third of fuel customers head into the store during a routine fuel stop. As Otocki pointed out, an average c-store fuel station gets about 1,000 visits per day, with a whopping 750 of them only purchasing gas. Using an average store spend of about $8, if a c-store can convert just 10 percent of its fuel customers, it’s looking at 75 extra people heading in-store where the higher margin products are — and $600 more in sales.

Otocki highlighted four different approaches a retailer can take:

  • Do nothing and hope for the best;
  • Place signage and video packages at the pump;
  • Blast offers out to everyone; or
  • Segment customers.

Placing a heavy emphasis on segmentation, Otocki explained that it’s about relevance, retention and revenue. Using segmentation and targeting, retailers can leverage customer data to devise different engagement strategies for different customers. This allows retailers to send out relevant offers based on the purchasing patterns of those within a specific segment, whether they be "Bubbas," "Soccer Moms" or "Professionals."

Depending on the segment, a retailer might offer a free dispensed beverage when a customer fills up on gas. Multiple promotions can be advertised in video packages at the pump, from discounts to buy one, get one offers. Whatever the promotion, though, it should serve to drive a customer from the pump into the store using what’s known about their specific preferences and behaviors.  

One of the keys to a successful segmentation strategy, as Otocki pointed out, is having a database of customer purchasing history. This is where loyalty programs come into play. They can provide a full picture of clients and their activity at the pump and in-store, and enable segmentation on just about any criteria a retailer could want.

No matter how big or small a company is, this type of valuable segmentation is possible, assured Otocki.

A replay of "How to Get Your Customers From the Pump Into the Store" is available here.