Circle K, the largest independent convenience store operator in the U.S., is launching a time-limited Sip & Save beverage subscription service. For $5.99 a month, subscribers can get daily drinks of any size including iced tea, hot or iced sustainably-sourced coffee, Froster slushies and Polar Pop fountain drinks. If subscribers take advantage of the daily beverage limitation (one per subscriber per day), the estimated cost per drink is 20 cents. The more often a subscriber visits, the more likely it is they will make purchases of other items too – hot food, candy, snacks, gas and other products.
Though companies like Panera have been successful with their beverage subscription services, Circle K’s Sip & Save has two key differences. First, the subscription is being paired with Circle K’s Scan to Win summer fuel promotion where shoppers can save up to $0.99 per gallon. Second, the Sip & Save beverage subscription is only available for a limited time to drive sales during late spring/early summer. The subscription and fuel promotion launched on Friday, May 28 (National Road Trip Day) and will run through July 5, 2021.
“Circle K is here for every journey and as more people hit the road this summer, we are proud to offer a new beverage subscription program and fuel promotion to help them save money and make their trip more enjoyable,” said Kevin Lewis, chief marketing officer at Circle K.
CNBC reports that Sip & Save tested the program this spring for 90 days at 100 stores in the Augusta, Georgia and Columbia, South Carolina areas. In addition to visiting the convenience stores for their beverages, people also purchased hot food items, including items which were launched during the pandemic. Early testing revealed that the subscription program brought customers in more frequently, exceeding the company’s expectations.
“We really see this as an opportunity to drive traffic at a time that people are just starting to come out of the understandable cocoons that they’ve been in for the last 12-plus months,” Lewis added.
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According to AAA Travel, nine out of 10 Americans will take a road trip over Memorial Day weekend, a 60% increase over last year. Circle K hopes its beverage subscription and summer fuel promotion will help make it the gas station and convenience store of choice for the holiday weekend and other summer travel.
Circle K has tapped actor and comedian Kel Mitchell to help with the new promotion.
“I am so excited to partner with Circle K for their new Sip & Save program for the summer. It felt like a natural fit to help them promote their new beverage subscription which, of course, includes orange soda Polar Pop,” Mitchell said.
This is such an exciting idea – a time-limited subscription with a specific goal! We don’t know if this is meant to be a test or to create demand after a challenging year, but we love the concept. We are eager to follow Circle K – and U.S. road trippers – to see how many take advantage of this temporary subscription for summertime travel. The company probably won’t make a lot of money, if any, on subscription fees, but they will make money on the other items customers purchase. The subscription gets customers to keep coming back, and that is what every subscription company wants – higher lifetime value from their customer. If this temporary beverage subscription is successful, we can see other companies adopting it.