Shell Goes Nationwide With Fuel Rewards Network

Customers can shop grocers, restaurants, 700-merchant online mall to earn "stackable" fuel discounts

Greg Lindenberg, Editor, CSP

AUSTIN, Texas -- Shell announced two major initiatives this week at its annual Shell US Fuels Conference & Trade Show. More than 2,000 attendees, about 90% of Shell-branded wholesalers from around the country, came together in Austin, Texas, where--ahead of a retail rollout--the company shared details about its new Fuel Rewards Network (FRN) and its new Next Generation Shell Nitrogen-Enriched (SNE) Gasolines to let dealers know what's coming for 2012 and 2013.

Both initiatives will see consumer launches early next year, Rick Altizer, Shell North America retail marketing delivery manager told CSP Daily News.

The Fuel Rewards Network--which Shell will launch in phases during 2012--will help consumers save on all three grades of Shell gasolines and diesel by making everyday purchases such as groceries, dining out, clothing and Shell c-store products and services. It will also help Shell-branded wholesalers and retailers, the company said, by providing the opportunity to attract new customers and grow their existing loyalty base, boost nonfuel sales and leverage manufacturer funding of discounts.

FRN will let consumers decide how, and how much, they want to save. They must pick up a free FRN Card--a nationwide loyalty card--at any participating Shell station and register online at

Then, they will be able to add and combine their purchases at FRN grocers, FRN e-Coupons, FRN Dining or the FRN Online Mall with more than 700 participating brand name merchants such as Home Depot, Macy's, Nike, JC Penney, Barnes & Noble and more.

These "stackable" rewards may be redeemed at participating Shell locations with a maximum of 20 gallons per fuel purchase. FRN members will be able to track and manage their rewards online.

An exclusive relationship with Dallas-based loyalty marketing firm Excentus Corp. allows Shell to bring together the FRN offers and options.

The new rewards network is built on what Shell has done with grocer rewards, Dan Little, North American fuels marketing manager, told CSP Daily News. Those programs attract a new customer to Shell, which the company calls "reward seekers." Little said that they are "price sensitive, but they are collectors, planners--people who want to get a good deal. And they also use technology and social media to find those deals and share those deals."

The grocer relationships are market by market, and Shell wanted to be able "to offer fuel rewards to all of our customers in all sites."

Shell currently has fuel rewards in 8,000 of its 14,000 sites through grocers, it is "now going to be able to offer significant fuel rewards to all customers, in all sites, across the nation."

FRN complements the grocer rewards program, it does not replace it, Little said. "It is built to sit along side of the existing grocer rewards programs" and to work in conjunction with them.

Like the existing grocer programs, the rewards are funded by the issuing partner (grocer, restaurant, etc.). The Shell dealer pays the same fee (3.5 cents per gallon) regardless of the size of the redemption. There is an option if a dealer wants to issue his or her own site rewards.

The investment in this program is "minimal," the company said.

As of today, 3.5 million Shell consumers use their grocer loyalty card to redeem discounts. Of these consumers, 2.5 million were new to Shell. These new-to-Shell consumers purchased an average of 21 gallons per month. The one million existing Shell consumers who have begun redeeming their grocer rewards are now purchasing six gallons more per month, said the company.

At the request of wholesalers, Shell also created an optional module, a customizable, turnkey program called Shell Fuel Rewards, which allows the dealer to convert their existing promotions into cents-per-gallon discounts that can be redeemed within the FRN.

Houston-based Shell Oil Products US, a subsidiary of Shell Oil Co., is a leader in the refining, transportation and marketing of fuels, and has a network of approximately 6,100 branded gasoline stations in the western United States. Shell Oil Co. is an affiliate of the Shell Group. Shell Oil is a 50% owner of Motiva Enterprises LLC, along with Saudi Refining Inc. Motiva refines and markets branded products through approximately 8,200 Shell-branded stations in the eastern and southern United States. Royal Dutch Shell plc is incorporated in England and Wales, with headquarters in The Hague.