Why Today's Grocery & Convenience Stores Should Be Embracing Mobile to Drive Sales

September 26, 2019 Vibes Marketing

It’s exciting to see more and more industries leveraging mobile marketing to engage their audiences. We’ve seen this with restaurants, retailers, travel companies, and others. Two industries Vibes has seen more mobile movement in recently is for both grocery and convenience stores. It’s rapidly proving to be an effective means of connecting to today’s “always-on” consumer and driving engagement for loyalty programs.

Why Should Grocery and Convenience Stores Consider Mobile?

Consumers are consuming media on mobile devices in unprecedented amounts. In 2013, they spent 88 minutes a day on their devices, but in 2018, that jumped up to 203 minutes a day.

As grocery brands offer more mobile apps and tools like coupons, interactive flyers, and loyalty program access, consumers are shifting their grocery shopping planning away from the desktop and paper coupons. As a result, grocery brands can better track customers’ behavior in the store and offer personalized coupons to boost sales.

The value is there for convenience stores as well. Mobile allows customers to pay for gas and purchases with their phones and can even be a great way to drive a customer who just planned to pump gas to come inside for a special deal on snacks.

How Mobile Enhances a Loyalty Program

Many grocery and convenience stores have loyalty programs that encourage customers to buy more, more often. When those loyalty programs are mobile-based, they not only engage customers in the moment or when they’re in close proximity to a store, but they also provide valuable data to the business.

They also provide an opportunity for businesses to boost membership in their loyalty program. On average, only about 10-20% of a convenience store’s customers participate in its loyalty program. But with in-store and at-pump signage, a convenience store could easily convert more customers into loyalty program members with enticing offers like a free coffee for signing up.

Just remember: today’s consumers are picky about what deals and coupons they want to redeem, as well as which brands they’re loyal to. That’s where customized offers really help retain grocery and convenience store customers. Imagine a loyalty member who regularly buys organic milk at her favorite grocery store. She’s delighted to see a $1 off coupon especially for her in her grocery app. Giving her a coupon for a product you know she will likely buy anyway will encourage her to shop in your store and buy additional items.

How Grocery and Convenience Stores Can Leverage Mobile Marketing

With mobile messaging tools such as SMS, MMS, and push notifications, grocery and convenience stores can:

  • Guide customer purchases
  • Drive traffic, increase conversions, and foster loyalty along the mobile journey
  • Offer flexible self-service
  • Easily measure mobile performance

Let’s dive deeper into each mobile marketing component.


Conversational commerce via text message will be the most important way to engage consumers in the year ahead. It’s something grocery and convenience stores should seriously consider, especially if they do not have an app in place.

Text codes, for example, are inexpensive to use and have a high adoption rate. Shoppers can text a given code to a number to get a coupon, enter to win a raffle, or sign up to get offers from the grocery or convenience store.

Here’s an example Vibes was involved in implementing: convenience store brand Kwik Trip deployed an MMS marketing campaign, including visuals with texts. The result? A shocking 88% redemption rate.

Push Notifications

Push notifications can help C-Stores and grocery stores intelligently target users across multiple channels by delivering a personalized approach. Deals, such as bonus loyalty points, coupons, and special offers, are the biggest reasons that consumers subscribe to brand messages, and push is an essential marketing tool to roll out these strategic offers.

Research has shown that push notifications can increase 90-day user retention from 3x to 10x.

Let’s say a shopper is out running errands and gets a notification that a nearby gas station is offering $.10 off per gallon of gas for the next hour. She sees that her tank is nearly empty and decides to fill up at that station.

It’s clear that mobile is becoming more and more necessary to engage today’s consumers. Both grocery stores and convenience stores are exploring creative ways to use technology to boost repeat sales and make customers happy.

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