Tri Star Energy Doubles Down at the Pump
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — As gas prices rise, fuel margins will decrease for convenience store retailers and finding ways to get customers from the pump to inside the c-store will become paramount once again.
Nashville-based Tri Star Energy LLC, operator of 86 convenience stores including 40 branded under the Twice Daily banner, is attacking this problem head-on by utilizing the NewsBreak Media Networks platform at its fuel pumps. In-store sales have risen considerably since implementing the program, Tom Woodard, director of marketing communications for Tri Star, told CSNews Online.
The TV-at-the-pump platform runs on a five-minute loop, providing news, weather and other related information, along with trying to entice customers to walk inside the c-store via targeted advertising.
Being able to control the video content is one main reason why Tri Star choose NewsBreak. Competitors provide their own content, with much less ability for a c-store retailer to alter it, according to Woodard.
“NewsBreak is providing a great platform that does all of these wonderful things we can track. We can even promote our own products, figure out what’s working and what’s not, and change that product out. We’ve already done it several times based upon data we’ve got through this tool," he explained. "We love the ability to target individual communities we serve every day. You also don’t have to have the same content locked into every [gas] station.”
Promoting made-to-order foodservice items, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables inside the store, is one thing that has worked well using the NewsBreak platform, revealed Woodard. “We have a really strong fresh/healthy food offering,” he said. “Of course, we [promote] typical convenience items as well. We’ve seen a massive increase in sales by just having that media loop.”
Case in point: NewsBreak conducted a controlled study, randomly selecting half of the Twice Daily stores that offered a new chicken salad sandwich product and promoting the item at the pump. The other half of the Twice Daily stores that offered the sandwich did not using this advertising option. The stores promoting the sandwich at the pump averaged 21 percent more sales vs. the control group, Brian Nelson, chief operating officer for NewsBreak Media Networks, shared with CSNews Online.
“The Twice Daily brand is all about fresh food, fast,” asserted Woodard. “We’ve seen estimates that at least 60 percent to 65 percent come to the gas station, fill up and leave. It’s hard to tell them what’s inside the store, but this medium gives you a great way to show customers how fresh and delicious our food is. Before using NewsBreak, it was difficult to promote a higher cost, higher margin perishable item we had in the store.”
Promoting in-store products is not the only value that the NewsBreak platform provides to Tri Star. Drumming up interest for charitable efforts is another avenue the retailer has used the NewsBreak Media platform for, as well as providing important amber alerts, according to Woodard.
“The cool part is we are not providing information about something going on in Russia,” he said. “It’s something [customers] want to know. It’s about our neighborhood; our city.”
NewsBreak's Nelson said targeted, local content has been his company’s goal all along. “In talking to convenience store owners, we found they have a desire for a digital merchandising platform they can make their own, as opposed to letting someone else take over prime real estate,” he said.
“We are not selling national air time,” added Bob Bradley, president and CEO of NewsBreak. “We are providing a tool to hook people inside the store. It’s a totally different perspective.”
Knoxville, Tenn.-based NewsBreak, founded in 2009, is a programmatic merchandising platform intended to convert fuel-only customers to multi-product purchasers. This is done via a proprietary software system that NewsBreak created and owns.