Dick: Good afternoon. This is Dick Larkin, and I’m joined with Mallori Baker. Today we’re going to talk about convenience stores. Mallory, you got a great story for us, don’t you?
Mallori: I do. This story actually comes to us from Cambridge, Wisconsin. The business name is Cambridge Gas. They’re actually a BP station. This was a total product that she was really excited about trying. What we did is we decided to go big or go home, for her first initial offer. We decided to do a drawing, a random drawing whenever somebody signed in for her text club to get a little ticket. And pick a ticket every week and one of those people would get a $25 gas card. So really, really awesome deal.
Dick: Very cool.
Mallori: It was so huge that she actually got 200 people to sign up for her list in less than two weeks, which is pretty amazing. And at that point we decided to send out messages. The big thing for Cambridge Gas and for the owner Pammi was actually bringing people into her convenience store more often. She told me that basically she can do gas discounts all day long but she’s going to end up losing money, even if giving $0.10 off per gallon, things like that. That’s not what her biggest ticket is. She wants people to come into her convenience store and buy more food, get more candy, all that stuff. So what we actually decided to do is offer deals that were “come in today, buy gas and come in and show this text and get a free candy bar; or get a free slushy; or a free bag of chips”. Switch it up all the time but it was always a free item. Biggest ticket one that really got people flying through the door was a free cup of coffee. She said she got a lot of people stumbling in the morning.
Dick: That’s cool.
Mallori: Yes. But she said that the best thing about this that she saw, is not only the people would come in to fill up more often, but people were going in more often, and it’s so unnatural for a consumer to just come in and buy a free item and show a text and not get something else. Every single time people would get the item that was free and then they’d buy something else. They’d buy a drink, they’d buy a candy bar, they’d buy a doughnut or something else in the convenience store. So they felt OK about redeeming a free item. This has just been a phenomenal success for her, so much so that she ended up expanding her text program to another location, and she has seen the exact same success there that she did at her original Cambridge location.
Dick: That is really interesting. So let’s just kind of recap some of the things that she did. Really smart. She did not tip-toe into this.
Mallori: No. Not at all.
Dick: But that makes a huge difference. I mean, that excitement level, it’s kind of like rubbing two sticks together. You get warm, warm, and warm. But once you put that intensity and that passion into it, that’s when the fire started and that’s when they really hit it out of the park.
Mallori: That’s exactly right and I think the best thing that she did, like you said, was getting it off to a really good start. She said the best thing about doing it that way was her staff got so excited. Which I think it’s the second thing she did that was so huge, I really didn’t touch on, the fact that every single person that came into her location, her staff was mentioning her text blog and saying “Hey, you just spent $50 filling up your tank. Guess what? If you sign up for a text program, you’ll actually get entered to win free $25 gas card. You got to sign up for this”. Not many people said no to that after they just filled up their big
Dick: It doesn’t cost them anything to join to do that. Also, the other thing that I think she does very well is the gifts that she rewards. Not like Buy 6 bags and get 1 free. No. Come in and get a free item; and that’s awesome.
Mallori: Yes, and you know what? She found out that was really cool is not only was she doing, she did once where you had to fill up or get gas and get a free item but then she did ones where she just said “Come in and get a free item”. And she actually had High Schoolers that would came in that didn’t drive yet, or middle-schoolers that can’t drive yet. That were walking around after school doing what kids today do, and came and they’d come in and get their candy. So she got that business to increase too, people would come in more that way. Not even people that were filling up their car.
Dick: Let me ask you, I mean, did she got taken advantage of, do you know? What did she say about that?
Mallori: No. Like I said, before it’s not natural for a consumer to come up and get a free item and leave, even a 13 year old boy or girl. It’s still not natural for you to get a free item and not give the business anything else. And that’s why she likes doing it. The big thing about Pammi is that she was losing money on something, she wouldn’t continue.
Dick: She’s smart.
Mallori: Yeah. So I can tell you that she definitely makes a lot of money off this program. But like I said, her favorite thing is that it gets people into her convenience store more often, and gets them to buy more items than they ever had before.
Dick: Love it. I love it. That is fantastic, and to see her growing like that. Also, that she’s promoting a high margin item. It’s not like the price of gas. It’s about getting people in the store, getting them buying other things, and when we see that happening, that will happen as well, too. I tried a couple of other suggestions. One when the lottery is very big, sending out a reminder to come in and get a lottery ticket.
Mallori: I know. I know I’d come in for that.
Dick: Yes. Little reminders like that are often that little trigger is just what it takes. Those free items are really, really smart. Also the other thing that we’re finding is that there are certain vendors, when they introduce a new product, they want to put it in and they’ll get excited. So you can get a vendor to sponsor a giveaway too, and that’s a great way to send that out to the team.
Mallori: Oh, definitely. We actually have gas stations that do that currently that will use actual vendor coupons that are exclusive to them, and they’re promoting a brand new product and they’ll send that out for their text club, which is perfect for both parties. It gives the vendor to want to put more product in your store, but it also gets that off your shelves more quickly and it gets the buzz out about it for you too.
Dick: Fantastic. What a great success story.