PDI, Atlanta, released a report that provides insights into c-store shoppers’ behaviors toward loyalty programs, and recommends actionable strategies on how c-stores can improve their programs to attract new members and increase foot traffic.

The “The C-Store Shopper Report: How to Fuel Customer Loyalty” report, conducted by Researchscape, Bradenton, Fla., is based on a survey of 2,221 consumers and 239 U.S. retailers.

Study results confirmed the popularity of convenience stores and their loyalty programs alike. The vast majority of U.S. adult consumers (89%) have visited a c-store in the last six months. Meanwhile, loyalty program membership is expanding, with 42.5% of consumers saying they belong to a c-store loyalty program, up 6% from 2017.

“Loyalty programs are extremely popular because they work. The good news is most c-stores have a program in place. The not-so-good news is that they haven’t maximized their programs to increase foot traffic and encourage higher spending,” says Brandon Logsdon, senior vice president, marketing cloud solutions. “Our latest report provides first-hand data that c-store owners, operators and marketers can use right away to understand their customers better and improve the performance and outcomes of their loyalty programs.”

The report provides unique insights into how c-store customers and operators view loyalty programs. It covers the following areas:

  • A profile of the average loyalty member, including age, education level and income.
  • Why shoppers visit convenience stores and why they choose one c-store brand over another.
  • Why shoppers join loyalty programs.
  • What c-store operators consider their most serious challenges.
  • The top priorities for c-store operators in relation to their loyalty programs.

While the study paints a picture of an overcrowded market and fierce competition for customer loyalty, it also presents many opportunities. C-store operators identified “decreasing store visits” and “attracting new customers” as two of their biggest concerns. Their loyalty programs can help address both. However, they must first revitalize their programs to promote customer awareness, increase personalized messaging and take advantage of what technology can offer.

“Having a loyalty program is not enough in today’s competitive market. What’s crucial is the program’s ability to keep existing customers returning and spending more with every visit and convert regular consumers into loyal members,” says Logsdon.