Engaging Consumers at the Pump

TV screens convert downtime into increased sales

By  Traci Carneal, Freelance writer

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. — Direct-response media platforms—basically TV at the pump—are now more accessible and affordable for retailers across the United States seeking to lure gasoline consumers inside their convenience stores. Often perceived as an out-of-reach marketing tool by anything but large retail chains, television screens with 24/7 programming are becoming a reality for c-stores of all sizes as enthusiastic dispenser manufacturers encourage their customers to get on board.

“This is a great opportunity for small operators to bring marketing and a consumer engagement platform to the gas pump,” said Marie Joergensen, commercial product manager for Greensboro, N.C.-based pump-maker Gilbarco Veeder-Root. Gilbarco provides the equipment for free with new fuel-dispenser purchases or upgrades, along with ongoing content management, for an annual software licensing fee.

“It’s a small amount to pay considering the support they get from our content-management team, the access to a help desk, and the new software versions and features on the platform,” she said. In a display of commitment to the marketing tool, Gilbarco recently purchased Outcast Media, a media-content company based in Santa Monica, Calif., to streamline the video-content services for customers.

Pump-maker Wayne, meanwhile, includes 10-inch color VGA screens with the purchase of new Ovation fuel dispensers to any retail outlet in the United States. The pump manufacturer has teamed with Gas Station TV (GSTV) to offer its inOvationTV media platform, which also comes with content programming support. GSTV has offices in Birmingham, Mich., and New York City.

“Promoting in-store products directly on pumps allows retailers to reach their target audiences while they are in transit,” said David Leider, CEO of GSTV. “This ultimately drives more traffic into the c-store and influences purchase decisions.”

Retailers using the inOvationTV platform report on average a 69% sales lift in candy and confection sales, 78% increase in car-wash sales, 50% rise in energy-drink purchases, 25% increase in QSR sales and 60% lift in breakfast day-part purchases (research of Atlas Oil, Murphy USA and GSTV Consumer Insights). Further, 35% of viewers say they visit stations more often because they enjoy watching media at the pump.

The benefits are enormous for all: the c-store operators who increase in-store rings, the pump manufacturers who sell more upgrades and the product suppliers that buy the advertising.

Joergensen said Gilbarco is tying its newest solution—the embedded screen that comes with new fuel dispensers—to the EMV requirements that take effect in 2017. EMV stands for a joint effort initially conceived between Europay, MasterCard and Visa to ensure the security and global interoperability of chip-based payment cards. Retailers now have to upgrade their electronic payment systems to avoid liability for fraudulent purchases.

The EMV requirements are driving the purchases of new fuel dispensers, as well as upgrades that include new electronic payment systems that meet the guidelines, she said. “For select markets and station profiles, we can make this very affordable for retailers to retrofit the dispensers.”

Keywords: 
fuel equipment