As convenience retailers compete for consumers’ loyalty, major players are leveraging shopper data to personalize their messaging, looking to drive deeper connections.

Take, for instance, Casey’s General Stores, the third-largest convenience store chain in the United States.

On a call with analysts Wednesday (June 12) discussing the retailer’s fourth-quarter fiscal 2024 financial results, president and CEO Darren Rebelez noted that loyalty members already visit more often and spend more per visit. The goal going forward is to increase those effects via more targeted communications.

“Where our real opportunity lies is in being able to get more sophisticated in one-to-one marketing,” Rebelez said. “We do some of that today in different cohorts, but we really still have a bit of room to go in terms of being able to actually reach out to an individual with their specific buying patterns and start to influence that purchasing behavior.”

7-Eleven, the world’s largest convenience retailer, has been improving its personalization in the United States, launching an app redesign last year with more targeted messaging. The company’s Gulp Media Network furthers these efforts, marketing these capabilities to advertisers.

“Gulp Media Network targets the right shoppers in the right places, based on the robust purchase and behavioral data for +95MM rewards members,” Gulp’s site said.

At a Shoptalk event about artificial intelligence (AI) personalization in March, Kevin Lewis, chief growth officer at multinational convenience store giant Alimentation Couche-Tard, parent company of Couche-TardCircle K and Ingo, spoke to the importance for retailers of retaining consumer data.

“There’s gonna be a time when someone is going to say, ‘Hey, give us your consumer data and we’re happy to pay for stuff,’” Lewis said, according to Digital Commerce 360. “For those of you who may not be of the size and scale, that’s a tempting trade-off: ‘Help us fund the future by selling the consumer stuff.’ I will tell you, I think that’s a false trade-off.”

Shoppers want better personalized offers from retailers. The PYMNTS Intelligence report “Personalized Offers Are Powerful — but Too Often Off-Base,” created in collaboration with AWS, surveyed more than 2,500 U.S. consumers about their sentiments around the targeted communications they receive from merchants. The study found that 83% of consumers are interested in receiving personalized offers, but only 44% of those who have received them say the offers were very relevant to their needs.

Overall, most consumers want to be rewarded for their loyalty, per “2024 Global Digital Shopping Index: The Rise of the Click-and-Mortar™ Shopper and What It Means for Merchants,” a PYMNTS Intelligence and Visa Acceptance Solutions collaboration. The study’s survey of nearly 14,000 consumers across seven countries revealed that 72% express a desire for omnichannel rewards or loyalty programs.

“As companies scale, and as media becomes much more distributed, it’s important to try and build as deep of a connection with your customers as possible … to make sure they feel embraced by the brand that they love,”  Insomnia Cookies Chief Marketing Officer Tom Carusona said in an interview with PYMNTS as part of the “Better Data, Better Outcomes” series sponsored by Banyan.

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