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FAIRFAX, Va. -- As ExxonMobil continues its transition out of the direct-served retail business, the company is looking more to technology to be a point of differentiation that separates the Exxon and Mobil brands from the other fuel offerings in the market.
"When we made the decision to transition to a 100-percent jobber -- or what we call a branded wholesaler model -- we knew we needed to look at what our value proposition would be to our wholesalers," Ben Soraci, U.S. retail sales director for ExxonMobil Fuels Marketing, said in an interview with CSNews Online yesterday. "We identified the digital space as an opportunity for us. At ExxonMobil, we are very much a technology-driven company."
The newest way ExxonMobil is leveraging digital is through the launch of its first-ever mobile application. Yesterday, the Fairfax, Va.-based company introduced the "Exxon Mobil Fuel Finder" App for iPhone and iPod Touch, which can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store.
The application provides drivers with real-time maps, driving directions and station information for more than 10,000 Exxon and Mobil retail locations across the continental U.S.
"For our loyal customers, it provides them a tool to use when they're planning a trip in a different part of town. But also, with the significant reach of iPhone and iPod Touch, we're getting the free download to anyone who wants it," Soraci told CSNews Online. "That's going to give us reach to a customer who might not be an Exxon or Mobil customer, and that will drive business to our branded wholesalers."
The Exxon Mobil Fuel Finder is a mobile version of the company's popular online station locator, available since January 2001 at www.exxonmobilstations.com. The application relies on GPS technology to identify a user's location and then highlights nearby Exxon and Mobil stations on an interactive Google map. An advanced filtering feature distinguishes stations by hours, fuel sold, pay at the pump, convenience store, Speedpass, car wash and service bay.
The App also includes an "Our Gasoline" section where users can learn how Exxon and Mobil fuels help clean intake valves and keep vital engine parts, such as fuel injectors, clean.
Earlier this year, ExxonMobil introduced a similar station locator tool for GPS devices. The feature, which allows customers to download Exxon and Mobil service station locations to their devices, is downloadable from the ExxonMobil station locator Web site and compatible with leading consumer GPS units, including Garmin, TomTom and Magellan. "We've had a lot of good feedback on that," Soraci noted. "A lot of folks have downloaded it."
ExxonMobil also plans to introduce an application for Android in the coming months.
Soraci said the company will continue to look for ways it can leverage the digital space to drive business. "Today, technology is more and more a part of our lives. The amount of people who have smartphones and are using social media continues to grow. It's important for us to look at how we can use digital to connect with our branded wholesalers and consumers," he said.
ExxonMobil is the largest publicly traded international oil and gas company.