Looking for a new tax accountant? How about a local bakery? The search may be a little easier—and more lucrative—thanks to the highly successful loyalty marketing program at Express Convenience Stores.
The 19-store Wisconsin-based chain, which is operated by US Oil Co. Inc. and has units from Oshkosh to Green Bay, launched its GoFor Rewards program in June 2006 in conjunction with Outsite Networks. Since then, consumer response has been tremendous and has helped build the Express brand, said Kelly Dewey, the sales and marketing manager who oversees the program.
“Essentially the purpose was to build our brand and loyalty in the community. We wanted to do something that would keep our guests coming back,” Dewey said. “I receive stacks of comment cards daily with customers telling us that they come to the store specifically for the rewards program.”
Three elements underscore the program’s success, according to Dewey. Foremost is the value it brings to consumers. Second, it represents something completely different. “There are a lot of cookie-cutter programs out there but we strive to do something different than our competition.” Finally, there’s execution. “There’s a lot to these programs and you must have dedication and staff to pull it off,” she said.
The depth of the program is certainly a big reason for its popularity with consumers. “Most loyalty programs have one or two facets to market. Ours is multi-faceted and includes daily, monthly and annual rewards,” Dewey said.
Using a key chain tag, consumers earn 10 points for every gallon of fuel and 20 points for every in-store purchase. They can earn daily rewards and they can also accumulate into monthly rewards. The goal is to reach a higher level each month, thus receiving more valuable benefits. These reset at the end of each month and Rolling Rewards Points reset after someone has been in the program for one year.
Customers also earn points through the stores’ Random Rewards Program and sweepstakes giveaways. The sweepstakes are a $5,000 value each month and anyone who swipes their tag during the month is entered.
Another valuable part of the program has been what Dewey termed “fusion” marketing. "It’s a ‘you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours’ thing," she said. "We do a lot with community partners who donate prizes to our program. In turn, we send our guests to their location by advertising their businesses in our stores and on our Web site (www.expressconvenience.com). It’s a win-win for both parties."
While Dewey is very satisfied with results to date, the company is always looking for a fresh angle. “We’re playing around with using double points for cash to combat some of the credit card fees and we’ve got a few more tricks up our sleeve that will be coming out soon. Basically, we’re always looking for new ways to bring benefits back to our communities,” she said.