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GasBuddy Offers Beacons, Dashboard to Gas-Station Convenience Stores
The free beacon solution is designed to help retailers increase pump-to-store traffic by delivering personalized ads, promotions and discounts to GasBuddy's users.
GasBuddy met with several beacon solution providers, but ultimately opted to develop its own beacon program. This consisted of beacons manufactured by a third party, as well as a custom dashboard that stations and brands could use to set up coupons, promotions or messages for consumers.
In November 2014, the company launched a three-month pilot in the Philadelphia area, in partnership with 42 Sunoco stations. It divided the stations into three categories: those for which app users would view the regular price of two energy drinks for $5, being sold at the convenience store, but receive no special offers; those offering app users a free water with the purchase of two energy drinks at the same price; and those for which no promotional content was provided at all. Thirty-one percent of those in the first group entered the store after receiving the message, 46 percent of those being offered the free waters entered and only 26 percent of those offered no content entered.
Based on those pilots' results, GasBuddy began offering the beacons at no cost in late summer. The beacons are powered by USB adapters that plug into standard electrical outlets. The company recommends that a store install the beacon somewhere near a front window, where it can transmit at a distance of up to about 300 feet.
The retailer has free access to a dashboard that lists any promotions being offered there by consumer brand owners whose merchandise is sold at that store. There is no fee for the store to provide these brand offers. However, if the retailer wishes to include its own messages specific to that particular store—such as one free cup of coffee with the purchase of a donut—it would pay a fee for each message viewed by a GasBuddy app user.
Since developing the beacon-based solution, GasBuddy has been working with several major providers of product brands typically sold at gas-station convenience stores, as well as having discussions with others about offering promotions via the beacon system on GasBuddy's app. Those promotions can be offered at all stores selling a particular brand's products, or per specific regions, or by specific retailers (such as 7-Eleven).
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