Filler up!

Since the invention of the mobile phone it has not been welcome at the petrol station. However BP and Caltex are looking to change that with their mobile apps enabling users to pay for their fuel without leaving their car and with 7/11 driving people to their bowsers based on price sensitivity and value offers.

BP’s app has launched recently with a big marketing push, whilst Caltex opted for a much quieter release. 7/11 consistently markets and in our opinion is chasing a certain demographic based on the value offering.

What we love:

What we love about all apps is the core foundation of what an app is about:

 The customer experience

Its clear that each brand in their own way have undertaken “ its not about us, its about you “ philosophy which delivers what customers want and need. We love the BPme app marketing campaign that focuses on family and not having to worry about disturbing your child’s comfort and safety.

The focus on mum in the car at night with 2 little ones provides clear insight to what BP felt is important to family’s and how they could improve the customers experience at the bowser. As a father of 4 that image translating to my own family provides instant brand respect and conversion.

We love the convenience and the receipt being emailed to you immediately. Add the BP plus and all receipts are kept in one place for future reference around tax time.

Remove the Fear

What we love the most is the BP and Caltex lack of fear of margin loss by the traditional dollar spend at the counter on other items. Seventh Beam lives and breathes “Change the way you think “and “Remove the Fear “in all aspects of our day to day professional lives.

We believe BP and Caltex have demonstrated similar values in their approach to their apps in providing true customer experience benefits as the absolute priority.

The Motivation:

A mobile app with a large number of users is able to provide a wealth of data to a company. Data that can be used to both save significant amounts of money and maximise profits on new ventures.

For BP and Caltex to know when and where their customers fill up , in what quantity and at what price is invaluable information that can drive the successful development of new sites and save millions in avoiding the development of a poor site.

Data from their mobile apps could allow BP and Caltex to intelligently link transactions and create customer profiles so they can best capture new markets and avoid cannibalising their existing sites.

What does this mean?

Whilst we don’t know what each brand invested in the app builds we look at the costs upside down. Costs considered when assessing new sites include associated market research, site purchase and site fit out plus other on associated costs. We might be wrong but we see this coming out upwards of 8 million AUD per site. Multiply this by only 10 site per year we expect the investment of the app and the key data would be less than 2.5% and will have paid for itself within 12months.

Talking candidly – a drop in the ocean for these Billion dollar companies.

 Wrap it up!

With these new apps, BP and Caltex have signalled that they’re willing to take a small loss in high margin shop sales in order to gain the wide range of benefits an attractive mobile app provides.

All the major players in the fuel industry are largely selling the same product, in similar locations, at similar prices. Brands therefore need to do something to differentiate themselves to attract brand loyalty. Attempts have been made in this area before with Coles Express and Woolworths both offering 4 and 8 cent discounts for staying loyal to their brands. Despite this the average fuel customer still chooses where to fill up based on what station is closest when their tank is empty and only sometimes taking into consideration price. BP and Caltex are looking to make their brands more attractive by utilising a unique feature of their mobile apps.

About the Authors

Danny Gambaro – Challenges the norm at the office and constantly asks ” why? ” Jury is out internally if this is frustrating or motivating.

Nick Vella – Our Uni baby who has recently been promoted to a real job title. Nick’s already demonstrating that he is a future thinker in our space.

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