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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Royal Farms Convenience Stores, the 120-store Baltimore, Md.-based chain, is testing a new central control fuel pricing software product from Skyline Products called PriceAdvantage.
The patent-pending software allows petroleum marketers at corporate headquarters to remotely update fuel pricing in the field at the POS system, the pump, and the Skyline Electronic Price Display -- all from a computer, laptop and PDA.
Rob Rinehart, Royal Farms director of gasoline trading, said, "The PriceAdvantage pilot program has given us the opportunity to test-drive the product on a limited basis and to evaluate its benefits. With PriceAdvantage in place, I know the competitors' prices within seconds of a change. I can fine-tune our prices instantly, and I receive immediate confirmation that the changes occurred. We're seeing the positive impact on gross margins already and the pilot program has proven to be cost-effective. We are now in process of implementing the PriceAdvantage solution at all of our store locations in 2007."
PriceAdvantage automates the three major components of a typical fuel-pricing process: competitive data collection, analysis and price implementation at the store. Recent competitive price changes are available real-time via electronic updates from either an in-store, touch-screen input device by store personnel; Web applications providing third-party data sources, like OPIS and GasBuddy; or back-office imports. Fuel managers can set up customizable pricing rules against which new competitive data is evaluated (e.g. "maintain Store A's unleaded, mid, premium fuels at one cent below primary competitor").
Updates to fuel pricing can then be sent instantly to the site's POS system, the dispenser, and the Skyline Electronic Price Display -- freeing store managers to focus on customer service. By integrating with back-office accounting systems, like PDI, PriceAdvantage also includes easy-to-use pricing analysis tools to enable the pricing managers to determine price points at which store profitability is maximized.
"Using PriceAdvantage, our customers can remotely execute their individual fuel pricing strategy per store, per grade in real-time," said Greg Stadjuhar, Skyline Products vice president of sales and marketing. "With today's market volatility, companies can no longer solely rely on the store manager to change the price, collect the competitive data and confirm the changes were made. According to OPIS from 2005 to present, the average retailer changes fuel prices five or more times per week. PriceAdvantage enables savvy petroleum marketers, like Royal Farms, the ability to instantly react to competitive market changes from anywhere and confirm -- with absolute certainty -- that the changes occurred. The ROI is very compelling when new price generation and implementation can be reduced to minutes, which for most operators would formerly take hours."