Fuel retailers can increase participation in their loyalty offering by including a few key capabilities and functions.
According to a recent a survey of 1,312 drivers based in the northeastern U.S. from mobile fuel payment solution provider PayByCar, 54% of respondents have signed up for a loyalty program.
However, only half of these respondents always use their fuel loyalty app, representing roughly one-quarter of all respondents. Other respondents who are signed up for one or more fuel loyalty apps app reported only using the apps sometimes, or rarely.
Out of these respondents, almost 49% admitted that they do not consistently redeem their loyalty benefits when purchasing gas.
Among the nearly half of the respondents who have not signed up for a loyalty program, features that would make them more likely to enroll include ease of use (roughly 50%) and secure payment by text messaging (20%).
And one in five respondents who use fuel loyalty apps reported disliking having to find and open loyalty apps on the phone when making in-app purchases, while a similar number said fuel loyalty apps are too slow to load when at the pump.
The survey also indicated that three out of four respondents still use a credit/debit card at the pump, with less than 5% using an e-wallet at the pump. Just 6% percent reported using a loyalty app from fuel brands or convenience stores.
Of the leading gas and convenience store brands mentioned in the survey, no single retailer showed significant dominance in the loyalty rewards marketplace.
“The results point to a desire for easier user experience, hassle-free signups, and the ability to securely pay by text,” said Kevin Condon, CEO and founder of PayByCar. “Brands need to improve the customer experience if they want to see growth in their programs.”
Convenience stores sell most fuel
The 2023 NACS/NielsenIQ Convenience Industry Store Count study indicates that convenience stores sell an estimated 80% of the motor fuels purchased by consumers in the United States. The new store count shows that 118,678 convenience stores — or 79% of all c-stores — sell motor fuels.
In addition, there are “gas station/kiosk” stores that sell fuel but not enough of an in-store product assortment to be considered convenience stores. Overall, there are 13,346 kiosks. The kiosk format continued to decline—down 11.2% the past year and 49.3% over the past six years—as more consumers sought out stores that have robust food and beverage offers.