This week, Shell becomes the first gasoline retailer in the world to adopt Pay By Touch biometric payment technology at its pumps and inside convenience stores. A recognized industry innovator, Shell also is testing attendant hand-held wireless card scanners abroad. Both technologies are intended to add more convenience and security to customer transactions.
Simultaneously, “infotainment” technologies are also launching at various Shell-branded stations across the United States to further maximize outstanding customer experiences and to educate them about the importance of fuel quality.
“We want Shell to be the first choice for motorists and we aim to achieve that with operational excellence, said Chris Suess, manager of Global Refueling Innovations. “That involves having the right people in place, first and foremost, but it also requires keeping stride, if not staying ahead of the curve, where technology is concerned.”
Pay By Touch Finger-Scan Payments
The Pay By Touch biometric technology Shell has installed at select Chicagoland stations verifies personal identity using biometrics, the measurement of unique physical and behavioral characteristics. In this case, a simple finger scan is used to pay for a fuel purchase from an existing financial account of the driver’s choice: eCheck (a direct debit from his or her checking account), Shell Card or Shell MasterCard.
“Customers are going to walk away satisfied with this new technology because it’s faster, easier and more secure, which offers convenience and peace of mind,” said Suess. “Because the driver must be physically present to conduct the transaction, we will be able to reduce the risk of fraud and make transactions safer for our customers.”
After a quick online sign up, drivers can begin transacting immediately and begin their new-and-improved, pump-and-go lifestyle.
Keeping customers financially secure and on-the-go is only one part of the new-and-improved customer service models that Shell is researching and testing. The company is simultaneously piloting “info-tainment” technologies at various Shell Stations across the United States to further maximize the customer experience.
“Info-tainment” at the Pump
Keeping up with the multitasking consumer of the digital and multimedia age is no easy task, especially with the ever-changing technological landscape. On a daily basis, consumers are coming into contact with cell phones, computers, PDAs, iPods, etc. Information and entertainment are available on-demand 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. To reach customers accustomed to these communication formats, Shell has installed FuelCast digital pump-screens at nearly 300 Shell-branded locations across the United States. These broadcasts offer a balanced mix of programming, in-store promotions and advertising, allowing customers to get the latest score or breaking news as they fill up. To check it out, customers can go to any Pay By Touch-outfitted location, as FuelCast is available at all the same sites.
“We know our customers, on average, are only with us for less than five minutes, but it is important to Shell that its customers get the most from their money and their time,” said Suess. “Features such as Fuel Cast, or REEP, make the experience more enjoyable and memorable.”
“REEP,” or “Real-Time Rewards at Shell,” is the technological vehicle that can deliver instant rewards to American customers, including fuel price rollbacks or discounts, car wash discounts, or receipt-based coupons for c-store items. These offers are communicated to customers right at the pump through an electronic display on the pump screen during the fill-up process. REEP also delivers messaging about the benefits of Shell quality fuels and the rebates that can be earned by using the Shell MasterCard.
In addition to communicating the benefits of Shell quality fuels via REEP, the company has also invested in a traveling exhibit to demonstrate to consumers the benefits of using high-quality gasoline to stop gunky build up on critical engine parts (caused by using lower quality, discount fuels) to maintain optimum vehicle performance. Displayed at Shell Stations, the exhibit features a dual-chamber engine that allows two different gasoline products to be compared simultaneously, under identical conditions.
“This innovative exhibit allows people to see first-hand that the choices they make at the pump can have real-world consequences to their vehicle,” said Suess. “Bringing this technology to consumers at the pump is an authentic, fun and engaging way to get the point across.”