Will a new subscription program make Circle K a daily stop for members?
Circle K is rolling out a monthly subscription plan that will allow customers who pay $5.99 a month to stop in one of its stores daily to pick up their choice of a 100 percent sustainably sourced cup of coffee, tea, Froster slushie or Polar Pop fountain drink at no additional charge.
Circle K, which has around 9,800 locations in the U.S., decided to roll out its Sip & Save program after it ran a successful pilot in more than 100 stores in the Augusta, GA, and Columbia, SC, areas.
Kevin Lewis, chief marketing officer of Alimentation Couche-Tard, the convenience store giant that owns Circle K, told CNBC that the pilot showed that trips to test stores increased as did market baskets.
Circle K is planning to run Sip & Save for 90 days, but Mr. Lewis said the retailer would be “hard-pressed to say stop” if the broader program produces similar results to those in the test markets.
The chain was working on a drink subscription program prior to the pandemic but took its foot off the pedal when the novel coronavirus began cutting into people traveling to work and going to convenience stores.
Many of the pandemic-related conditions are now being lifted as a growing percentage of Americans have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and Circle K sees Sip & Save as another means for it to differentiate itself in the minds of consumers.
It is not, however, the only company to offer a beverage subscription plan.
Panera Bread last year launched an $8.99 a month subscription plan for members of the chain’s MyPanera loyalty program that covers purchases of hot and iced coffee and hot tea every two hours all day long. Cold brew iced coffee, espresso and cappuccino are not included.
The chain continues to promote the subscription plan on its site including a promotion that offers new members three months free and “exclusive rewards” on items bought with their drinks.
The Panera program came out of a three-month test in Cleveland, Columbus, Nashville and Raleigh. The restaurant chain said that it saw a 200 percent increase in the frequency of visits, a 70 percent jump in food purchases made with the coffee and a 90 to 95 percent renewal rate among those who subscribed to the program.
Burger King discontinued a $5-a-month coffee subscription it launched in 2019 after a few months.
- Circle K launches beverage subscription program for $5.99 per month – CNBC
- Will coffee subscriptions raise some dough for Panera? – RetailWire
- Burger King launches $5-a-month coffee subscription service – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you expect Circle K’s Sip & Save subscription plan to drive incremental customer visits and sales for the convenience store chain? Will similar subscription programs become more commonplace within the convenience channel?