Brandon Logsdon, PDI Software
Convenience store and fuel retail industry leaders are continuously innovating how to make shopping easier and frictionless. Within the last two years alone, we’ve seen interactive gas pumps and scan-and-go technology that lets consumers accelerate their payment and checkout process. These types of innovations generate a lot of coverage, but there’s other groundbreaking technology within the c-store sector that deserves more attention for the essential way it’s changing retailers’ marketing and loyalty operations.
Let’s start with the integration of customer loyalty and marketing solutions, which helps operators increase efficiency, generate ROI faster from effective marketing initiatives, and grow their overall business. This approach takes advantage of powerful cloud technology that connects an operator’s point-of-sale system with customer loyalty and marketing communications to drive both program and business growth at scale. If you’re a retailer and you’ve never considered using cloud technology, you should get familiar with it fast. If you’re among those who are already using cloud solutions for your marketing, there are ways to optimize for better results.
3 Ways to Leverage Cloud Technology for Your Marketing Needs
The most fundamental way that a comprehensive customer loyalty and marketing solution can change your operations is through seamless automation. There’s an abundance of software solutions in the market, but a system specifically designed for the unique needs of c-store and fuel retailers should bring together ERP, pricing, loyalty and overall customer marketing features. That’s just for starters. A robust platform should provide you with the following capabilities that will help you reward your existing loyalty program members, attract new customers and members and increase both their store visits and spending.
#1 Optimizing Customer Data: The most important component of a customer marketing strategy that drives revenue, maintains margins and encourages repeat customers is data. Fuel and convenience retailers have an abundance of data at their disposal – information about how and when customers purchase fuel, in-store sales figures, and historical data that indicates fluctuations in cost and demand. Our latest c-store shopper report shows that 72 percent of c-stores collect customer information, which is a great start. However, most retailers consider data sets individually and they have difficulty utilizing the data.
What if operators could collect and use data more effectively to gain insights into how and why their customers interact with their stores or brand? With better data and customer insights, fuel and convenience retailers can send personalized messaging and communications, with offers and rewards that are likely to drive greater repeat traffic and profitable interactions with customers.
#2 Understanding Customers Better: Your loyalty program offers a window into the shopping behaviors and preferences of your best customers. It allows you to track member interactions across all areas of the business – at the pump, in the store, online or interacting with a mobile app. Most importantly, a loyalty program allows you to associate these activities with an individual customer, including what items they typically buy, if they visit the store after they’ve fueled up, and how much they spend. Once you’re able understand them better, you can create personalized communications and meet their shopping preferences and expectations more effectively.
Imagine if you can use these insights to help understand customers in general, including nonmembers? You could be holding the key to recruiting more customers and driving more profitable growth.
#3 Connected Data for More Effective Marketing: The many benefits of loyalty programs can be realized if you have the optimal technology and expertise to combine data from across your operations with your loyalty program data. Connecting data from multiple sources, analyzing that data in real time, automating customer marketing campaigns and managing offers and settlement will allow you to spend more time on activities that drive business value and less time on administration and manual marketing processes.
There’s no shortage of marketing and loyalty solutions in the market. It’s a question of picking the right solution that works best for your convenience store or fuel retailing operations, and the right technology partner that can give you a competitive edge through their industry knowhow and effective support. A unified loyalty and marketing platform designed specifically for your industry will help you wear different hats with ease and confidence as a business operator, marketer, problem solver and a driving force for your organization’s long-term success.
Brandon Logsdon, SVP of Marketing Cloud Solutions for PDI Software, oversees the company’s loyalty division, in addition to its MarketLink and data monetization services. PDI Marketing Cloud Solutions is a complete end-to-end solution that combines the secure and scalable PDI Marketing Cloud Platform with the industry knowledge and first-hand experience of the PDI Marketing Solutions Practice. To learn more about Brandon or how PDI Marketing Cloud Solutions can help your convenience retail operation, visit the PDI Marketing Cloud Solutions website.