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.
By Claire Swedberg
Nov 30, 2015

GasBuddy, a company that provides retail gas-price information via its website and app, has launched a new functionality with its service that lets gasoline retailers and consumer product brands deliver promotional offers to customers fueling up at their pumps. As part of the solution, GasBuddy is distributing free Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons to any of the 150,000 gas-station convenience stores in the United States, as well as to similar Canadian businesses. Those beacons will enable brands and the stations themselves to push promotional content to customers using the GasBuddy app. To date, the app—available at the Google Play, Apple App Store, Windows Phone and BlackBerry websites—has been downloaded 52 million times in the United States and Canada. The app lists current gas prices for 150,000 locations.

Since late summer, GasBuddy has provided approximately 1,100 stations with beacons, says Greg Fox, the company's VP of business development. GasBuddy expects to reach 5,000 stations by the end of this year, he adds.

The GasBuddy beacon, which is powered by a USB adapter that plugs into a standard electrical outlet, is installed somewhere near a store's front window.
GasBuddy was launched in 2000 as a website where motorists could sign in to view gas prices in their area, based on zip code or city. In 2010, it released an app that provides individuals with prices of gasoline at stations based on geolocation data provided by their smartphones. Each station's prices are collected from the consumers themselves; while at a station, a customer can input gas prices and earn points to join a lottery to win a $100 gas card.

However, Fox says, there is another sales opportunity for gas stations that isn't being leveraged with the app—and that's in-store sales. Currently, he notes, most gas-station convenience stores advertise merchandise and promotional offers via physical ads, such as "pump toppers," counter displays and window clings. "That's very stale," he states, "very old-school."

GasBuddy is now offering a much more modern solution, Fox says. The app was already delivering coupons from participating consumer product brands—such as a discount on energy drinks or snacks. However, to make the coupons (or any other promotional content) targeted specifically to the consumer at the location where that motorist is fueling, GasBuddy began looking into beacon technology.

Geolocation technology, Fox explains, provides location data but draws heavily on a user's phone battery, and the location data offered is not very precise. Therefore, he says, if two stations are across the street from each other, the system might be unable to determine which one the user is standing in front of.

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