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06/28/2022

Here’s what convenience/gas customers want

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Convenience/gas customers have specific wants and needs.

A new survey reveals what drives the behavior, preferences, and loyalty for customers visiting convenience/gas stores.

The inaugural Convenience Experience Report from customer arrival platform Bluedot examined consumer preferences for convenience/gas retailers across a variety of topics. Highlights include:

Mobile apps
The top reasons why surveyed consumers download gas or convenience store apps include discounts on gas (86%), earn and track loyalty points (57%), protection against credit card fraud (40%), makes pumping gas faster and easier (39%), and to track gas expenses and receipts (34%).

Once they have downloaded them, respondents keep gas or convenience store apps for reasons including discounts on gas (82%), earning and tracking loyalty points (48%), pumping gas faster and easier (36%), protection against credit card fraud (35%), and exclusive deals or coupons (35%). Four in 10 respondents would prefer to use a store’s branded app over third-party apps.

Top digital screen dislikes include irrelevant ads (47%), trying to sell something (42%), nothing that’s interesting (41%), and too loud (30%).

Pricing/loyalty/payment
Nearly nine in 10 respondents state that price impacts their decision when choosing a gas station. Almost two-thirds (64%) go to the cheapest gas station if it’s close, while 24% go to the cheapest gas station even if it’s out of the way.

Nearly half of respondents (48%) are not willing to pay more than five cents for gas if it means earning loyalty points. One-quarter state they favor loyalty points over price.

[Read more: High gas prices crimp convenience store sales as traffic declines]

Over half (54%) of respondents believe they have to sign up for a credit card to receive gas discounts, while three-quarters (76%) would join a gas loyalty program if it was free to join and provided deals and discounts on gas.

The top reasons respondents would become a loyalty member include offered gas discounts (74%), didn’t have to open a credit card (58%), ability to see how many loyalty points are available (48%), convenience store deals and freebies offers (45%), and easy payment (34%).

Over eight in 10 (83%) respondents are concerned with credit card fraud at the pump. To combat this, 38% examine the card reader, 34% would prefer to store their payment within the gas station's mobile app, 28% use one-tap payments with their credit card, and 23% use Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay.

Why consumers visit convenience stores

  • Six in 10 (59%) respondents consider purchasing a meal from a convenience store when stopping for fast food. 
  • 57% of respondents will leave and skip purchasing if there’s a line in the convenience store. Of those, 16% if there’s one person in line, 30% if there are two people in line, and 54% if there are three or more people in line.
  • Seven in 10 respondents enter the convenience store when they’re pumping gas. Of those, 77% enter sometimes, while 23% enter every time. 

Desired in-store features

  • 62% of respondents would visit a convenience store more often if there was a drive-thru or curbside pickup available. 
  • Six in 10 respondents would be more likely to visit a gas station if its mobile app automatically unlocked the pump and allowed in-app payments. 
  • Three-quarters of respondents believe gas stations should start including charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs). 
  • Of the respondents who are EV owners, three-quarters (74%) would be more likely to go to a fast-charging station if there was a convenience store nearby.
  • On the digital screens on the gas pump, respondents want to see convenience store deals (37%), loyalty points and levels (37%), news and entertainment (30%), featured food items in the store (27%), and the ability to use secure payment already stored in the gas station’s mobile app (25%).

The full Convenience Experience Report can be found here.The survey was conducted via SurveyMonkey May 3-4 among a national sample of 1,570 U.S. adults aged 18 and older.