CSD: Social Networking Takes C-Store Retail by Storm
By Erin Rigik
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary
of an article from Convenience Store Decisions magazine.
Last September, 7-Eleven launched an online music video competition at its
frozen beverage fan page, www.slurpee.com. In just one day, more than 10,000
web surfers visited the site to participate.
Kwik Trip Inc. has found social networking allows customers to access up-to-date
information about its chain and promotions more easily.
“Customers are on-the-go and they can access our social networking pages
on phones, PDAs or from laptops. It lets customers know what we have going
on in our stores,” said Jenny Frandsen, marketing spokesperson for Kwik
Trip, which has 366 c-stores and 38 tobacco outlets in Iowa, Minnesota, and
Kwik Trip joined Twitter and Facebook seven months ago and began airing its
commercials on the video-sharing Web site YouTube within the last two months.
The chain also emails coupons to those who request the service via their web
site. Within six months of using Facebook, the chain had acquired more than
Just who is the chain reaching through its Facebook page? Currently, it has
slightly more female than male fans, and the percentages for 18-44 year olds
is fairly close, meaning the chain is able to reach a wide demographic. Its
followers break down according to age demographics as follows: 18-24 (21 percent),
25-34 (33 percent) 35-44 (21 percent), 45-54 (13 percent) and 55 and over (six
“There has been a lot of response from our customers,” Ms. Frandsen
said. “They (post about) what they love, as well as concerns, and we
follow up. Someone might say, ‘You should bring a store to this area,’ and
I forward it on to our real estate department. We get a lot of feedback on
a variety of topics.”
Ms. Frandsen also encourages feedback by posting questions to engage readers,
asking them to name their favorite kind of Cheese Mountain Pizza, or what new
pizza toppings they would like to see on the chain’s proprietary pizzas.
She then sends the feedback to the proper department so it can be taken into
Having multiple social networking platforms allows Kwik Trip to reach its
customers wherever they are and drive home the message it wants to convey about
“What we load onto YouTube can also be linked to Facebook or Twitter,
so we’re tying it all together so customers are getting the same information
no matter where they log on, and keeping the brand message consistent,” Ms.
Discussion Questions: How does the social networking opportunity differ
for c-stores versus other retail channels? Can you come with any examples where
social media would be ideal in marketing to and communicating with the “on-the-go” customer?