By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor.
Loyalty has become a way of life for convenience stores and MAPCO has the technology covered.
The Tennessee-based convenience store chain is moving its My Rewards loyalty program to a more local, personal level for its customers through a partnership with ShareMeister, a social enterprise company that allows consumers to donate to their favorite causes.
“We started thinking about how we could take this loyalty program to the next level by seeking out that emotional connection with consumers,” said Howard Curtis, director of marketing and customer relations for MAPCO Express, a subsidiary of Delek US Holdings Inc., which operates c-stores in Tennessee, Alabama, northern Georgia, Arkansas, Virginia, Kentucky and Mississippi under the MAPCO Express, MAPCO Mart, East Coast, Discount Food Mart, Fast Food and Fuel, Delta Express and Favorite Markets banners.
“Our brand is about serving our neighborhoods and communities, so we wanted something that reached in and supported that overall branding,” Curtis said.
MAPCO also wanted to tie in gamification, including achievement and status, but also included an emotional connection that made the purchase more meaningful to customers.
MAPCO’s My Rewards loyalty program has long been built around points-driven discounts. For example, registered loyalty card customers get three cents off per gallon of gas, earn five points per gallon purchased and 10 points per dollar spent. When MAPCO customers accumulate points on each purchase, they can then redeem those points for an extra discount on fuel or for free merchandise in the store. The card also offers club rewards (including for milk, beverages, snacks and more), plus random rewards and giveaways. But MAPCO recently decided to take things up a notch.
Last Spring, MAPCO began working with ShareMeister to allow customers to leverage their rewards to benefit the nonprofits or charities that mattered to them most.
“ShareMeister is an open-source social giving platform. The uniqueness of ShareMeister is that not only can I register as a customer, but any nonprofit or charity can register into their platform to explain what its needs are,” Curtis said. “So by integrating our loyalty card into the platform, customers can donate their collected points to any non-profit or charity. It can be a global one like the Red Cross or an animal shelter down the street. So that scale and that flexibility is something that was really important.”
MAPCO is currently piloting the program across its footprint and has seen strong consumer adoption, including among local schools and charities.
Customers simply log into the ShareMeister Website and register their rewards card. Once the card is linked, they can designate the amount of points they’d like to move into their ShareMeister account.
“Customers can build up points at ShareMeister before they choose to donate them, allowing them to decide when and how, giving customers a lot of flexibility in how they give,” said Johnathan Hoeflinger, chairman, ShareMeister. “All that giving becomes marketing in a sense because there is an affinity toward MAPCO now that you know how your purchases there can impact the things you care about most.”
Curtis also foresees the program fitting into the chain’s mobile app down the line.
“In the future we’ll have it linked so if I just filled my car with $60 in gas and I get back in my car, my app thanks me for my purchase and lets me know it just donated 75 cents to the local school of my choice,” he said. “I instantly feel that much better about my purchase. We’ve made that emotional link with the customer.”