Chevron Corp.’s North America n Marketing Conventiongave Chevron and Texaco operators plenty to be excitedabout. In addition to announcing its dual branded fuelstrategy was a rousing success, the oil company reportedit is ahead of industry standards in developing alternative fuelsand that marketers would no longer have to pay a 75-cent up-frontcharge on gift cards sold.
But the big news came when Cary Knuth, general manager ofwestern retail sales for Chevron Products Co., told an energized crowdthe chain was developing a credit card solution that will have no processingcosts for retailers.
Danny Roden, vice president of North America marketing, toldCSD that the card will likely be branded Visa or MasterCard andwill incorporate a loyalty component.
Such a program would be an enormous boost for Chevronand Texaco marketers. According to the National Association ofConvenience Stores’ 2007 State of the Industry report, credit cardfees cost the industry $6.6 billion last year, up from $5.4 billionin 2005.
“Loyalty, if not done right, can drive up the cost for everybody,”Roden said. “We are taking our time to refine a credit solution that willwork for everyone, that will be cost-effective for retailers and attractivefor consumers. It won’t replace Chevron and Texaco’s proprietarycredit cards, but rather complement them.”
The theme of this year’s Chevron show was “Beyond the Horizon.”Roden urged marketers to continue pushing a team effort by workingwith the oil company to provide outstanding service in a clean,friendly environment. In its desire to have “the top convenience storeconcept,” Chevron heavily promoted its ExtraMile brand,which has invigorated the company and helped giveit a dominant presence across the conveniencelandscape. Combined with the resurrection of theTexaco brand, the oil company’s dual strategy offersconsumers premium and low-cost fuel options.
“It’s a powerful brand offering for an independentmarketer, enabling them to competeeffectively with other big brands in high-volume andrural markets,” Roden said. “ExtraMile is a chance tooffer consistency with other Chevron stores and takeadvantage of our dry goods supply chain, merchandisingplanograms and core foodservice program.”
Many marketers are already sold onthe retail concept.
“We are thrilled with ExtraMile and the level of commitmentChevron offers us,” said Wenda Lewis, vice president and CEO ofGainesville, Fla.-based Lewis Oil Co., one of the first companies toinvest in the Image Refresh program. “We made a significant investmentin the brand and we are already seeing strong returns.”
Among the highlights of Image Refresh are:
- A flexible image system that adapts to any site.
- An array of choices regarding component selection and upgrades,“each designed to meet individual marketing needs,” Roden said.
- Unique retail fixture components designed to improve the customerexperience and differentiate the Chevron brand.
- Financial incentives to help maintain and enhance thefacility upgrade.
The major new elements of the program are visual featuresintended to create a dramatic impact, especially at night: a lit fascia,multicolored canopy with blue downlighting; new canopy returnswith accent lighting; round canopy pole cladding; a new Chevronlogo and canopy hallmark; and illuminated pump spanners andunlit valances that provide a more open feeling.
The Texaco brand is another proud aspect of the company.Essentially left for dead by Shell, Chevron acquired the brand in2004. Since then, it has resurrected the famed Texaco star, which nowshines above 2,400 stations in 20 states in the U.S. And, accordingto Frank Herbst, Chevron’s general manager of eastern sales, dealsare in place that could see that number approach 2,800 by year’send. “We went from zero stores three years ago to build an entire networkacross 20 states,” he said. “How many big oil companies cansay that?”
Selling Credit Card Businesses
Chevron also said it reached agreements to sell itsconsumer and commercial credit card businesses. Thecompany has selected GE Money Bank to own andoperate its Chevron- and Texaco-branded consumercredit cards, and FleetCor Technologies to own andoperate its branded commercial credit cards.
“We have a strong base of loyal customers withour proprietary credit card business and are makingthis change to ensure they continue to have accessto the latest options available,” said Shariq Yosufzai,president of Chevron Global Marketing.