Based in Standish, Michigan, Forward Corp. offers a multitude of products and services designed to meet the needs of the traveling public and local communities of northeast Michigan. The company operates 30 convenience stores across a 12-county area with quality fuels and a professional staff.

Forward Corp. relaunched its loyalty program last year with the goal of heightened value for its customers.

Enter Paytronix, which partnered with Forward Corp.

On Nov. 1, 2016, Forward launched a new user-friendly rewards program built on the Paytronix Rewards platform. Integrated directly with Forward’s Verifone Commander POS system, the new program bolsters the value the program delivers to both the brand and its customers.

Now, Forward Rewards members can join the program at their convenience either in store at a kiosk, online, or via the brand’s new mobile iOS or Android App. Once a member, customers can identify themselves by swiping their membership cards or providing their phone numbers at the credit card terminal. What’s more, points are accrued automatically and all reward logic is on board with the POS via the Paytronix integration. Customers can now decide how to spend their reward program currency – redeem them for free products or gas discounts, or bank them to be redeemed for additional sweepstakes entries – the customer decides when and how to redeem them. Paper coupon clutter is a thing of the past.

The new technology has removed a barrier to joining Forward Rewards. As a result, the brand is capturing twice as much customer purchase behavior data, more customers are joining and more customers are remaining active in the program.

Forward Corp. spends less time entering data from registration forms, tallying coupon redemptions, and maintaining peripheral hardware. The marketing team has a new set of messaging and reporting tools they leverage to further motivate targeted spending and visit behaviors. In fact, the email capabilities are so easy and cost-effective to use that Forward has increased the number of email campaigns it conducts.

For its impressive efforts, Forward Corp. walked away with the 2017 Paytronix Loyaltees Award for Best Convenience Store Loyalty Launch.

Michelle Tempesta, head of product marketing, Paytronix Systems, Inc., told Loyalty360 that Forward Corp. had a very specific goal in mind in rolling out its new loyalty program.

“It wanted to deliver much-needed value to the customer, as well as the brand,” Tempesta said. “The brand was exceptional at managing the migration project to hit targeted project dates. It engaged and motivated to see the new program in place. Plus, Forward Corp. is innovative in the way it leverages the features. For example, it uses the system to reward customers with bonus sweepstakes entries based on specific visit and spend behavior. That’s adding a sense of excitement to the program its customers are clearly enjoying.”

From the beginning, Tempesta explained, Forward Corp. did a “fantastic job” articulating its vision to the Paytronix team.

“That vision gave the implementation team clear direction for configuring the program for Forward Corp.,” she said. “The Paytronix team and the Forward Corp. team became one cohesive group marching toward a shared objective.”

From a technical standpoint, loyalty programs are not hard to launch, Tempesta explained.

“The most challenging aspect is designing a program with a motivating value proposition that is easy for the front line to convey,” she explained. “Motivating cashiers and customers to change their behavior, even in the slightest way, takes a clear value proposition, a solid internal and external marketing plan, a message reinforcement strategy, and commitment from the top of the organization down. Forward Corp. excelled in all aspects of its launch.”

Launched in 2006, the original Forward Rewards Program required customers to identify themselves via a key fob, and too much time was required for manual entry of the registration forms. When rewards were earned, a paper coupon automatically printed from a device that occupied valuable real estate on the check-out counter. When redeemed, cashiers had to read the fine print to ensure the purchase was qualified for the coupon redemption. Coupons were then collected to track redemptions.

The challenge was to revitalize the program by securing a new software partner and relaunching the program across the 30 locations. 

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