Few loyalty programmes genuinely deliver a WOW factor for both customers and convenience store owners alike, but the team in On The Run in South Australia has managed to do exactly that. Launched in late 2016, the OTR loyalty programme is a concept aligned to the brand’s tagline and overall promise to “make life easy”, resulting in a customer-centric platform that has been described as simply “world class”. The benefits sound deceptively simple but the overall planning, development, integration, testing and training took over eighteen months to complete. And the programme is getting better continually over time, with new features built in to each update.
From its launch, the programme included service benefits such as pre-orders and in-car fuel payments, as well as tangible benefits in the form of generous rewards (both instant and accumulated over time). Most recently, the app-based programme launched an exciting charity element that completes the programme as a truly compelling product. In this article, we discuss these key success factors as consumer proof points for the overall brand proposition – and the elements that ensure this programme is one their customers love.
Pre-Orders – Perfectly Timed
All convenience retailers know that their customers are always in a hurry, and app-based pre-orders were already proving popular for brands in other markets – allowing customers to “Jump the queue” for their coffee and other supermarket purchases. However as On the Run’s customers are typically motorists rather than walk-ins, they needed to consider additional functionality to ensure the temperature of the product was perfect – at the time of collection. Like the clever ways that disruptive technology brands such as Uber have used the smartphone’s location capabilities, On the Run’s app has also been designed to capture the customer’s geo-location at the time of the order, calculate how long it will take them to reach the store, and use that intelligence to operationally schedule the preparation of each drink for exactly the time the customer will arrive in the store. While this detail is one their customers don’t see, it’s a truly innovative approach, ensuring the perfect product experience every time.
Payments Made Simple
For motorists, paying for your fuel from your car is a idea that has significant consumer appeal. It’s the most comfortable environment possible when weather conditions are unpleasant, and more importantly it completely eliminates the time delays/friction inevitably caused by the need for customers to queue and rely on staff to process payments.
Before launching, it is likely that the OTR store owners were concerned that baskets sizes could be affected if customers are less exposed to tempting offers from fresh food displays and merchandising by coming in-store, however all customer trends indicate that customers will engage digitally with the brands that meet their needs, making the app channel even more important to promote. Once they connect, they see the entire range of tempting offers available in-store.
Relevant Rewards for Relevant Behaviour
Loyalty programmes are designed to tap in to our human psychology – harnessing the anticipation created through gradual accumulation for any significant reward. On the Run are building anticipation alongside instant rewards to enjoy the best of both worlds! As our shopping behaviours evolve, digital natives have been trained to expect instant rewards such as ‘likes’ online, so the On The Run programme rewards three specific behaviours – a free drink when you download the app, a free drink when you recommend it to a friend, and a free drink for every FOUR purchases – combining the best of simplicity and generosity to drive both immediate adoption and long term loyalty.
Alongside the transactional rewards in any programme lies an opportunity to engage even further with customers – supporting causes they care about by making charity donations. Yet most programmes miss the opportunity to create this pillar within the structure of their loyalty app as an associated benefit. When announced recently by Executive Chairman Yasser Shahin, On the Run GIVE was described as an “innovative” and “frictionless” way for the company to donate on their customer’s behalf – reflecting how customers now typically pay through mobile. They simply don’t pay cash or carry loose coins to drop in to traditional charity collection points at the till. The app-based approach ensures that the company’s CSR initiatives also serve to motivate app downloads as a way to drive long-term loyalty and customer relationships.
Shahin cleverly highlights that “IF” every customer downloaded the app, their purchases would ensure that company contributions would reach in excess of $4 million, making it easy for customers to feel even better for doing business in the store – at no additional cost to themselves when they shop! On the Run GIVE donates 1 cent for every $2 spent (on product purchases in-store) and even makes donations for every 2 litres of fuel purchased.
There are thirty-six charities initially to benefit, and donations will be made quarterly. Other benefits of the combined CSR/loyalty programme are the ample opportunities for PR, as the brand lets the customers CHOOSE what charities the company donates to, with a commitment to financial summaries for each partner reported on an ongoing basis. In the first week of the project alone, over 2,000 donations were made, signalling a strong start that will certainly grow through the combination of the brand, its people and customers connecting with this powerful idea.
Already a “giant” in the South Australia, the brand is leveraging digital innovation to ensure their platform is relevant and built to sustain and grow the business even more successfully in the years to come. For a great video which showcases the store format and customer experience, check out the video on the Global Convenience Store Focus YouTube channel.
Liquid Barcodes is a leading global loyalty technology company specialized for the convenience store and foodservice industries. Our proprietary cloud-based technology platform allow retailers to create and manage their digital marketing campaigns with a proprietary process we call the “customer connection cycle’ to engage, promote and reward customers activities in real-time across digital and media channels.
How we do it:
We have developed the most advanced loyalty and digital marketing technology platform specifically for convenience store and foodservice retailers globally.
Retailers use our self-service dashboard to create and manage loyalty driven marketing campaigns that increase purchases with their existing customers, as well as effectively target and acquire new customers through partners or paid media channels.
One core component of live loyalty is gamification. We have gamified branding, loyalty and promotions. We believe this approach is essential in order to get customers’ attention and ultimately truly engage them with repeatable actions thereby winning their loyalty.
Check out some of our exciting/proven results here:
Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes and Independent Loyalty Consultant.
With over twenty-five years marketing experience, I specialise in loyalty marketing consulting, managing consumer loyalty propositions, strategy and operations. In addition to working with Liquid Barcodes, my clients have included Telefonica O2, Three Mobile, Electric Ireland, Allied Irish Bank and The Entertainer, as well as Avios – the global points currency for some of the world’s top airlines. I am also a judge for the Loyalty Magazine Awards.