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Converting Fuel-Only Customers into In-Store Shoppers

Last week at the NACS Show our CRO, Brand Van Otterloo, spoke about a growing Cstore News logo.jpgchallenge among the convenience store industry: getting people from the pump into the store. 

Here’s a quick recap, in case you missed it. You can also check it out on Convenience Store News.

Between 65-75% of convenience store fuel customers never go into the store, challenging retailers to find ways to convert these fuel-only customers into loyal in-store shoppers.

Encouraging customers to go from the pump into the store requires an effective strategy built upon a store’s knowledge of its customers and the factors that affect their purchasing. These factors include:

  • Average income of your customers
  • Fuel price trends
  • Trips your customers are making
  • What your customers are buying when they do enter your store

Before setting a plan in motion, however, Van Otterloo warned, “There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Retailers must develop tactics for their own at-the-pump promo and they must understand their specific audience.”

Van Otterloo suggests retailers turn to the power of habit as a resource to understand their consumers’ habits, and how they might leverage that understanding to reach fuel-only customers and drive them in-store.

To leverage the power of habit, retailers must first understand how habits are formed.

  • Cue. A trigger that tells your brain to go in automatic mode, and which routine to use.
  • Routine. Physical, mental or emotional behavior that follows the cue.
  • Reward. A positive stimulus that tells your brain that the routine works well, and is worth remembering.

Retailers can begin to form habits among their customers by regularly sending at-the-pump push notifications. While Van Otterloo is not generally pro-freebie, he does suggest offering a freebie to entice customers to join the SMS program. After customers have joined, retailers can deliver a BOGO offer, followed by a discount offer. This is an effective strategy to create a habit of heading to the pump to fuel up, getting a notification while at the pump, and then heading into the store to make a purchase and redeem their offer.

Offers reward the customer for going in-store and if these offers are consistently delivered while customers are at the pump, a habit of going in-store to make a purchase is formed.

These campaigns can be amplified through channels used while driving, such as Waze, GasBuddy and OnStar. By promoting offers before customers are at the pump, retailers can extend the in-vehicle experience to an in-store purchase – further solidifying the habit of traveling from the pump into the store.

Ready to convert your fuel-only customers into in-store shoppers? Here's how you can get started. 

  • Set a goal that fits your idea of success in order to convert fuel-only customers 
  • Define a habit you can influence for your fuel customers
  • Execute a consistent and sustained campaign 
  • Measure the results for devising future campaigns 

Head over to Convenience Store News to learn more!

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