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AUSTIN, Texas -- Shell declared its intention to be "No. 1 & Beyond" at its US Fuels Conference & Trade Show, held this week in Austin. To live up to that theme, the company intends to focus on two major initiatives in 2012: the Fuel Rewards Network at Shell and its Next Generation Shell Nitrogen Enriched (SNE) Gasolines.
More than 90 percent of Shell's wholesalers attended the event, which attracted 2,000 attendees and 235 vendors, Rick Altizer, Shell North America retail marketing delivery manager, told CSNews Online. That made the show -- the first Shell has held in three years -- the single largest one the company has ever seen.
The Fuel Rewards Network (FRN) is powered by partner company, Excentus, and expands customers' ability to accrue rewards points through shopping at participating stores. Now, drivers who take a free FRN Card from a participating Shell gas station and register for free at www.fuelrewards.com can earn points through shopping at FRN grocers, FRN e-Coupons, FRN Dining and the FRN Online Mall, with more than 700 merchants such as Home Depot, Barnes & Noble, Macy's and more. Rewards points can then be redeemed at participating Shell stations, up to a maximum of 20 gallons per fuel purchase.
Through the FRN, Shell is targeting the "rewards-seeking" consumer -- those who make their purchase decisions based on their ability to get a good value. According to Dan Little, Shell's fuels marketing manager for North America, the FRN can provide these consumers with the "really significant savings" they seek.
"Consumers are going to be able to choose their own price from now on, just by doing things they're already doing today," he said.
The Shell Fuel Rewards Network is set to roll out in phases during 2012, capitalizing on the existing 3.5 million Shell consumers who already use their grocer loyalty card to accrue discounts.
Shell's second major initiative, the Next Generation Shell Nitrogen Enriched Gasolines will launch in March 2012. The Houston-based company plans to support the launch with a multi-channel national campaign that includes radio, TV and online advertising, as well as outdoor signage and site point-of-purchase, the company said.
Shell originally launched SNE at its 2008 trade show. The Next Generation SNE contains a new and improved formula, designed to deliver 20 percent more active cleaning agents for a vehicle's engine, and it works in both conventional and modern engines. Its development was prompted by consumer needs, since most drivers are keeping their cars on the road longer these days.
As a major company initiative, the new SNE fuel targets the "quality believers," Little said. These customers "choose their brands specifically because of how they feel about the quality of gasoline and its differentiation factors," he noted.
Earlier this year, Shell promoted its SNE Gasolines through gas giveaways and the Shell Smarter Driving Program, as CSNews Online reported. For this latest version of SNE fuel, Shell wanted to build upon and go beyond its original launch success with the proprietary and exclusive gas, company executives explained.
It "delivers benefits the consumer recognizes," said Little. "It truly is a product that is unsurpassed in the industry."