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How Gas Stations Use Location Data

Running a successful gas station means juggling a variety of data feeds. The timing of these feeds can also create lags that affect reporting and decision-making. Discrepancies are often calculated by looking at fuel dispense totals, outside pumps sales, and authorized inside sales. 

But what if we add a layer of location data to study consumer behavior? What can foot traffic tell us about the energy market, competition, and future revenue?  

Key Takeaways

  • Location data can be used to analyze gas prices and trends in gas station usage
  • Gain deeper insight into the supply chain, distribution, and logistics
  • Foot traffic helps to develop best practices for both urban and rural gas station locations
  • It can be used to better understand the future of gas station sales and revenue
  • Location data helps to assess the efficacy of customer loyalty programs

Analyzing Prices

Although the purchase of electric vehicles is on the rise, the majority of Americans still heavily rely on gas stations to power their cars. Location data can help to unlock insights into the cost of gas and the ever-changing market. 

Does the combination of rising gas prices and pandemic travel restrictions affect gas station usage? Do gas prices affect foot traffic at the pumps

Everyone expects consumer behavior to change when there’s an increase in price, but surprisingly, it had the opposite effect of what was anticipated. Due to the recent pandemic, people were looking to escape, but they didn’t necessarily want to get on a plane or other forms of risky transportation (like trains and boats). 

Studying location data showed that there has been an incredible amount of resilience in the face of exceedingly high gas prices. Unacast found that when prices were at their lowest, so was traffic to the gas stations. 

Demand Forecasting

Location data can be used to better understand the future of gas station sales and revenue. It helps to gain a deeper insight into your supply chain, logistics, and distribution. 

Gas stations can use mobility data and foot traffic counts to make smarter decisions with real-world data. It enables sharper demand forecasting based on specific data points like consumer behavior and activity.

Location data can help a gas station do things like:

  • Understand site potential using venue-specific foot traffic as a proxy 
  • Plan for opening, closing, or growing of sites and market areas 
  • Unlock trends for any area using custom-defined locations
  • Explore changes in area demographic profiles that impact sales 

Gas stations can also use location data to measure consumer activity at precise locations. This helps to optimize logistics and supply chain planning. 

Urban vs Rural Site Selection

A gas station in the country and a gas station in the city are two completely separate business models. In the city, people tend to linger less. In the country, people take their time. 

The disparity in the amount of time spent in a store is evident in foot traffic data and location intelligence analysis. This can help a brand determine the best possible site selection for future business. 

Differences in culture play a role here. Rural gas stations often have expansive stores with food programs and quick-service restaurants (QSRs). They are truly a one-stop shop. In fact, studies show that many consumers prefer “gas-station coffee” over regular retailers.  

Studying location data can help a store form better “best practices” for drawing customers in and encouraging them to spend more time on the premises. It can help to assess site performance and develop strategies to increase sales. 

Assessing Loyalty Programs

Wondering if all those dollars you are dropping into customer loyalty programs work? There appears to be a strong affinity between cost-conscious consumers and gas stations with strong loyalty programs. 

Studying consumer behavior with other metrics like sales, prices, and usage will show you how effective your loyalty programs really are. Consistently offering cheaper prices than competitors through programs customers sign up for has a multitude of benefits. This includes:

  • Allows for deeper discounts which, in turn, attracts more people to the program
  • Data the customer provides gives deeper insight into competitive intelligence strategies
  • Provide discounts in-store as well, which draws more consumers inside
  • Price match programs that automatically lowers the price if a competitor is lower 

Gas Stations and Location Intelligence

The number of companies who want to use location data is growing significantly faster than companies who can use location data. Here’s why: data without interpretation is like paint in a jar — it’s not until you apply it to a canvas that it begins to mean something.

The quicker a gas station jumps on board the location data train, the greater a competitive advantage it will have. Studying foot traffic and consumer behavior provides a deeper level of data insight you won’t find anywhere else. While other metrics simply scratch the surface, location data tells the entire story. 

Want to know more about how gas stations are leveraging location data right now? Check out our retail location data buyer’s guide and if you have any questions, schedule a meeting today.

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