There’s an app for that

By Team Session AI on March 6, 2020

Study show apps powered by intelligent personalized engagement boost C-store sales

Today, gas stations are promoting mobility in more sense than one—a study from PYMNTS finds that using mobile apps during a fuel-up actually makes customers more likely to continue their shopping within a brick-and-mortar convenience store (C-store).  In fact, by enhancing mobile gas apps with the intelligence they need to create seamless customer experiences, C-stores stand to increase revenues by $22 billion in additional sales. 

Let’s break down an average customer’s journey from the pump to store, and explore how mobile apps can be optimized with an intelligent customer engagement platform to strategically increase sales.

1 | Customer arrival

As a younger generation of drivers gets behind the wheel, they also stop for gas more often than their predecessors—and use mobile apps with more regularity. 68% percent of adults who purchase gas with an app do so about once per week, creating frequent opportunities for gas stations to recognize and cater to their purchasing patterns to encourage in-store sales.

Here’s how it starts: when a customer pulls up to the gas pump, they breach a geofence and activate their mobile app, making the neighboring C-store store aware of the customer’s presence.  This insight offers a plethora of past and real-time data about when and where individual customers are most likely to fuel up. It may paint a picture of a customer who always stops for gas on their way to work, or a customer who usually stops by on Fridays. With additional beacons situated at the C-store’s entrance to capture mobile app Wi-Fi connectivity, an intelligent technology solution can also record store entry events to identify a customer who typically grabs lunch while they’re filling up. When combined with the power of the right customer engagement platform, mobile gas app usage can result in the accumulation of high-value customer data from which important behavioral patterns emerge. 

2 | Intelligent incentive 

Just because a customer is using an app to pay for their gas, however, does not mean they’re guaranteed to continue their experience in-store. The majority of customers need an incentive to venture into the C-store, particularly one that offers a discount—85% of 30 to 40-year-olds said that, to them, receiving discounts is the most important feature of a gas app.

An intelligent customer engagement platform empowers C-stores to strategically incentivize customers via their mobile app, delivering the right offer at just the right moment. Using behavioral data collected from previous fill-ups and C-store sales as well as real-time information about the customer’s current context, the personalization engine can use a mobile app as the channel by which personalized engagement is delivered.  For example, as the customer who tends to fill up his tank before work is waiting for the pump to finish, his app might push him an offer for $1 off breakfast sandwiches; as the customer who stops by on Fridays is at the pump, she might receive a notification from her app reminding her to use expiring loyalty points on supplies for the upcoming weekend snowstorm. Using predictive AI and ML models, intelligent customer engagement solutions successfully drive foot traffic in-store, bringing gas station sites one step closer to a C-store sale.

3 | Seamless sale

Finally, once gas customers’ mobile apps have incentivized them to visit the C-store, the best way for gas stations to encourage a sale is to make it seamless. By catering to the convenience of an effortless customer experience, stores can inspire transactions today—and create loyal customers in the long-term. In fact, 73% of those who buy gas with a mobile app said they are more likely to become repeat customers to the C-store if the app experience is convenient, from start to finish. 

By streamlining data from at-pump and in-store mobile app engagements, Customer Engagement Hubs encourage seamless experiences that keep customers coming back for more. Each time a customer begins a new interaction at the gas station site via their mobile app, the intelligent customer engagement platform can ensure that it reflects their previous interactions, even those performed on other channels such as in-store POS devices. If the early-morning customer begins to routinely purchase coffee for his commute, for example, his app might start offering convenient discounts for the type of coffee he tends to purchase in-store; after a few weeks of grabbing a bit to eat during her fill-up, the Friday afternoon customer might be pushed deals for new meals to try. This extra level of relevant, personalized convenience that carries through from interaction to interaction can make all the difference when it comes to delighting gas station customers. 

Streamline sales, from pump to purchase

Mobile gas apps are undoubtedly a valuable way to optimize and increase the 5.2 million C-store purchases made by gas customers each year. When enhanced with the intelligent capabilities of a Customer Engagement Hub solution, mobile apps can promote in-store sales more strategically, more personally, and more successfully. 

Session AI’s in-session marketing platform is designed to transform momentary mobile app interactions into personalized opportunities to boost sales and satisfaction. 

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