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Cumberland Farms strengthens mobile coupon push with Coca-Cola offer

Cumberland Farms is continuing to position its mobile payment program towards rewards with a new offer from Coca-Cola that encourages consumers to download and use the brand’s application.

The gas chain is doling out an offer for a free Coca-Cola product as part of a promotion to celebrate the opening day of Major League Baseball team The Boston Red Sox. In addition, Cumberland Farms is also extending the dates of its mobile coupon program.

“Leveraging the excitement from an event as popular as opening day at Fenway Park is a great strategy to increase engagement for Cumberland Farms’ mobile promotion,” said Cezar Kolodziej, CEO/president of Iris Mobile, Chicago.

“Gas station convenience stores can promote game-day supplies like beer and snacks as well as gasoline, so the offers make sense for this audience,” he said.

Mr. Kolodziej is not affiliated with Cumberland Farms. He commented based on her expertise on the subject.

Cumberland Farms declined to comment for this article.

Mobile rewards
The Coca-Cola offer is good for one 16-ounce chill-activated can of Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola rolled out the cans at the end of last year with thermochromatic ink that shows up when the product hits a certain temperature.

The offer is automatically loaded into the Cumberland Farms iPhone and Android app for current members of the SmartPay Check-Link program.

The Coca-Cola coupon expires on May 4 and can be redeemed by showing an employee the offer within the app.

The soda offer is the latest example of how Cumberland Farms is playing up both rewards and payments in building a mobile loyalty program.

In addition to the new Coca-Cola reward, Cumberland Farms has also extended the dates of its mobile coupon program to run through Sept. 1.

When Cumberland Farms launched the in-app coupons late last year, the brand said that they would be available through the end of 2013 (see story).

For every 30 gallons of milk a consumer buys, they receive a coupon for either a coffee or fountain beverage.

In addition to product coupons similar to the Coca-Cola deal, app users also receive a coupon for a free bakery item on their birthday.

Building up long-term loyalty
Last year, Cumberland Farms rolled out its mobile payment app more broadly after testing it in several markets (see story).

The app lets consumers save ten cents for every gallon of gas that they buy by linking to a credit card or PayPal account.

Other gas chains including 7-Eleven and Kangaroo Express are also ramping up their mobile efforts to better connect with repeat customers while also building user profiles.

In many of these initiatives, gas chains are positioning mobile as a medium for exclusive content to build up participation.

For instance, Kangaroo Express is giving app users the first chance to buy a ROO cup as part of an annual summer campaign (see story).

“These rewards may be strong enough to get consumers to download the Cumberland Farms app,” Mr. Kolodziej said. “However, this does not guarantee long term engagement with the brand, or the app.

“Twenty-five percent of apps are downloaded once and never used again, and the majority do not provide the kind of value that becomes a regular part of people’s lives,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York