The fuel loyalty schemes racing to fill tanks and wallets

In the UK, the average driver will spend over £50,000 on fuel in their lifetime (The Independent). With petrol prices soaring to an 8-year high, drivers are saving money by travelling further than their nearest station to find cheaper fuel.

However, over 50% of customers are willing to spend more with a company that has a great loyalty program, even if cheaper options exist (Accenture). Drivers are more likely to stay loyal to a scheme that knows how to maximize their rewards at the pump. So how do fuel companies keep them coming back for more?

How does a fuel rewards program work?

Most fuel loyalty programs operate a points system. It’s a simple, transaction-based scheme that takes a few pennies off per litre of fuel bought. But companies such as BP are now rewarding different types of customer interaction, so drivers can receive perks without even filling their tank. Read on to find out the ways these companies keep customers loyal and which tactics you can apply to your business.

REGISTERING A CARD

Companies that give out points simply for signing up to a loyalty programme offer customers a head-start to collecting rewards. BPMe gives drivers 500 points when they sign up – that’s worth £2.50. The Texaco app will start drivers off with 200 points, but they will need at least 300 to access any rewards. Drivers who fill up at Esso won’t get any perks for signing up, but the rewards flood in if they register their Sainsburys nectar card in the app (more on that below). Giving your customers a head-start in collecting rewards is a great way to motivate them to engage with your program. 

The Shell app, on the other hand, is based on visits rather than points. So drivers don’t get rewarded for registering, but they will benefit from choosing Shell each time they need fuel.  For example, customers can unlock a ‘fuel reward’ after the first 10 visits to a Shell station. This could be anything from £ off their next tank refill or discounts on their next service-stop snacks. A visits-based model essentially rewards both big and small spenders equally for each visit. While this encourages customers to come and see you more often, it doesn’t let you reward your biggest spenders. This is a serious mistake that might push your most valuable customers out the door and to the competition…

REFERRALS

BPme will also give out points if customers “refer a friend” – giving both parties 250 points just for signing up. This method is powerful – referred customers have a 16% higher lifetime value than non-referred customers. It’s also a cost-effective way of marketing your brand without having to do much work – your loyal customers essentially do it for you.  You can have a look at White Label Loyalty’s referral module here to find out more about how this will work for your business.

IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT MAKE THE JOURNEY BETTER

We’ve all been on long drives where a drink break or mid-journey car wash re-energizes you. Customer expectations are not complicated. They’ll notice and appreciate the little perks you offer them along the way. With BPme, drivers can access a ‘coffee club’ subscription to get a fresh hot drink every month if they show their loyalty card or app.  The Shell loyalty app gives discounts on Costa Express drinks and 10% off car washes. Occasionally, the apps offer a ‘surprise’ free reward, “just to say thanks for being awesome” – a nice reminder to let customers know they are appreciated. 

PERSONALISATION

A crucial way to gain customer loyalty depends on your insight into who they are, what they do, and what they like. The Shell app delivers personalized rewards based on the products that drivers purchase in stores. So if you know their favourite thing to eat, you can offer a discount on their next chicken sandwich to give them even more reason to stop, fill up and buy from your station.

REWARDING LOYALTY

Many companies are so focused on gaining new customers that they forget to look after their current ones. The key to making loyal customers feel special is to give them exclusive offers for being part of your brand. Shell offers 3% off all fuel purchases for their Home Energy customers – more reasons to stay loyal to Shell on the road and in the home.

INTEGRATION

The Esso app can integrate with Sainsbury’s Nectar Card to collect points and bonus offers. Customers can collect and spend Nectar points with hundreds of brands such as eBay and Argos. This is a seamless way of getting customers to stop at an Esso station since many of them will already have signed up to Nectar for their weekly grocery shops. Less work for the customer = more purchases with you.

SHOP OR DONATE

Texaco’s app will offer 1 point for every litre of fuel purchased. Collect 500 points to get vouchers off via love2shop. This means drivers have to spend over £700 before they can reap the rewards – not great for customers who don’t have a local Texaco station. This loyalty program also allows customers to give their reward as a charitable donation, which Texaco will double. This purpose-driven loyalty mechanism can be a real win for customers who value ethical actions and want to make a difference. Read more here about ways to give back with loyalty programs.

Supermarket fuel loyalty cards

The supermarket fuel stations such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Morrisons operate fuel rewards programs as part of their all-encompassing loyalty card schemes. 

Sainsbury’s Nectar Card

Customers get 1 point for every £1 they spend in-store or online, as well as 1 point for every litre of fuel purchased at petrol stations. As mentioned above, Sainsbury’s Nectar has also teamed up with Esso, so customers can get Nectar points even if they’re not buying directly from Sainsbury’s petrol stations – more reasons for loyal Nectar users to drive those extra miles to find an Esso. 

No Perks for filling up at Asda…

Surprisingly, Asda doesn’t offer a loyalty program for fuel. They do offer a supermarket credit card which gives cashback on purchases, but these vouchers cannot be redeemed against any petrol or diesel – so there’s little incentive for drivers to fill up at Asda unless their fuel light has come on… 

WHAT ELSE CAN FUEL LOYALTY PROGRAMS DO TO KEEP DRIVERS LOYAL?

Loyalty in fuel retail is more than just collecting points…

What about drivers who have filled up their tank but misplaced their loyalty cards? Or perhaps their phone is dead, their app isn’t working or they’re simply too tired from the long journey that they forget which loyalty programs they’re even signed up to? 

White Label Loyalty has a card-linked loyalty system, which allows customers to turn any bank card into a loyalty card and collect points automatically when they make a purchase. This transforms a typical loyalty scheme into an effortless user journey for the customers, and it also allows businesses to collect transactional data without having to integrate with ePOS. Small but impactful technologies like these are what make companies stand out. 

So, which fuel rewards program will come out on top? Companies need to think about how to engage drivers. At White Label Loyalty, we take a data-driven approach to design targeted, personalised rewards. 

If you have an event-based loyalty program design, you can reward any customer action. That means you can create segments of customers based on what actions they have taken, what their demographics are, or which products they buy. Take this insight & turn it into smart data-driven campaigns. 

If you want to know more about how our software can help you build a winning loyalty scheme, no matter what industry you’re in, get in touch with us!

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