As a loyalty consultant, I’m discerning about the loyalty programs that I participate with. Some are popular, some are not, but the one I enjoy the most is the Sheetz Loyalty Program.
Core Loyalty Program Benefits
The program itself is simple and refreshing. Being a part of the program gives you gas discounts at the pump, as well as a punch card style discounts in the store. The big driver in all gas convenience stores is pulling people in from the pump to the store, and I believe this program does a good job of driving visitors based on this two sided benefit scheme. But it does not stop there. They also offer product give aways to members and periodic offers on food related items in the MTO department. The program embraces the whole store.
Why Sheetz Loyalty Works
The program is a good balance of benefits for the customer, and data for the business. Yet, I don’t think any other gas station could adopt this program and have quite the same success. Sheetz has two things that add an amazing dynamic to the program. First, they have some of the best branding in the entire space. The signage, buildings, employees, and brand promise are so well aligned that the success of the program is reflective to the overall success of the business. Communication and delivery of the loyalty program is tied into the brand so it resonates very well with the customer. Second, they are realists in developing the program. Gas stations have to be one of the most difficult markets to develop real loyalty. So in light of that, they made the program simple. Use us, get 3 cents off your gallon of gas – everyone, every time. Now if you were not even remotely interested in the inside of the store, the simple proposition at the pump is a big difference. The common gas shopper is usually splitting hairs when it comes to gas prices anyway, so they have made it a simple decision, impacting loyalty. While discounts alone don’t create loyalty, in this case, the only true differentiator is price. Rather than try to market their gas as special, they took the high road and called it what it is. This makes this loyalty program an on-ramp to one of the best convenience stores out there. They lost nothing in pursuit of gaining much more. Well done Sheetz.
Using the card at the pump reminds me of the simplicity of good loyalty programs. As we create programs for our customers, we have to remember that simple works. Also, being willing to give to your customer is how you get from your customer. This program does a great job of both and can be a good case study for commodity-based loyalty programs, and what position you have to take to rise above the rest.