ANKENY, Iowa — Casey's General Stores Inc. is moving closer to launching a loyalty program.
A loyalty program is just one part of the retailer's plan for digital engagement, a move CEO and President Terry Handley first addressed in June.
Since then, Casey's has been interviewing consultants with expertise in the loyalty arena to assist the company with development of a program, Handley shared during the company's first-quarter earnings call on Sept. 7.
"We believe this program will give us the opportunity to widen our customer base and significantly increase revenue," he said.
At the same time, Casey's is interviewing consultants to assist the convenience store chain with developing a new price optimization program.
"Currently, many of the products at our stores are priced consistently across our 15-state market area," Handley explained. "We believe we have an opportunity to take advantage of differences and market conditions related to pricing of certain products, allowing us the ability to drive incremental gross profit dollars."
In terms of the digital aspect of consumer engagement, Casey's wants to not only add a loyalty program, but also reach beyond the opportunity and communicate to its customer base through the mobile capability, according to Handley.
"We want to make sure that we're engaging with the consumer more prominently going forward, not just to offer a points program, but to really show them the offerings that we have, to drive opportunities to the store," he noted.
"We think that's an area that continues to develop. It's changing on a regular basis and we don't want to step into this program and find ourselves short," Handley continued. "If we're going to do it right, we're going to do it right the first time."
Calling pricing "static" across its market area, Handley said the retailer does believe there are fluctuation opportunities. He pointed out that Casey's talked about possible price optimization at its investors conference in July, specifically in the prepared food category, and the viability of becoming more localized in pricing.
"We think we need to have that expertise. If you take a look at a particular system or software, that might allow us to do that more effectively and to support our store operations team to make sure that we maximize the revenue potential," Handley said.
The retailer hopes to select consultants on both projects within the next several weeks.
According to the chief executive, Casey's goal is to get started on its digital engagement initiative toward the end of September.
Long term, Handley explained it will probably be an eight- to 10-week process to conduct the business case, get a sense of what the opportunities are, devise the strategy, and set return-on-investment expectations. And that is just phase one.
In phase two, Casey's will start looking at potential platforms. Once a platform is in place, the retailer will begin to test the programs.
"I would certainly hope in fiscal 2019 that we have a plan in place, we have an understanding where we are going, we have a direction, and we have already tested it," Handley said. "I'm going to look to fiscal 2019 as really being the opportunity."
Ankeny-based Casey's currently operates 1,980 convenience stores across 15 states.