Loyalty spelled out in blocks

Seven Ways to Attract Different Customers to Your Loyalty Program

Melissa Kress
Senior News Editor
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Seven methods, including text-to-join and a mobile app, attract different customers.
There are seven methods, including text-to-join and a mobile app, to attract different customers to your loyalty program.

NEWARK, N.J. — Over the past 12 months, many convenience store retailers have either launched, revamped or enhanced their loyalty programs.

Some are finding unbelievable success: Kwik Trip Inc.'s Kwik Rewards program hit one million members within just three months of its launch. Murphy USA Inc. also saw enrollment approach the one-million mark within the first two months of piloting its Murphy Drive Rewards in 200 convenience stores this past summer.

By now, most — if not all — c-store operators know they need a loyalty program. It is so important because such programs act as a gatekeeper for retailers to get to know their customers, according to Kimberly Otocki, marketing specialist at Paytronix, a provider of loyalty programs and customer engagement solutions for restaurants, retail chains and convenience stores.

"Do you know who your customers are? Can you identify them? Can you market to them?" she asked during the recent Convenience Store News/Paytronix webinar titled "How to Enroll More Customers into Your Loyalty Program."

Otocki offered the following tips for attracting customers into a program:

  • Signage at the Pump. Various different media at the pump, like videos and interactive displays, can reach those customers who are filling up and then driving off the lot.
  • Play Up the Value of Your Program. Retailers need to make sure customers understand what is in it for them. To that end, the program needs to be easy to explain, have a clear value proposition, offer something for everyone, be attractive to fuel-only customers, and offer a welcome reward.
  • Develop Brand Ambassadors. Ambassadors are the front line to get customers to sign up for a loyalty program. They can be store associates or loyalty customers spreading the word.

Just as important as marketing your loyalty program to customers is making it convenient for them to enroll, according to Otocki.

"We need to open it up to every method possible so that we're reaching all these different customers no matter what platform they are," she explained.

As she pointed out, customers access loyalty programs in many different ways. "Odds are, in your store, there's a handful of customers who want to do SMS, but a handful that want to be able to use that physical card as well. And maybe some are utilizing the mobile wallet or your mobile app, and even social," said Otocki.

"There are many different ways customers want to interact with your brand and that means there are a lot of different ways they want to enroll with your brand," she added.

The seven key methods for enrollment she outlined are:

  1. Text to join. Customers can join by texting their email.
  2. Text to join via POS. Cashiers enter the customer's cell phone number through the point of service.
  3. A physical card. 28 percent of U.S. adults still do not have a smartphone.
  4. Mobile app. A retailer's best guest is likely the one who will download and utilize a mobile app.
  5. NFC tap and NFC with payment. It is the ultimate convenience: one simple tap at the point-of-sale system.
  6. Reverse enrolling. Call attention to a loyalty program through your website.
  7. Kiosk enrollment. Kiosks are everywhere in the convenience channel and by displaying the loyalty enrollment page, customers have a one-stop shop to enroll.

As c-store retailers are enrolling customers, they also should be thinking about what comes next. This means promotions to keep members engaged and active. For example, communicate timely messages, notify members of expiring rewards, send out birthday promotions, and offer pump-to-store promotions, Otocki suggested.

An on-demand replay of the Paytronix-sponsored webinar, "How to Enroll More Customers into Your Loyalty Program," is available here.