RECAP: How to Master Convenience Store Online Ordering

Paytronix and Rutter’s discussed the Online Ordering Report and its implications for loyalty programs.

June 28, 2023

Latest findings from the Paytronix Online Ordering Report show convenience stores are leveraging first-party online ordering to boost their loyalty program enrollment. The personalization and streamlined experience that digital loyalty programs provide can provide value and convenience to consumers. Rutter’s vice president of fuels, advertising, and development, Chris Hartman, joined the ‘How to Master Convenience Store Online Ordering’ webinar to discuss the convenience retailer’s online ordering approach and how, when combined with loyalty, it creates a modern guest engagement strategy.

Rutter’s just launched its online ordering solution exclusively to its VIP Rewards members. Donnie Fairbanks, senior loyalty strategist, Paytronix, spoke during the webinar about how online ordering and loyalty intersected and how that relationship has been increasing overall spend and traffic to c-stores.

According to NACS, 75% of convenience shoppers who are loyalty members at a c-store feel valued by the retailer. That kind of emotional connection with a brand drives higher spend and visit frequencies among customers.

As the industry grows, it’s important to stay connected with customers and the changing times. As retail analyst Frank Beard noted, “An eventual decline in fuel demand risks a shakeout of America’s convenience store network in areas where there’s a prevalence of home charging. Retailers will have to become destinations for something else, and ‘smokes and Cokes’ is unlikely to be enough.” Loyalty programs have been growing and now “online ordering has taken hold in the convenience store industry,” according to Ryan DiLello, content specialist, Paytronix.

When creating and launching an online ordering program, Hartman says “it’s not a small task…and there needs to be a thoughtful process behind it,” which is why he and his team developed a marketing and operations plan to ensure success. Between social media, billboards and word of mouth, Rutter’s marketing strategy was robust and intentional. And from an operational standpoint, Hartman understands that all systems must run smoothly and in unison because “the experience that a customer has, especially that first time, is going to be critical to getting repeat customers.”

When discussing the intersection and value of loyalty programs and online ordering, Fairbanks stated, “Any component that brings more value to those loyalty programs is a big win.…Online ordering, it brings so much in terms of that point of connection with consumers on their mobile devices, which they're basically glued to throughout the day.”

Fairbanks cited an 18% increase in order frequency when coupling loyalty and online ordering. The loyalty attachment rate for first-party ordering is 41% and 3% with third-party ordering, and there was a 22% increase in c-store loyalty membership through online ordering. Fairbanks went on to note that dangling the carrot of online ordering through the app has seen an almost 40% increase in traffic which is a solid indicator of the customer’s intentions and commitment to a specific retailer as they are choosing to add an app “on that limited space on their phone.”

Check out more industry insights with Paytronix and Rutter’s in the webinar ‘How to Master Convenience Store Online Ordering’ to learn how you can leverage a loyalty program with online ordering to elevate your brand and offer your customer a one-of-a-kind experience.