driving instore sales with fuel

Facing increased competition, Fabulous Freddy’s is investing in gas pumps with interactive merchandising displays.

Fabulous Freddy’s is looking to cultivate a new baseof loyal in-store customers, and it isn’t going very farto find them. The Las Vegas-based chain is investing innext-generation interactive fuel pumps that communicatestore specials and offer valuable coupons directly totheir fuel customers while they fill-up.

Gilbarco Veeder-Root’s SMART Merchandising systemis enabling the company to target customers during dailybusiness cycles, such as the three major dayparts, with interactivepromotions right at the pump, said Laurie Bull, directorof marketing for Fabulous Freddy’s.

Using SMART Merchandising and Gilbarco’s Encore S dispensers,Bull said she is able to create, broadcast and trackpromotions and issue coupons in the few minutes it takescustomers to fill-up. Plus, the system includes all the tools,graphics and hardware needed to create promotions fromone central location on a store-by-store basis, for a specificgroup of stores or across the entire chain. This allows her tonarrow promotions to commuters, tourists and local residentsby time of day and location.

“The programming is the key element here. It makes crossmerchandising easy and helps us move customers insidethe store after fueling to redeem coupons and take advantageof specials,” said Bull, whose promotions have includedbuy-one, get-one offers, car wash discounts and foodservicespecials.

Another major benefit of the SMART Merchandising systemis that it is Web-enabled allowing Bull to select or upload thespecific images and graphics she wants ratherthan relying simply on what’s available. “Thisallows limitless possibilities for product promotions,”she said. “There is no shortage ofinformation that we could communicate tothe customers because we control the contentat the store level in real time.”

These pumps are a major step up fromthe legacy pumps the chain originallyinvested in, and with good reason. Thereis a bit of a sense of urgency for FabulousFreddy’s. Aside from consolidation in LasVegas with market leader Terrible Herbstacquiring Berry-Hinckley Industries and its36 convenience stores and car washesearlier this year, Tesco is looming. The companyis looking to differentiate its offering by implementingnew technology and create a fun, interactive experience forcustomers.

According to Gilbarco’s analysis, early adopters are seeingan average of 1,000 redeemed coupons per store, permonth. The company also anticipates benefits such as:

  • Increased sales. Up to 10% year-on-year in-store sales lift.
  • Instant coupon redemption. An average rate of 30-60%.
  • Return purchase coupon redemption: As much as 15%.
  • Customer usage: 7-15%
  • Average length of customer usage: 1 minute and 20 seconds.
  • Coupon prints per visit: 1.1

“We are only a few weeks into the program,but we are watching the numbersclosely and seeing a moderate boostin in-store traffic,” said Bull. “I expectto build a strong marketing programaround the system to drive evenmore traffic, most likely with a loyaltyor rewards program that will allowus to target specific customers everytime they come to one of our stores.

The name of the game is to drive customervolume and every little bit helps.With these fuel pumps and an aggressivemarketing program, I believe we willhave the right solution for increasing ourin-store business.”

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