SAN ANTONIO -- H-E-B Food/Drug Stores here is expanding a frequent-shopper program related to its gasoline sales from 40 to 85 stores, according to James Aulds, petroleum marketing director.
The Fuel Rewards program provides discounts on gas to shoppers who buy promotional items. "We have been posting substantial sales increases in almost every product line participating in the Fuel Rewards program," Aulds said. "With the price of gas on the rise, the program is becoming an even more powerful incentive to grocery shop at H-E-B."
For example, sales of one grocery item rose by 50% while on promotion compared with other stores that didn't have a gas operation, he said. H-E-B has a total of 260 stores. The Fuel Rewards program was developed by Fuel Marketing Solutions, Dallas.
Retailers are looking for ways to tie their new gasoline programs in promotionally with other products in the store, especially in this time of escalating fuel prices, industry observers said.
Other retailers participating in the Fuel Rewards program are Meijer, Grand Rapids, Mich., and Albertson's, Boise, Idaho. Consumers take advantage of the program by purchasing specified products and then receiving an additional receipt from the retailer's point-of-sale system that they bring to the gas pumps. For example, a consumer could save $4.20 in gas by buying two boxes of cereal, two cartons of orange juice, one pack of razors and a six-pack of bar soap.
H-E-B has been promoting the program in print and broadcast advertising. The program also is being supported in stores with signage and shelf talkers, as well as posters. Advertising is placed at the gas pumps to draw customers into the stores to purchase the related products.
"The sales lift figures H-E-B is experiencing are similar to what our other supermarkets are achieving, and we believe this is just the start," said a source familiar with the program. "As the Fuel Rewards program expands throughout the country and even more manufacturers participate, we expect the program to become a way of life for consumers."