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Greg FoxChief Revenue OfficerGasBuddy
Gas price comparison app GasBuddy made its name by saving consumers money at the pump. Now the company has turned to location-based marketing to extend its offers to gas station stores. Greg Fox, GasBuddy’s chief revenue officer, spoke with eMarketer’s Maria Minsker about how the app uses location data to boost sales of convenience items.
eMarketer: How does GasBuddy drive in-store engagement at gas stations through targeted mobile coupons?
Greg Fox: Gas stations see tremendous traffic, but only about 35% of people go from the pump into the store. Most of them just fuel up and leave. We wanted to change that, so we partnered with Koupon Media, which works with national CPG [consumer packaged goods] brands to take offers and distribute them through the GasBuddy app. We want gas convenience partners and consumers to think of GasBuddy as this massive Sunday circular for the convenience store space. Together we want to grow the 35% that walk into stores to 50%.
eMarketer: That’s a big technology undertaking. How does it all work on the back end?
Fox: Every offer is geotargeted based on users’ locations. After a user clicks on an offer, a timer is activated and consumers have to redeem the offer within 10 minutes. There’s a barcode, which the store scans to redeem the discount. As we go down this path, we report to the brand that a user completed a transaction at a specific store location. Koupon Media handles the rest, reporting back when an offer is redeemed to [close the conversion loop.]
eMarketer: Has this new component increased engagement with the app?
Fox: Yes, it provides a sticky element to the app for users by providing more value. Consumers use GasBuddy to find great prices on gasoline. It’s a social community—we get over 50 million gasoline price submissions per month from our users. Offering other savings opportunities was a natural fit. In addition, we share in the overall revenue from the offers that Koupon Media runs, and vice versa.
eMarketer: What were some of the challenges and payoffs associated with putting this technology in place?
Fox: The engineering side was a big hurdle. We recently partnered with a third-party technology called Cuebiq, and they’re building polygons around our gas convenience store location partners. Soon, companies such as Shell will be able to build personas around customers [based on that location data]. We’re one of a few apps that tracks geolocation all the time, so we’ll be able to tell Shell when their customers go to Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts. It is extremely powerful, exclusive data that we’re not selling to the world.
eMarketer: How can companies use this data from a marketing perspective?
Fox: Marketers will be able to answer a number of key questions: How many people come to my location? How many come into the store? Why did they come to me vs. my competitor? If my price of gas was cheaper than the price at five other gas stations around me but I didn’t run a coupon, did I still see more traffic? If I ran a coupon but kept my price higher, did I see more traffic then? Companies can start pulling these marketing levers. Eventually, as behavioral data across different locations is matched to consumers’ user IDs, companies will be able to deliver more targeted promotions as well.
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