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Communicating Value Through Subscription Services

C-store retailers gain repeat customers as consumers continue to feel the inflation pinch.
A subscribe button on a mobile phone

At the recent McLane Co. Inc. national trade show, McLane Engage, RBC analyst Nik Modi talked about the state of the convenience store customer. One thing he stressed is that, recession or no recession, c-store shoppers are feeling the effects of inflation and in search of value.

That value can come in many forms: promotions, different package sizes or buy now, pay later plans. The key is communicating that value to the consumer. For example, why should a customer buy one can of soda for $2 or more when they can buy a 12-pack of the same soda for $8.99?

OK, my numbers may be off, but you get the picture. There is real value in buying 12 cans rather than one. This got me thinking about another value play for both the consumer and the retailer: subscription services. What started as a value-added service for media and then migrated to restaurants is now gaining popularity in the convenience channel. It makes sense considering the importance c-store operators are placing on their foodservice programs to increase foot traffic and sales.

For example, in early March, Parker's introduced Chewy's Drink Club, a dispensed beverage subscription program that is available to Parker's Rewards members for $6.99 per month. Subscribers can redeem one large fountain drink per day at any Parker's or Parker's Kitchen store across the retailer's operating footprint. Less than $7 for potentially 30 large fountain drinks. And of course, the customer isn’t likely to stop there. Maybe they pick up a bag of chips or a made-to-order sandwich or both.

[Read more: Subscription Services Emerge as Next Evolution of Loyalty]

Subscriptions are a win-win. Customers get discounts on everything from food to beverages to car washes and c-store retailers gain loyal, repeat customers. My crystal ball shows more retailers getting into the subscription game.

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