Why fuel retailers need a customer reach strategy for digital-first consumers

As consumers make more purchasing decisions online, fuel retailers must look beyond sign price and traditional marketing. Here’s how to adjust your customer reach strategy.

August 24, 2022
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Why fuel retailers need a customer reach strategy for digital-first consumers
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Why fuel retailers need a customer reach strategy for digital-first consumers

Many consumers are becoming digital-first buyers. Not just Gen X or Millennials but also Boomers and other late technology adopters. That means considerable market share isconsiderable market share up for grabs in an industry with declining demand year-over-year. In this reality, even the competitive businesses that have succeeded without a digital footprint are all considering new customer reach strategies that prioritize online consumers.

A recent ConnectedEconomy survey by PYMNTS found that in April 2022 alone, 37.7% of participants reported using an app to find the best gas prices. As much as 8% did this daily, while almost 15% did this weekly, directly influencing their gas-buying decisions. This total volume is up from 31% in November 2021. Therefore, fuel retailers must get in front of these digital-first consumers

Digital customer reach strategy for fuel retailers

Fuel retailers are no longer solely dependent on real estate, traffic patterns, sign prices, or traditional marketing to reach consumers. There is a whole new world of apps, digital tools, and online strategies to help expand reach, but not all are created equal. Here are some of the top-performing methods for expanding consumer reach online:

Navigation app SEO

You might already be familiar with search engine optimization (SEO) to improve your website’s online discoverability. These same principles apply to Google Maps and other navigation apps — even for gas stations. Claiming your business on Google, filling out the profile, adding a website and photos, and allowing consumers to leave reviews, can help your station appear more prominently in searches.

Promotion platforms

Third-party promotion and coupon platforms have their own user bases actively searching for the best prices for everyday purchases. These platforms can leverage special incentives to drive a high volume of new consumers to your location. You can convert one-time visitors into regular consumers with other strategies, like loyalty programs and remodeled facilities. But remember that many platforms incentivize purchases with one-size-fits-all or segmented offers that often cannibalize profits.

Mobile geotargeting

Geotargeting solutions track user movement with GPS and offer location-based promotions or incentives. Fuel retailers can expand their reach by sending offers to (or otherwise engage with) consumers whenever they are near a station. This method offers the distinct advantage of reaching consumers that can’t physically see the sign price, but who are still close enough to change their route. And it’ll keep them coming back in the future.

Social media

Social media profiles have become part of every customer reach strategy, but fuel retailers have been slow to adopt. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and now TikTok can be useful platforms for announcing sales, listing new merchandise, or giving general business updates, even if not many consumers engage with your posts. Social media is most effective as a customer reach strategy when businesses pay for ads and promotions that leverage deep consumer data for the highest ratio of conversions. Platforms like Instagram can even enable geotargeting.

How fuel retailers can sustainably expand consumer reach online

These strategies can increase consumer reach, but they can be challenging, resource intensive, and expensive to implement effectively. You need a digital solution to target only new or infrequent consumers, box out competition, and personalize incentives to ensure profit from every purchase. That’s where Upside comes in.

Upside’s dedicated user base relies on the free mobile app to make everyday purchasing decisions. Those users only see retailers listed on the platform, maximizing your business’s exposure. Incentives are generated based on each user’s purchasing history at your location across a number of purchasing methods, and they are personalized for each user so you offer customers exactly what they need to change their behavior. Best of all, gallons driven from the app are fully attributable and provide a proven lift in sales volume.

Read our new eBook to learn more about how Upside works as a customer reach strategy for fuel retailers.

Why fuel retailers need a customer reach strategy for digital-first consumers

The Upside Team

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The Upside team is made up of data scientists and industry experts who are passionate about delivering empowering content to our readers. With a focus on providing practical insights and meaningful perspectives, we create engaging materials across a wide range of topics. From exploring industry trends and offering expert analysis to sharing useful tips and inspiring ideas, our team works diligently to provide you with the information you need to thrive.

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