Want to Capture More Customers?

It’s a tough economic environment for fuel retailers. Here’s one way to gain an edge.

August 23, 2022

This article is brought to you by Upside, a NACS Hunter Club member.

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Fuel retailers are under historic pressure. Although gas prices are trickling down from record highs, inflation is still climbing, so consumers are being hit with rising costs, ultimately impacting their spending power. It’s tough for fuel retailers to compete in this volatile environment.

“Financially speaking, everyone is feeling the squeeze right now,” said Kevin Hart, senior vice president of fuel sales at Upside, a retail technology company. “Gas station owners need a new approach to address soaring inflation, keep and grow their customer bases and generate more profit.”

One way for fuel retailers to have an edge in the market is to increase efficiencies. On a monthly basis, most stations spend roughly 50% of their operating profit on land and equipment. But these expensive assets often sit idle. According to data from Upside, gas stations have open pumps 76% of the time, and even during their busiest times of the day, 52% of pumps are open at any given moment.

“In order to maximize operating costs, retailers need to bring in as many new customers as possible and retain existing customers,” said Hart. “And based on this challenging market, a new customer today is way more valuable than a new customer one year ago.”

That’s where Upside comes into play. Upside’s top-rated app and network of partner apps deliver personalized promotions to millions of consumers, ensuring that they purchase from participating stations, instead of the competition.

To understand its own impact, Upside analyzed a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida, to see how many consumers it reached with its forecourt signage. Based on its location and traffic reports, the sign price reached 9,700 consumers a day. But this was just a fraction of the total drivers in the market. By partnering with Upside, the station was able to unlock an additional 149,000 potential customers—a 16 times increase in the potential number of customers for that station.

And in a declining market, strategies that expand a fuel retailer’s customer base are more important than ever.

“Retailers can’t sustain their business long-term by increasing conversations with consumers who already use or pass by their station,” Hart explained. “But with digital tools like Upside, retailers have a shot at capturing new consumers.”

According to Alex Kinnier, CEO of Upside, fuel retailers can also maximize their business by drawing in the most profitable customers based on prior spend data and delivering targeted promotions.

“Without personalization and incrementality measurements, gas stations run the risk of unnecessarily discounting gas in a way that eats at their own profit,” Kinnier said.

So how can fuel retailers expand their reach to get as many customers as possible to pumps? Read Upside’s latest eBook, "How Fuel Retailers Turn Excess Capacity Into Profit", to learn more.

This is the first installment of a two-part NACS Daily series on how fuel retailers can use personalized digital promotions to increase profit and loyalty. Learn more about Upside.