How Convenience Retailers Can Strengthen Loyalty With Contactless

The challenge is delivering seamless service on each and every touchpoint.
c-store contactless shopping

Road trips have grown in popularity tremendously since the pandemic, with 55 percent of people traveling to a vacation by car last year. And with the rise of COVID-19 cases again, more and more people will opt to hit the road for getaway travel or during the holidays.

This means that for convenience store retailers, traffic will continue to grow both at the pumps and in the store. But how can they ensure that they’re taking advantage and standing out from competitors?

One way to draw consumers in is to ensure a quick, frictionless journey especially since convenience stores are often thought to be a place for a quick pit stop. Contactless experiences are an easy way to meet these desires. This is especially important since contactless adoption is up as a result of the pandemic, with 86 percent of first-time users planning to keep it as a payment option. 

In addition to the safety benefits that contactless interactions provide, convenience retailers are also learning that by integrating all aspects of the shopping journey through one contactless experience, they can increase speed and efficiency while improving loyalty.

Touch-Free Payments to Reduce Wait Times

The customers who are most interested in contactless experiences are looking for efficiency. Long lines are a common deterring factor that keeps a shopper from moving beyond the forecourt and into a store.

Retailers must ensure their convenience store can support multiple payment types across all contactless options including tap-to-pay via credit cards, mobile pay, and even QR codes.

Retailers can also create a stronger contactless experience by integrating all aspects of the shopper’s journey into one system. When a new payment option comes into play, an integrated system can keep it simple for the customer to use and also for the retailer to manage.

Whether they’re paying at the pump, ordering a snack ahead of time, or visiting a quick-service food counter, these payment systems should be linked so that innovations and improvements can be made seamlessly throughout the entire customer journey.  

Loyalty Management Through Mobile Devices

The adoption of mobile devices has made strengthening customer loyalty easier than ever ­even through contactless interactions. Because consumers search and pay for items on their personal devices, retailers can access data around past purchases and preferences.

Equipped with this information, retailers can then provide personalized offers and discounts on relevant items directly to the shopper when it is most effective in their shopping journey.

For example, a customer who regularly purchases coffee might receive a discount to buy a breakfast item, such as a bagel or doughnut. As well, if a customer is only likely to stop for fuel, offering a coupon for a menu item might incentivize them to go in and make a purchase they might not have made otherwise. With this scenario, both the customer and the retailer reap the benefits of continued loyalty.

Messages Post-Purchase to Stay in Touch

An often-overlooked touchpoint is the one that occurs once the shopper has left the store.

To stay top of mind, retailers can send digital receipts and messages via email, SMS or app notification that contain targeted offers or an update on loyalty points to incentivize a customer to return, and potentially increase their basket size.  

Post-purchase marketing was traditionally done through a printed receipt at checkout. But now, customers can have all their information in one place even if they chose an alternative checkout method, such as order ahead or scan-and-go.

And what’s more, retailers can send targeted messages during different times and days of the week based on past behavior to reach customers when they are most receptive.

Provide Every Shopping Journey an Exceptional Experience

Today’s convenience stores require solutions that drive loyalty and the shopper experience, from the pump to the in-store checkout line. With contactless shopping experiences, the challenge is delivering seamless service on each and every touchpoint.

With payments and checkout options that best meet customers’ needs, as well as loyalty and post-purchase messaging, retailers can ensure that regardless of the type of shopping trip the consumer is making, they have the processes in place to provide an exceptional experience. That way, both commuters and road trippers alike can happily get on the road again.   

Michael Jaszczyk is CEO of GK Software USA, where he works to maintain and enhance the company’s global reputation as the supplier of one of the most innovative and complete retail software platforms and suite of services. He draws on an extensive wealth of experience, bothin software development for the retail sector and as a manager at international IT companies.

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Convenience Store News.