Though innovators in multiple markets have installed out-of-home video systems to boost sales and create new revenue streams, the fuel industry is witnessing especially fast-building competition for the promotion of products inside its full-serve-turned-self-serve mini store locations.
In the video industry, these are called digital-out-of home (DOOH) systems. At gas stations, they take the shape of small TV screens located atop or as part of the fuel pump form factor. They use video programming to promote products inside the location and often provide quick weather info and a top news story, as is the case with Mobil’s high-res color screen systems.
Early DOOH entrant Mobil has been joined by competitor Cumberland Farms, in the race to sell more than gas, with in-pump screens, with other gas station chains expected to quickly join the fray.
While you are gassing up as a captive audience for more than a few minutes, you’re faced with video and audio designed to draw you into their convenience store-type location whether you pay at the pump or not.
This represents an emerging trend in the gas vertical market, but DOOH systems are gaining ground elsewhere as 7-Eleven is implementing a massive in-store system on which it also sells advertising and provides useful daily information. Wal-Mart has deployed an in-store IPTV (News - Alert) system to connect shoppers with sales items and special promotions.
Gas stations clearly realized that generating sales beyond gas at their mini-stores requires luring the consumer into the locations. Over time, most self-serves have evolved from selling little more than newspapers, soda and quarts of oil to a convenient store-like array of consumer products (not auto services), and often far beyond.
While these early gas industry DOOH drivers have yet to report sales generated or assisted from the systems (a difficult figure to calculate). The quickening spread of these systems speaks to the confidence that their parent companies and franchisees have in video as a means of powering in-location consumer product sales.
And one prominent vendor and systems integrator, Harris Corp. (News - Alert), has already created a DOOH entity to focus on opportunities for these offerings, and is handling the rollout of 7-Eleven’s massive system. It comprises strategically located in-store screens that provide marketing video and news, as well as advertising, which generates a second revenue stream.
A big factor in the spread of DOOH systems in the gas industry is the pace at which the “stations” are undergoing extreme makeovers into larger locations with expanded facilities, the latest pumps and, of course, whatever technology can be applied for the biggest revenue gain. What better time to add pump-top or in-pump video screens than when everything short of the ground itself is being upgraded or replaced?
Just Starting Up
The actual systems used in the gas industry do vary with the Cumberland Farms in-pump screen also capable of providing info on the actual gas transaction followed by the products pitch. Expect to see a variety of approaches as DOOH use in this vertical spreads, and brands decide on the approach that best suits their goals.
In the meantime, count on DOOH video coming to a gas pump near you.
Edited by Ryan Sartor
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