by Erin Rigik, associate editor.
Flash Foods, with 172 locations in Georgia and Florida, has launched its first-ever mobile app that includes a mobile payment option for customers.
The app offers a number of features, including a store locator complete with fuel prices for each location, directions to the store of their choice, discounts and coupons, the option to scan and add their loyalty card to the app, and payment through GOBLUE Mobile Pay.
The app became available to customers last week. Flash Foods has long offered customers the chance to pay with a GOBLUE card, which offers an ACH payment that saves Flash Foods interchange and therefore gives customers cents off at the pump. But now, customers can use the GOBLUE payment right from their phone. They simply register their email address and to get a pin. “From then on they just login with their pin—right in the app—and get a 7 digit code, and they have 10 minutes to use that code to pump and pay for gas at any of our locations. Once they add the code the pump turns right on just as if they had swiped their card,” noted Jenny Bullard, CIO, The Jones Co./Flash Foods. Customers can also enter the code at the pin pad during checkout inside the store to mobile pay for their cigarettes, groceries, etc.
Best of all, adding this technology didn’t require Flash Foods to make any equipment changes, upgrades or retrofits. Because the ACH payment helps Flash Foods bypass interchange fees, customers can watch the pumps roll back 5-10 cents per gallon depending on location.
“The rollout of our app is exciting because we feel we’re on the crest of something new. As an industry in the early 90s when we first started scanning in the c-store industry, we began getting all this data, and we had to understand what we were going to do with this information. Eventually we drilled down into the data to know what our customers were buying. Now that we’re transitioning toward mobile payment, we’re going to know even more about those customers through mobility, and we’ll be able to target more specific demographics,” Bullard noted.
As Flash Foods enters the world of mobile payments, the company is aiming to attract more members from the Millennial generation. Bullard noted 60% of customers in its GOBLUE card program are 40 -60 years old. “We want to target that younger demographic to get them onboard—by responding to their demand for mobile payment. By giving them this new technology using their phone we hope to convert them to our GOBLUE program and away from credit and debit cards when they are at our stores,” Bullard said.
So far the foray into mobile payment has been cost effective for Flash Foods. “We are sort of wading in there lightly to see what happens, knowing there will have to be changes and additional upgrades down the line to keep the app new,” she said.
Bullard advises other retailers thinking about entering the mobile space to take the leap. “I think you need to jump in lightly, but go ahead and start down that road because if you don’t you’re going to be left behind.”