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Yesway Transforms Its Approach to Loyalty

The convenience retailer takes a 360-degree view of what works, what doesn't and what can be improved.
Danielle Romano
Yesway Rewards logo

FORT WORTH, Texas — As Yesway looks to the future, the convenience store retailer is using technology and automation to better understand and deliver personalized experiences to its guests. This includes the relaunch of the company's customer loyalty program.

The Fort Worth-based chain recently tapped solution provider Stuzo to understand the incremental wallet opportunity it has with its customers on both a one-to-one and wallet-by-wallet basis. Yesway will use the new software solution to activate this data in real time to increase its share of customer wallets. 

[Read more: Yesway Boosts Footprint With New Locations & Acquisition Pact]

Now in its second iteration of the Yesway loyalty program, the platform gives the company the opportunity to take a 360-degree view of what works, what doesn't, what can be improved and, to a certain extent, challenge how Yesway thought about loyalty and rewards as strictly a transactional experience, according to Darrin Samaha, vice president of marketing of Yesway.

"We may have been stuck in this [mindset] of what can we do that's really cool vs. where are the consumers going. How do we meet them there and what are things that we can inherently build as the program that may be a feature, but let's think more strategically about loyalty and rewards?" he posed during an episode of the Tech Transformation Podcast, hosted by Convenience Store News sister publication Consumer Goods Technology.

For Yesway, it starts with identifying what business outcomes it hopes to achieve. Some of these objectives may be fairly obvious in convenience retailing, Samaha said, pointing to driving incremental visits, gallons and baskets. In the bigger picture, the retailer is focused on a better customer journey and experience that provides personalized communication and is frictionless, relevant and in real time.

"I think behind the scenes, with the kind of feature-driven stuff, we're looking at the overall integrations to figure out what can we do that's better than what we do now. How do we make the experience easier? Whether it's electronic age and ID verification, digital couponing, reporting behind the scenes that we can then kick back to our supplier partners to leverage more funding … ." Samaha said. "We're doing all that now. We're going to do it better, and I think more quickly going forward with our new partnerships."

[Read more: Yesway Raises $190M for New Convenience Store Construction]

Automation will play a key role in offering this kind of personalization to Yesway loyalty customers. This next iteration of the loyalty program is imperative in the highly competitive convenience channel, where it takes a differentiated approach to win the share of customers "who can easily go to a different location and fuel up there, and maybe sign up for the rewards program there to get [those] benefits," the marketing executive pointed out.

"I think it's leveraging data to deliver the right offer at the right time in the right channel to the customer, whether it's text, whether it's email, whether it's in-app push [notification], and we're looking at all those things right now to be better and to be more relevant. We've done it before, but I think this is really going to accelerate what we can do and I think really shine a spotlight on the [return on investment] of loyalty," he said.

To listen to Samaha's full chat with CGT, click here.

Fort Worth-based Yesway's c-store portfolio includes more than 430 stores in Texas, New Mexico, South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Wyoming, Oklahoma and Nebraska. It operates primarily under the Yesway and Allsup's brands.

Convenience Store News and CGT are properties of Chicago-based EnsembleIQ.

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