Deal Making at NACS

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Deal Making at NACS

LAS VEGAS -- New partnerships within the convenience store and petroleum industry are being announced daily at the NACS Show 2006. Below is a round up of recent deals.

Wawa and Debitman

Wawa is joining Debitman Card's payment network to issue private-label Wawa check cards that will reward customers with an initial $5 gift card after the first use and offer cash rebates on every purchase. The chain will start a 90-day test phase at the end of this month in its Pennsylvania and Maryland markets. Following that could be a chain-wide implementation.

"Debitman provides us with the opportunity to reduce the cost of credit and debit card interchange fees, enabling us to share the savings with our customers through an easy-to-use cash rebate program," said Bob Riesenbach, Wawa's manager of new initiatives. "The Wawa check card is available to any customer with a bank account in good standing, regardless of credit rating, and provides a convenient and safe payment alternative that can be used at many other leading retailers across the U.S."

The check card can be used at more than 200,000 locations in the U.S. that are participants in Debitman's Retailer's Network -- including Wal-Mart, Sam's Club and CVS. Rebates can also be earned at Wawa stores and places that accept Debitman cards. Rebates are dispersed into the customer's bank account that is linked to the Wawa card on a monthly basis.

"PIN-based debit cards are ideal for the convenience store market because consumers prefer them to credit cards for smaller purchases, such as coffee and a hoagie," said Mike Grossman, CEO of Debitman. "Debitman's minimal interchange fees make it possible for merchants to combine debit and loyalty rewards programs for customers in a cost-effective manner."

Wawa operates more than 550 stores in the U.S. and is ranked one of Forbes Magazine's Top 100 Largest Private Companies in America.

Cumberland Farms and KSS

Cumberland Farms Inc., the largest convenience store/petroleum marketer in the Northeast, has selected the KSS PriceNet fuel pricing system for installation at its 525 locations.

The KSS PriceNet solution will help Cumberland Farms automate the manual tasks involved in fuel pricing, as well as with modeling and forecasting the effects of prices on volume, said Bob Stein, chief executive officer of KSS' fuels division. Cumberland Farms also will be able to react quickly to changing market conditions, according to Stein.

The chain's network of retail stores, gas stations and a support system that includes petroleum, dairy and grocery distribution operations spans 11 states across the Northeast and Florida.

KSS PriceNet is available as an on-site, fully integrated pricing system designed to add discipline to the pricing process and help operators make better-informed pricing decisions.

"We are excited to have Cumberland Farms as a customer and look forward to showcasing the value and benefits of KSS PriceNet with them," said Stein.

Gas Station TV and Gilbarco Veeder-Root

Gas Station TV (GSTV) announced that it is partnering with Gilbarco Veeder-Root's SMART Merchandising system to offer customers coupons at the gas island.

Powered by this technology, GSTV advertisers with Encore 500 dispensers can now link their programming to special coupon offers that can be tailored to a specific location, time of day and immediate customer need. The coupons are printed directly at the pump, complete with a barcode that can be recognized by any store, quickservice restaurant or carwash scanner.

Retailers actively using Gilbarco's SMART Merchandising system have reported increases of up to 10 percent in retail store sales and improved customer loyalty, GSTV said.

"GSTV constantly searches for unique solutions to address the marketing needs of our advertisers and retailers," said David Leider, GSTV CEO. "The innovative combination of GSTV with the SMART Merchandising system is highly engaging and entices people to purchase."

"Gilbarco's customers have seen tremendous results using their Encore fuel dispensers as merchandising devices," added Richard Browne, vice president of marketing for Gilbarco Veeder-Root. "Valuable offers at the gas island drive fueling customers inside the retail store, and track-able coupons validate the effectiveness of the advertising. GSTV's rich video content coupled with SMART Merchandising couponing is a winning combination for both our retailers and their customers, " Browne continued.

GSTV, an IP-based digital television network, delivers relevant and entertaining programming, including local and national news, sports, weather and traffic information on 20-inch high-definition, daylight viewable LCD monitors embedded into gas dispensers. Programmable on a station-by-station basis, a portion of the programming on GSTV is dedicated to delivering messages that directly promote each retailer's convenience store offerings. With up to four customized, promotional messages airing during each customer's visit, GSTV said it enables retailers to convert the pay-at-the-pump customer into c-store purchasers.

A recent study conducted by Nielsen Media Research's New Media Services confirms that GSTV is a highly effective medium for engaging consumers, finding that 77 percent of gas station consumers are watching the digital TV screens. The study also revealed that 89 percent intend to "watch or listen to GSTV" upon their next station visit. Advertising brand recall averaged an extremely high 40 percent.

GSTV is currently used in the Atlanta, Dallas and Houston markets, and is rolling out to more than 7,000 screens across the top 15 markets in the U.S. by the end of 2007.