Secrets for Success

Paula Thomas, Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes


As the fourth-largest convenience store and fuel retailer in the United States, Casey’s General Stores is a Fortune 500 company operating over 2,100 convenience stores and gas stations in sixteen states, but perhaps most famously, it has also enjoyed extraordinary success for its food service, becoming the country’s fifth-largest pizza chain selling more than 19 million pizzas each year!

Most recently, following the launch of its new brand positioning, and just three days after launching its new loyalty program Casey’s Rewards, the company recently enjoyed the honour of ringing the opening bell at NASDAQ celebrating over 50 years in business, with six consecutive quarters of growth and announcing plans to grow its store footprint by 3-5% each year for the next three years.

At a time when retail trading is considered challenging given declining fuel margins and sales in some categories, it’s exciting to see such a simple strategy, executed brilliantly. Great food, that’s easy to buy online or offline, and now supported by a long-term investment in customer relationships, it’s no wonder that Casey’s has become one of the world’s 20 fastest growing retailers. As always, our article will focus on what we like about their approach to recognising and rewarding their customers, giving you the latest ideas and insights on how market leading brands are driving profitable growth.

Casey’s launched its first ever rewards program in January 2020. 

Casey’s Rewards

While loyalty programs traditionally track and reward customers for their spend OR purchase frequency, Casey’s Rewards has chosen a slightly unusual approach and combined both, offering its customers both points AND free products depending on their purchase volume specifically on pizza. It’s a flexible strategy that allows the brand to be generous where margins allow, retaining an existing reward proposition, while also rewarding spend on gas and convenience store products.

Here are the rewards that Casey’s customers earn:

  1. Convenience store purchases earn 10 points for every $1 spent – whether in-store, by phone or online.
  2. For every gallon of gas at the pump, members earn 5 points.
  3. Casey’s has operated a “buy ten, get one free” reward using pizza box tops for many years. With the launch of Casey’s Rewards as a digital programme, members continue to get their 11th large pizza free, – but now only when these purchases are tracked in digital rather than physical form.

It’s a formula that builds on the brand’s unique success offering pizza as a unique differentiator, proving a winning formula alongside its convenience store and gas station offering.

As soon as customers earn 250 points, they can redeem them in a variety of ways, again choosing a flexible model across key business areas to address customer needs:

  1. The simplest reward for customers is to convert their points into “Casey’s Cash”, which can be used to pay for items inside the store. The basic reward ratio is 4%, so a $25 spend returns a $2 cash voucher.
  2. Rewards points can be used for discounts on fuel, with 250 points earning a 5 cent per gallon discount.
  3. Finally, the program offers members the option for customers to turn their points into a donation to a school of their choice. This option is being used to lead the program communications, it supports the overall “here for good” brand promise, and is being supplemented by a bonus $50,000 charity contribution from the firm directly at the program launch.

Casey’s Rewards is designed as a proof-point for the overall brand promise – “here for good”

Operational Insights

From an operational perspective, Casey’s Rewards is an app-based program which will ensure the tracking of spend and pizzas remains clear and simple. Customers can also use their phone number at the till to identify themselves, an increasingly important mechanic used to take the inconvenience out of remembering to present a loyalty card or app when paying for products.


While we regularly discuss the importance of consistency in loyalty programme design, it’s also important to ensure the loyalty brand and proposition is designed from a clear understanding of the brand’s values, and customer demographics. Having launched the “here for good” tagline, the company cleverly and clearly understood how their loyalty strategy could become a “proof point” for the brand.

With corporate trust at an all time low, and now an essential pre-requisite for customer loyalty, this program allowing customers the option to choose whether to reward themselves or their local schools makes prefect sense. It follows in some ways in the footsteps of an iconic programme in South Africa called “My School, My Village, My Planet” which has been operating for over twenty years across multiple retail partners in the country, and has now donated over $35 million back to local communities from over 12 million supporters. While many loyalty programmes are still focused on discounts, cash back and transactional rewards, it’s inspiring to see some forward-thinking brands like this focus on a more emotionally-led approach. As our friends in the “Wise Marketer” mentioned in their “top 5 five trends in loyalty in 2020“, “Research by Gallup has demonstrated that consumers with strong emotional connections to retailers will visit their stores 32% more often and spend 46% more money than those without emotional bonds.”

What better way to start 2020 than to ensure your loyalty program engages the hearts as well as the minds of your customers.

About Us:

Liquid Barcodes is a leading global loyalty and digital marketing 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:

About Me:

Paula Thomas

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. 



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