UPDATE: Aug. 2, 2023: Kum & Go launched its new mobile app and rewards program on August 1.
- Kum & Go, the Des Moines, Iowa-based convenience retailer, is revamping and relaunching its mobile app and &Rewards loyalty program later this summer, according to a press release. The retailer currently has 1.75 million loyalty members.
- The updated loyalty program will allow members to earn more points for every purchase, trade in their points for fuel discounts and in-store &Rewards cash, and earn exclusive discounts and offers. For existing members, current rewards will carry over from the old app to the new one and their points balance will double.
- Kum & Go is the latest major c-store chain to update its loyalty app and give members a personalized interface that offers shopping recommendations along with the ability to set a favorite location. The new app also includes enhanced mobile payment and a prepay options for fuel.
Many of the changes are focused on making membership more worthwhile for the consumer and easier to use — both areas that can make or break customer engagement with a loyalty app, a recent survey by PayByCar found.
“Throughout the entirety of this project, we repeatedly asked ourselves how we could level up the Kum & Go app to not just be another app, but one of our customers’ favorite apps,” said Matt Anderson, director of Digital Customer Experience at Kum & Go. “To make it a favorite, we knew we had to create a digital experience rewarding enough for our loyal customers, and that’s exactly what we went and did.”
The ability to redeem points directly for in-store or at-the-pump discounts “was the most requested addition to &Rewards” according to an announcement.
Matt Sargent, director of strategy analytics for Sargent Up North, said expanded rewards is a topic that’s come up frequently in focus groups about loyalty programs that he’s overseen.
“That should go a long way to making people really want to engage,” he said in an interview. “if it was only a set group of special products, and they've expanded it to almost all products … that's a huge upside.”
Under the current version of the loyalty program, customers earn two points per gallon when buying gas and five points per dollar spent. Once they have 250 points, they can turn them in for specific rewards, like a 10-cent fuel discount or a free breakfast sandwich or hot drink.
After the new version goes live at an undisclosed point later this summer, the rate will increase to five points per gallon and 10 points per dollar spent and can be applied starting at 100 points.
Sargent said the lowered threshold could also be helpful for further building membership. “In any loyalty program, you want to make that barrier to entry low,” he said. “And customers typically are not as engaged in the beginning of that rewards lifecycle. … So if you lower that initial entry point, you're likely to engage more people quickly.”
He noted that while there are points to consider when making points faster to use, such as potential fraud or an increasing number of less-engaged members, it’s still usually a good idea.
“The quicker you can get somebody to get engaged in three separate transactions, the greater likelihood that they're going to be a better-engaged customer,” he said. “The shorter that time span can be, the more likely you are to have a lifelong favorable impression from that customer.”
The company said it plans to eventually allow points to be redeemed toward charitable donations or for shoppable rewards like Kum & Go merchandise.
Kum & Go first launched &Rewards in 2016. Since then the company has continued to innovate and improve on the design, adding mobile fuel pay and mobile ordering with curbside pickup in 2020 among other updates.
It’s part of a growing number of such updates from c-stores, though most target just the app or just the loyalty program. Stinker Stores recently began using AI to customize offers to its loyalty members. On the app side, companies like Mapco, Nouria, Casey’s General Stores, Arko Corp. and Parker’s have all updated their interfaces or added more features.
Kum & Go, which recently agreed to merge with Salt Lake City-based Maverik, runs more than 400 stores in 13 states and employs more than 5,000 people.