Case StudiesHays Supermarkets

AppCard Data Helps Hays Target the Right Shoppers

Company Background

Hays Supermarkets has been family owned and operated since 1906 in Oklahoma. Hays moved to Northeast Arkansas in 1935 when A.W. Hays and his nephew Russell Hays opened their store in Blytheville, Arkansas. Over the years, the family has opened more stores throughout the region. Today, Hays has 15 stores across Arkansas and Missouri. Mickey King, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, started his career at Hays at age 14 cleaning parking lots and carrying out groceries. He, along with his brother and two cousins, now oversees all locations of Hays.

Introducing: AppCard

The grocery industry has shifted toward a more digital landscape over the past few years, and Mickey and the team at Hays knew that they needed to keep up with the evolving technology in order to keep their shoppers happy. In 2021, Mickey and his brother stopped by the AppCard booth at the NGA show and were intrigued almost immediately. After seeing the in-lane touchscreen terminal and hearing how the platform worked, they felt confident their shoppers’ experience would be much more seamless with AppCard.

A study on Hays’ shopper behavior revealed that Hays customers shop at both Hays and other big box stores in the area. One of the biggest goals for Hays rewards program with AppCard was to get their shoppers to move from shopping at both places to shopping exclusively at Hays. Shoppers tend to automatically think that big box stores have cheaper prices than independent stores, and the team at Hays wanted to shift that perspective. Hays wanted to create a rewards program to incentivize their shoppers to buy items that they would normally purchase from big box stores, proving that staying loyal to their local store is worth it. 

AppCard’s platform has been a breeze for shoppers and store leadership alike. Since switching to AppCard’s platform with the in-lane touchscreen terminal, coupon redemption and shopper engagement has increased. Hays leadership has been able to implement promotions easily with the help of their AppCard customer success manager.

Free Items Lead to Higher Spend

One of the ways the team worked toward this goal is by offering free items each quarter that shoppers can redeem with points. These items are typically really popular items like bottled water, half gallons of milk, and sugar. There are also items on there that change with the seasons. For example, from July 4 through September, the free items list contained hot dog buns, hamburger buns, cole slaw mix, and BBQ sauce—perfect for all of those late summer barbecues! When the items are specially picked for the season, shoppers are more likely to spend to earn points to get items for free that they would probably be purchasing anyway. These are items that shoppers might assume are less expensive at big box stores, but at Hays they can use their points to get them for free—and there’s nothing cheaper than free.

Though this promotion might seem costly at first glance, offering these key value items helps increase the number of items per transaction. The free item promotion leads to larger basket sizes at checkout and keeps shoppers coming back for more.

Data Makes a Difference

One of the most significant parts of the AppCard platform is the accessibility to shopper analytics. Mickey and Christian, Hays’ customer success manager from AppCard, work together to make the rewards program at Hays the best it can be. Christian sends over reports on the promotions run by the team at Hays each week. These reports show how many redemptions a promotion had, the dollar amount of discounts issued, and the number of unique customers who redeemed the promotion. Christian also likes to do a cross-analysis of shoppers who redeemed the promotion versus shoppers who received the email but didn’t redeem the promotion. This allows the team at Hays to see who is actually reading their emails and how effective email communication can be.

Data also helps Hays identify and re-engage their lost shoppers. The team sent out an email to shoppers who had not visited the store in over 45 days offering $5 off a purchase of $25 or more. In just one month, this campaign resulted in 1,297 previously lost shoppers re-engaging and spending at least $25, with the average basket size nearly 200% more than required to redeem the promotion. Just one offer caused nearly 1,300 shoppers to change their behavior in order to be able to redeem the promotion.

Data really does make a difference for the team at Hays. These reports are used to gauge how future promotions will perform, as well as brainstorm other promotion opportunities. Owner Mickey King said about AppCard’s shopper analytics, “We’re excited about using this information we’re collecting and turning it into increased sales and customer visits.” With AppCard’s reporting dashboard, store leadership can see how different items are selling and if shoppers are taking advantage of the digital coupons and promotions offered to them. Using data to make informed decisions has helped Hays build a consistent rewards program that their shoppers love.