QuickChek Sets Great Store On Location Data

quickchekConvenience store chain QuickChek is placing location at the center of its digital strategy.

It wants to prove that digital spend leads to foot traffic, said Eric Rush, digital marketing manager at QuickChek, which operates 140 retail locations across New Jersey and New York state.

QuickChek only started to seriously invest in digital channels roughly two years ago. Today, although digital already accounts for around 25% of what it spends on advertising overall, Rush still has to justify his efforts.

“But as we prove out the value, the spend will increase,” Rush said.

Over the summer, QuickChek started throwing some digital weight behind its new line of frozen drinks and smoothies and a new food menu, working with its agency AboveNation Media, strategy lead Domus Inc. and location data company PlaceIQ to target location-based media buys with an eye on increasing foot traffic.

QuickChek used PlaceIQ to find people who had visited before but not recently, and to identify its competitors’ customers in particular geos.

The messages targeted consumers near QuickChek stores during relevant times of day: the morning commute, right before or after lunch, on the drive home after work.

The results were something Rush could bring back to his boss. The visitation rate among consumers within the target was 83% higher than the control group.

But the bigger takeaway, said AboveNation CEO Steve Minichini, is proving out the value of ad exposure.

“Of course we measure click-throughs, but there’s also real value even if someone doesn’t interact with an ad,” Minichini said. “We could see that even after one exposure a certain percentage of people visited the store and converted.”

Moving away from clicks as a KPI was a big learning for Rush and his team.

“Being somewhat new to digital, we were very concerned with things like cost per click and CPM and all of the terms we’d just started learning about,” Rush said. “But then we realized people don’t have to click on things. In some cases, we saw consumers come into the store within two hours of just seeing an ad.”

QuickChek plans to keep putting budget behind location-based targeting, but it’s also planning a more novel use for location data next year: using it to inform where to build future brick-and-mortar locations.

“We went into this thinking it was a marketing tool, and it is that, but as we gathered information it became more of a global company tool, something real estate could take advantage of, for example,” Rush said. “Rather than having someone stand on the corner with a clicker, we can measure digitally how many people are driving past a location, see if they’re potential or existing customers and whether it’s worth the time and effort to build.”

PlaceIQ has seen more of its clients using location for purposes other than advertising, said CEO Duncan McCall.

“We’re starting to progress toward a world where this type of data is not just being used to target and measure,” he said. “We’re starting to see location leveraged across the organization to make actual business decisions.”

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