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SAVANNAH, Ga. — Fuel pricing has made tremendous strides in the past several years.
Years ago, driving around looking at what other area convenience stores sold fuel for was the main way to determine the proper asking price. But today, there are products like PriceAdvantage's 2014.2 fuel pricing software, which The Parker Cos. implemented at its 36 stores quickly after the Aug. 26 release date.
"It builds a function to give you a projected [fuel] price based on historic data and how you want to allocate a margin vs. volume ratio," Jeff Bush, director of fuel management at Parker's, told CSNews Online. "It builds economic models."
John Keller, director of product development at PriceAdvantage, said a key new feature in version 2014.2 is the ability to build robust strategies that allow c-store retailers to be "much more informed of what's going on the market, and [it] has complex business rules set up that allow you to quickly identify the right move to make as the market is changing, whether from a cost standpoint or a competitor scenario."
PriceAdvantage 2014.2 also features the ability to view weather forecasts, traffic reports, maps and Google Street View so that c-store operators know the prices at the pump at their own stores and competitors, and can view photos of these stores, reported Keller.
"Sure, the photo wasn't taken yesterday," he acknowledged. "But it allows you to see a lot, such as if a competitor has an awning and how many pumps they have. It can really give you a general sense of the quality and customer experience the competitor offers."
Thanks to these features, Savannah, Ga.-based Parker's is able to achieve more cents-per-gallon profit and the c-store chain can react more quickly to strategic moves made by competitors, stated Bush.
"You get a real-time realization of what you should or shouldn't do the second a competitor changes [fuel] prices," he noted. "It's one of those 'wow' moments."
EASE OF USE
Above all, Parker's director of fuel management believes the best feature PriceAdvantage 2014.2 provides for convenience store retailers is more time to work on other projects.
"It gives us an accurate way to change our prices and gauge competitor prices through surveys," he explained. "What it really provides is control. It gives us the most efficient control of changing prices at the pump and gives us a good accurate look at our data."
Considering Bush needs to travel to different stores often, having the software operate in the cloud is another distinct benefit. The software operates seamlessly whether he's using a corporate computer, smartphone or tablet device.
Parker's considered competitor fuel pricing software in the past, Bush told CSNews Online, but PriceAdvantage won out for its "intelligent and intuitive" products. Ease of use was another top reason the c-store chain selected PriceAdvantage.
"What's great about it is that a person who has never used the software can sit down, learn the software and really see what it does in five to 10 minutes," Bush relayed. "Other competitors are just as tech savvy, but some are presented in a more clunky manner. PriceAdvantage does a super job of making it user friendly."
Colorado Springs, Colo.-based PriceAdvantage is a division of Skyline Products Inc.