Message Accomplished: Smart Antennas Create ROI for Leading Gas Station Chain

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By Alex Romanov, CEO, iSIGN Media

Gas stations have a unique competitive challenge: They’re typically located in close proximity to competitors. The price of gas may vary by a penny or two from one station to another, but often the per-gallon price is exactly the same, and the competing stations offer similar amenities and carry comparable items in their convenience stores. So how do stations differentiate their service to attract customers?

One station chain, National Oil, which operates hundreds of gas stations and convenience stores in the US under the Clark Oil, Phillips, Sunoco and Marathon brands, found a way to overcome the competitor proximity challenge with a proximity marketing solution using iSIGN Smart Antennas®. The goals were to increase sales and entice pay-at-the-pump customers to make a purchase at the store.

National Oil installed Smart Antennas and iSIGN Interactive Marketing Solution software in more than 180 gas station locations across a number of US states, covering large, medium and small markets with its proximity marketing campaign. The Smart Antennas delivered messages to mobile devices using Bluetooth® as well as a Wi-Fi landing page asking customers if they’d like to receive a coupon. The transactions were completely voluntary for customers, and no identifying information was collected.isign bluetooth messaging

With their new proximity marketing strategy, National Oil broadcast an interactive offer for a 5 to10 cent per gallon discount coupon. To drive foot traffic, the company made the coupons redeemable inside the stores. Nearly three million messages were delivered to customer smartphones and tablets via Wi-Fi, and over four million phones were discovered via Bluetooth. More than 20% of recipients viewed the coupon offers.

Participating National Oil gas stations reported a surge in foot traffic, store item and gas sales and credit card transactions. One station sold 8,000 more gallons of gas in July 2013 when compared to July of the previous year, before the Smart Antennas were installed. In addition to the new revenue, the company also received incredibly valuable information about its customers.

iSIGN Media’s proximity marketing solution is designed to protect consumer privacy and allay any fears about interacting with merchants by leveraging familiar, non-intrusive technologies like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Unlike SMS messaging-based campaigns, no personally identifying information is ever collected. But the National Oil campaign yielded actionable data on consumer preferences and buying habits, which the company in turn used to drive higher revenues.

As National Oil discovered, a permission-based mobile messaging strategy delivers real-time data and analytics that allow retailers to make adjustments on the fly to better serve their customers. With more customers coming into their stores, higher gas and convenience store item sales and an increase in credit card transaction volume, the company definitely saw a significant return on their investment.

Equally importantly, by reaching out to customers in stationary vehicles who might otherwise just swipe their card at the pump and leave without ever coming into the store, National Oil found a new way to connect and communicate with consumers. More than messaging was accomplished: The company found a way to stand out from the competitor on the other corner.

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iSIGN Media CEO Aelx Romanov

About the Author
Alex Romanov is CEO of iSIGN Media, a leading North American multiplatform advertising solutions company that utilizes Bluetooth, Mobile, Wi-Fi and Location-Aware technologies to deliver rich media, permission-based messages to engage consumers more deeply and cost-effectively. Find out more at