Why Club Programs Work

Club programs enjoy perennial popularity as the foundation of rewards programs. At some point, nearly every person will have had a paper or digital punch card for the club program of a convenience store or restaurant.

But knowing that they’re popular and understanding why they’re popular are two different things. Recognizing the appealing aspects of club programs will help you make them even more effective.


As we mentioned in the introduction, it’s hard to find a simpler concept than “buy 3, get 1 free.” Even in the case of “buy 8 gallons of gasoline, get 1 free liter of soda,” there’s a clear correlation between action and reward. That means it’s easy for your customer to understand and easy for your staff to explain.

Equally important, your customer will know where he or she stands on the journey toward that free reward.


Enrollment in a program provides confirmation that its rewards are valuable. For example, if a customer buys a pre-made sandwich and becomes enrolled in your premade sandwich club program, you already know that the reward of a free premade sandwich is valuable to that person.

Unlike other rewards programs that require a restaurant or convenience store to guess at an appealing reward, the club program often automatically offers a valuable reward to enrolled customers.


It’s an obvious benefit but one that shouldn’t be glossed over: When vendor funds are used to offset the cost of rewards, it’s that much easier for you to make money on your club program. Instead of absorbing the cost of giving away a free bag of chips with every eight purchased, your vendor pays for that. Those savings add up quickly, especially with a popular program.


To customers, a club program often feels like getting “something for nothing.” But a targeted, well-executed program won’t just reward customers for purchases they would have made anyway. Instead, it will encourage additional visits to the store for purchases that they wouldn’t have made otherwise.

As with any rewards program, there are some time-tested, effective ways to run a club program, and there are ways that end up causing more harm than good. Download our new e-book “The Secrets to Club Program Success” to learn four strategies to help ensure that your club program is successful. Each is based on studies, research, and quantitative experience with club programs across the country.

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The Author
Kimberly Otocki is a content marketing specialist at Paytronix working in the convenience store space. With a passion for telling stories, she helps bolster the Paytronix brand through content creation and data analysis. Kimberly loves sharing relevant content to help businesses discover the marketing solutions they need.

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