Universal fuel rewards program aims to challenge dominance of big two supermarkets

A new rewards program is aiming to challenge the dominance of the fuel offers operated by Coles and Woolworths.

Touted as a ‘universal marketing mechanic,’ FuelCents says it’s opening up fuel rewards to any business or brand with a national rewards program set to launch in November.

Parent company iMobileMedia says it anticipates strong participation from the nation’s two million independent businesses.

The media release from FuelCents reads:

Any business or brand, large or small can now lodge FuelCents offers that can be redeemed at any petrol outlet in Australia. This includes every independent petrol retailer and all major petrol retail groups.

By opening fuel rewards to everyone, FuelCents dilutes the fuel price imbalance that has resulted from Coles and Woolworths exclusive offers. This supports competition, benefiting fair trade across both petrol and grocery retailing.

Rob Keogh, chief technology officer at iMobileMedia, said the system works with the shopper collecting FuelCents as an activity incentive or reward on purchases. The receipt (shopper docket) from the petrol purchase is zapped with the ScanZap app and the reward value is rebated to the shopper’s account in moments.

There is no limit on the FuelCents that can be redeemed in one transaction, which means motorists could be redeeming 20, 40, 60 cents per litre on fuel purchases at any petrol outlet. The unique appeal is that households can collect FuelCents on multiple retailer or brand purchases anywhere, then aggregate the rewards into a single claim at any petrol outlet. Some businesses propose to present FuelCents as an ongoing reward, with offers like ‘Get 20 c/L on each tank fill for 6 months’!


“There is no doubt about the compelling attraction of fuel discounts for consumers. They are said to drive over $1 billion in trade to Coles and Woolworths,” Keogh says.

The impact on competition of fuel rewards as an exclusive practice has been under the spotlight at the ACCC as well as scrutiny by independent retailers’ groups.

The introduction of FuelCents may mean the big two grocers are off the hook, says Keogh. “Now, as opposed to the ACCC blocking Coles and Woolworths, independent stores and their suppliers can compete in their value proposition to shoppers.

“The combined trade from the two million businesses of the independent groups, together with their suppliers and five million staff, means independent businesses have an equal, if not wider, capability to leverage fuel rewards to engage customer loyalty.”

During the launch phase of FuelCents, iMobileMedia is offering subsidised rewards to get businesses, suppliers, brand manufacturers and retailers on board.


Welcome to the revolution: Petrol pump ads

In the average day, an Australian will be exposed to 300 advertising messages. Or is it 500? Or is it 1000? Whatever the number is, it will be higher now, with Woolworths Petrol announcing it will sell ad space on its petrol pumps. No, not on the bowsers, where we’ve seen TV ad screens popping up already, but on the actual pumps as well.

In a 2 page-long press release accompanied by two more email’s worth of super high-resolution photos of the pump ads in action, Woolworth’s ad partner Seemedia Group meticulously deconstructs the specifics of its new execution.

“Seemedia Group has signed a deal with Woolworths Petrol that will give Australian brand owners an innovative new out of home media platform that offers unprecedented consumer engagement,” reads the release.

“The deal sees Seemedia enter into an arrangement with Woolworths to provide advertising space on petrol pump nozzles at 400 Woolworths forecourts nationwide through a petrol pump advertising device called FillBoardTM.”

“FillBoard™ is a patented and integrated petrol pump handle unit capable of holding and displaying a high quality printed graphic that faces directly at the consumer while filling their vehicle.”

For those a little confused, ‘FillBoard™’ is indeed just a piece of paper glued on to the nozzle of a petrol pump.

“FillBoard has already attracted considerable interest from some of Australia’s leading brand owners,” continues the release. “Nestle, PepsiCo, GIO, NRMA, Visa and others have already conducted campaigns with some outstanding results. In two separate campaigns for Kit Kat, in-store sales increased a spectacular 84% and 19%.”

Or maybe it’s working because of the “six intense ‘hands-on’ contacts” consumers have with the fuel pump when filling their vehicle, which the release says occurs…

1) While selecting the fuel grade

2) As the nozzle is lifted from the pump

3) While the nozzle is inserted into the tank

4) At least once while fuelling the vehicle

5) As the nozzle is removed from the tank, and

6) As the nozzle is placed back in the bowser

“Petrol pump advertising delivers an unavoidable one on one interaction with each consumer for up to four minutes,” Seemedia Group’s managing director Chaz Heitner says.

“Couple this engagement with a mass market reach capability and you have a compelling value proposition to take to Australian advertisers.”