HOUSTON -- Shell Oil Co. announced an agreement with a loyalty consulting and management firm to provide Shell wholesalers in-store marketing support in the form of negotiating promotions, providing marketing materials and developing social-media solutions, officials said.
The firm, Exclusive Connection$, Freeport, Ill., will operate under a Shell program called Diamond Deals, which are partnerships Shell has created with vendors to offer “best-class pricing” with regard to promotional deals and discounts.
“With Diamond Deals, Shell has created a way for companies like ours to effectively provide services to retailers in this channel at effective rates that allow for scalability while providing great value to the location,” said Jamie Hudson, president of Exclusive Connection$.
Hudson supports loyalty programs in the convenience channel by leveraging consumer packaged goods (CPG) and direct-store delivery suppliers to drive promotional rebates through loyalty while limiting retailer workload.
“Exclusive Connection$ is an extension of our company,” said John Wagner of Wagner Oil, Antigo, Wis. “If we did not have their service, we would have to hire a person to do the work they are doing for us and charging a monthly fee to each site.”
Wagner said the effort has “tripled” the participation in his loyalty program since it started in 2013.
“Shell Fuel Rewards is essentially installed in almost every Shell station,” Hudson of Exclusive Connection$ told CSP Daily News. “But they leave it up to the wholesaler or retailer to operate the promotional activity. We’ve worked with Shell so we can negotiate discounts with CPGs.”
For Shell retailers, the package includes enlisting suppliers locally, regionally and nationally to drive additional promotional incentives into the Fuel Rewards program, which Dallas-based Excentus Corp. owns and operates.
“Shell has a leg up above everybody else from a major-oil standpoint because they enabled their entire network to accept their rewards card,” Hudson said. “For other industry players, it was a choice for the retailer to accept it, but in the Shell world, they got their entire market on their program. It allows them to bring different types of [vendor] offers to the [entire network] vs. having to sell each individual chain or retailer.”
In addition to enlisting suppliers for these promotional incentives, Exclusive Connection$ supports clients with promotional, point-of-purchase management strategies, rebate settlement and reporting services, as well as creating social-media and text programs to drive promotion visibility.
Having joined the program last year, Brent Walker, owner of the Pennfield Food Mart in Battle Creek, Mich., said, “I have seen great growth and progress in the Fuel Rewards program at my store. They do a great job at making sure deals are known and seen by the customer.”
Don Johnson, vice president of operations and facilities, Humboldt Petroleum, Eureka, Calif., said he is impressed with the social-media aspect of the program. “The development of social media with our business and this program has been impactful and very simple to maintain and use” Johnson said.