Loyalty Programs Lead To More Foot Traffic For Gas Stations, Convenience Stores

Real-time promotions that emphasize store offerings matter too, according to a foot traffic report from GasBuddy and Cuebiq.

The $600 billion convenience store and fuel retailing industry is a competitive space, but the sector is growing overall — and establishments that prioritize expanded in-store offerings and loyalty programs are winning the day, according to GasBuddy and Cuebiq’s Q1 2018 foot traffic report.

According to the report, in the category of brands with over 1000 locations, four of the top five foot traffic “winners” are convenience brands that emphasize their in-store offerings, rather than prices at the pump alone. And Speedway, which captured the top spot in this category, did so following improvements to its fresh food service and placing a stronger emphasis on its loyalty program.

Essentially, when fuel prices are somewhat similar, customers seek out the brands that can offer some form of service — and that reward the actions they take naturally while on the road (buying a coffee, filling the gas tank) with loyalty points or discounts.

However, “more than half (53 percent) of visits to gas stations and convenience stores lasted less than 5 minutes,” says Frank Beard, convenience store and retail trends analyst at GasBuddy. “Knowing how often your customers frequent your stores and tailoring your offerings to take advantage of high traffic points during the week can prompt your customers to spend more time in the store and increase their basket size.”

Promotion Pit-Stop

So, how can marketers build a more compelling experience during a routine stop at the pump — and beyond?

In addition to loyalty programs, real-time offers matter: Through targeted mobile promotions aimed at reaching customers during the “last mile” of their journey, gas stations can turn these visits into repeat business — and drive sales of convenience store products from snacks to coffee.

For example, a combination of rich media and location targeting last holiday season helped RaceTrac generate a 47 percent lift in traffic at the gas station convenience store chain’s 450 outlets across the southern United States.

Besides location-based ads and signage at the pumps, what else influences the amount customers are likely to spend during a gas station stop? It’s restroom quality and customer service, GasBuddy finds — something that was also true in the company’s 2017 foot traffic report.

Stations with below-average customer service ratings experienced 15 percent less visits than the industry average. Conversely, stations with above-average customer service ratings experienced an uplift of nearly 7 percent, showing that today’s consumers actively seek quality retail experiences — even when they’re just making a quick pit-stop.

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.