ANKENY, Iowa — Casey's General Stores Inc. is upping the ante for its customers and in return, the retailer is seeing its loyalty program membership close in on 3 million.
In the past six months, the convenience store operator introduced several new initiatives at its stores that combine convenience with the digital space.
This spring, Casey's launched a partnership with DoorDash to bring essential items directly to its customers as the COVID-19 pandemic keeps shoppers at home. To date, the delivery service is available at 584 Casey's stores.
"This move has expanded delivery to more guests, increased the number of days and hours that delivery is available, and is reaching new guests that make their dining decisions based on what is available on the DoorDash marketplace," Casey's President and CEO Darren Rebelez said during the company's first-quarter fiscal 2021 earnings call, held Sept. 9.
More recently, Casey's added curbside pickup to its value-added services. After an initial pilot program, the service rolled out networkwide on Aug. 18.
"Our guests can use the Casey's app to order from the store. We have created a convenient 'I'm here button' on their phone to notify the store to bring the order out to their car," Rebelez explained. "The guest feedback from the test was impressive. Guests that used the service felt the experience met or exceeded expectations, enjoyed no or very short wait times, and stated they were likely to use the curbside pickup option again and recommend it to a friend or family member."
According to the chief executive, the company believes curbside service will allow it to grab market share from other pizza chains and restaurants. Representing 20 percent of the retailer's $1.1 billion foodservice business, Casey’s made-from-scratch pizza has earned it a spot among the country’s top five pizza chains.
With the increased focus on guest experience, Casey's is also seeing its loyalty customer count grow, as Rebelez reported that the Casey's Rewards program had 2.7 million members through the end of August. The program debuted in January 2020.
"We experience higher transaction frequency with our rewards members, and it's an effective way to deepen our relationship and understanding of our guests," the CEO added. "This program is already enabling us to engage Casey's guests and influence guest behavior."
While Rebelez noted that it is hard to tell if COVID-19 has had any impact on the growth of its loyalty base, he did say: "It has been really positive that our digital team has been able to continue to grow the rewards membership base even throughout the pandemic."
Moving forward, Casey's plans to continue developing the rewards program by becoming more targeted with its promotional activity. "We won't necessarily have to offer promotions to everybody that walks through the door. We'll be able to target those more toward our most loyal and most frequent guests," he said.
Based in Ankeny, Casey's operates more than 2,200 c-stores in 16 states.