MetroSplash, GasBuddy OpenStore Form Alliance

Focused on bringing social networking loyalty platform to convenience industry

DALLAS -- MetroSplash Systems Group Inc. and GasBuddy OpenStore Inc. have formed a strategic alliance to better serve the convenience industry. The Texas-based companies plan to build on a relationship that began with their roles in helping York, Pa.-based Rutter's Farm Stores, a family-owned chain of 56 convenience stores, with the September launch of its Rutter's Rewards loyalty program.

Rutter's customers can earn cents off gasoline with their purchases of some 1,500 everyday items. The program makes use of the MetroSplash FuelLinks and Gas Buddy OpenStore systems.[image-nocss]

MetroSplash, a leader in fuel-based loyalty technology, issues/redeems FuelLinks in more than 20,000 brick-and-mortar locations, including fuel centers, grocery stores, c-stores and community merchants along with more than 600 online retailers. For instance, FuelLinks enables Rutter's to role back the price of gasoline when Rutter's Rewards customers redeem their earnings. MetroSplash is based in Highland Village, Texas.

"The consumer's loyalty for a given store or brand starts when they choose where to shop," said Steve Babick, CEO of MetroSplash. "Increasingly, this decision is made while they are mobile or engaged in a social network. FuelLinks allows retailers to reward the decision at the point of purchase."

GasBuddy OpenStore Inc., headquartered in Houston, recently introduced its OpenStore social network marketing platform, which is designed to boost in-store sales of merchandise and food through targeted electronic promotions. OpenStore comprises a database of 64 million unique users. Other GasBuddy affiliates are best known for operating more than 200 regional Web sites in the United States and Canada that gather gas prices through a network of volunteer gas-price spotters in each area.

For Rutter's, GasBuddy developed an iPhone application that allows customers to track current gasoline price data, collected through a GasBuddy affiliate, at each Rutter's store.

"With Rutter's, we recognized right away how well the MetroSplash and GasBuddy OpenStore systems and teams complemented one another," said Jason Toews, co-CEO of GasBuddy OpenStore. "This strategic alliance will ensure that our clients have all of the tools they need to maximize the effectiveness of their loyalty programs."

Added Dustin Coupal, co-CEO of GasBuddy OpenStore: "Collaboration is really the watchword when it comes to targeting consumers. Working with the folks at MetroSplash, we can offer a more robust solution to retailers as they look to do an even better job of understanding and influencing consumer behavior."