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Unique fuel rewards programme to go nationwide

Plans for unique fuel rewards programme to go nationwide

SMARTFUEL pilot going from strength to strength Plans for unique fuel rewards programme to go nationwide

A new fuel rewards programme has seen around $37,000 worth of fuel savings issued in Palmerston North and Feilding over the past six weeks and is proving such a success that plans are now in place for a national roll out next year.

Smartfuel lets consumers accumulate their individual fuel discounts from a range of participating retailers to deliver larger fuel savings. The discounts are accrued and stored against a magnetic strip card, ultimately removing the need for keeping paper dockets.

Palmerston North and Feilding residents are currently reaping the benefits with more than 15% of households in the area using the card. There have been hundreds of redemptions since the pilot launched in September, with the largest being $1.50 per litre savings after just five weeks of the programme going live.

Pioneered by New Zealand businessmen Scott Fitchett and Ian Sutcliffe, Smartfuel has received positive reviews from both retailers and customers, and there are now plans for a New Zealand wide roll out.

"Feedback has been encouraging," says Mr Fitchett. "Many consumers are actively seeking out retailers so they can earn rewards, and we also have a number of retailers contacting us as they want to join the Smartfuel programme."

Tim Southey, Brand Manager Bridgestone New Zealand Ltd says current participating retailer Bridgestone Palmerston North is impressed with results to date.

"Customer response has been very positive with some customers already using their cards twice, totaling about 80 cents in rebates."

Smartfuel co-director and Auckland-based marketing expert Ian Sutcliffe says the powerful customer proposition of "save money on fuel immediately", along with the simplicity and flexibility of the programme are key attributes to success to date.

"Smartfuel can be used by any business as a reward to their customers. It is run through existing eftpos terminals and/or over the internet so no additional hardware is needed.

"And with a number of customers enjoying between 70 and 90 cents per litre off their fuel, the consumer benefits speak for themselves."

As one Firestone customer aptly put it: "It's good that you can keep accumulating discounts . . . I hope it catches on because it makes you feel a lot better when you go to pay for something and it becomes half the price you thought it would be!"

Next steps for the Smartfuel team are to grow the existing stable of retailers, fine tune elements and finalise plans to take the programme nationwide.

"We currently have 46 retail outlets on board and are talking to some well known brands about being part of the national roll out" says Mr Sutcliffe. "Results are tracking in the right direction and we are working through details to make the programme available around the country next year."

Customers can currently pick up their free Smartfuel cards from all participating retailers and Mobil and Caltex service stations in Palmerston North and Feilding.


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