Z fuels more sales and repeat visits with Pumped loyalty programme
Z Energy is New Zealand’s largest transport energy company, supplying fuel to retail and commercial customers through its Z and Caltex-branded networks. It focuses on delivering outstanding customer experiences, while positioning itself for future industry disruption.
Z recently deployed Infinity Loyalty to create more seamless mobile and in-store experiences that engage customers, offer them valuable rewards and encourage repeat visits.
Z is investing in innovation, digitisation and branding to craft offers for individual customers and improve its products and services on forecourts and within service stations.
Andy Stewart, Owner, Site Systems Platforms at Z, says that developing individual relationships with customers is a priority.
“The ability to understand who our customers are, what they’ve bought, how often they visit and what drives their behaviour is really important for our customer acquisition and retention,” he says.
In 2018, the company had two separate loyalty programmes that were not meeting the needs of the business or its customers. The Z loyalty scheme was an in-house developed solution that could not scale and was costly to maintain. The Caltex programme operated through AA Smartfuel and, with no direct access to its customer data, Caltex couldn’t give customers the fast and easy personalised services they increasingly expected.
Both loyalty programmes were accessible on the Z and Caltex mobile apps, however, the apps had few options.
A single loyalty strategy
Z decided it needed its own loyalty solution for a complete view of customers and the ability to create more meaningful experiences via timely and relevant offers.
Dan Coffey, Z’s Marketing Strategy Manager, says there were four key goals for the new loyalty programme. “First, we wanted to create a compelling offering for our customers with the ability to be different. Maybe not different from day one, but certainly going forward.
“Second, we wanted to leverage our scale and nationwide reach across the Z and Caltex networks to strengthen our customer loyalty and build a competitive advantage.”
Dan says the third objective was to digitise the experience. “We didn't want to create another piece of plastic for customers to have to squeeze into their wallets,” says Dan. “It had to be delivered at point-of-sale and on a mobile app to lower the hurdle for customer adoption and make it faster and easier to use.
“Finally, we wanted to lower our customer acquisition and retention costs. We needed a platform that would help us attract then learn about our customers so we could proactively engage with them to boost retention.”
With 50 percent of Caltex’s sales volume going through the AA Smartfuel programme, they needed a compelling scheme for these customers. “Letting these customers walk out the door to competitors was never an option,” adds Dan.
Their first decision was whether to retain the existing Z Pumped in-house loyalty solution and build on it or move to another architecture.
“The solution had to work inside with a human interaction, and outside using online payment terminals and a fully digital interaction,” explains Andy.
“With a 24x7, 365 days per year business, downtime isn’t permissible. On a typical day, we are processing an average of 100 sales transactions per minute. That means if the business needs a short outage, say 10 minutes to change something when it’s quiet overnight, around 200 customers will still be impacted.”
“We decided that software development was not our core capability,” says Andy. “With the size and scale of this project, we needed a flexible product and a partner with recent experience.”
Infinity unifies the business
Z has used the Infinity unified commerce platform since 2015 to manage more than 80 million annual sales transactions across more than 350 Z and Caltex retail sites (plus sales across an additional 100 commercial fuel sites nationwide).
The business decided to deploy Infinity’s Loyalty module for its retail customers. “We had tested it in a sandpit environment and it was right from the app and point-of-sale perspective,” says Andy. It helped that it came with an API layer. “The API was ready for us and it didn't take a lot of change to ‘pump’ it up,” quips Andy.
Communicating the benefits
The new Pumped loyalty programme was promoted with a comprehensive marketing campaign.
“With our competitors aware of the end of the Caltex AA Smartfuel scheme and our customers needing education on the new offering, we rolled out marketing campaigns running across a range of digital and offline media, including TV, radio, newspapers, billboards, print, digital and in-store promotions,” explains Dan.
“Our site staff also did a tremendous job of explaining what had changed, giving customers all the right options and helping them to download the app to get their discounts and rewards,” says Dan.
Loyalty volumes take off
“When we hit launch day the platform hummed. It ran really, really well,” says Andy. “Our marketing was a huge success and drove substantial increases in Pumped sales transactions.
On launch day, 60,000 new customers were created in Infinity. At the end of the first week, new customers totalled 270,000, rising to 650,000 by the end of the first month. By early September, Infinity had created an average of 14,000 new customers each day.
At peak times, Infinity handled 250 sales transactions per minute, with an average of 130 transactions per minute across the day. “The transaction volume and number of new customers created were unprecedented,” Andy adds. “Week on week, we have continued to increase our loyalty volume within the Caltex network.”
Real-time customer experiences
“Overnight we had created a real-time customer experience,” says Dan. “Previously, we were never with the customer at the time of the transaction. There was always an intermediary like AA Smartfuel.
“Now, with a single view of the customer and an expanded Pumped solution we are right in the middle of the transaction with the customer in real-time. We know where, when and how they shop and, over time, will find new ways to interact, personalise and reward each customer’s experience.”
A platform for innovation
Z now has a loyalty solution that will adapt and evolve to future business needs. “The new Pumped experiences we’ve delivered on the Infinity platform are just the first cabs off the rank,” explains Dan. “Infinity is the cornerstone of our future innovation, and Pumped has the ability to go much deeper than the first iteration we’ve delivered.”
Z has extensive plans to add new offers and rewards that will help develop more personalised and meaningful relationships and is looking at how it can expand the programme through partnerships with complementary service providers.
“While Pumped has been a great success, it's certainly not one and done,” concludes Dan. “We’re looking forward to using our new platform to give our customers valuable rewards that keep them coming back for more.”