Do You Always Buy One Brand Of Gasoline?

Do you always buy one brand of gasoline?   According to a recent study by The NPD Group, a market research firm, which asked consumers just that question, only 28 percent of respondents in the first quarter of 2009 answered yes, as opposed to 34 percent of respondents in the first quarter of 2000.   Further analysis by NPD reveals that the most loyal consumer strata (those over 65) choose one brand of gasoline because of the firm’s credit card loyalty program.  

But this is not necessarily real loyalty.  Customer loyalty requires an emotional bond, connection with the brand in addition to purchase behavior.  The least loyal consumer strata (those 18 to 29) reported that loyalty is driven by convenience store offerings.  

David Portalatin, industry analyst for NPD’s automotive unit, said, “It’s going to take best-in-class retailing, including fresh food offerings and a diversity of products and services to attract and retain drivers’ fuel purchases in the future.”   This is an interesting observation in that the over 65 strata is loyal because of discounts and perks provided through the loyalty program, while the 18 to 29 strata is loyal because of convenience store offerings, not price.  

One convenience store chain, QuikTrip, offers 24 different fountain products and encourages consumers to play with their drinks by providing drink recipes, such as: Kiss the Rooster, Blue Thunder, and Shake It Up Baby.   Just as important, QuikTrip’s mission includes a commitment to quality and a commitment to do things right through quality employees, quality store facilities, quality management, quality store precautions, and quality in community support.   Just in case they missed anything, the mission also includes, “Quality in everything we do.   We guarantee it.”   How many stores, let alone convenience store, do you know that are committed to quality store precautions (such as brightly lit lots and stores), provide endless drink options, and even have a mascot named “Wally,” who is labeled as “a certain kind of kid we all know”?   While Quiktrip has yet to expand to the East Coast, whenever this author is in the Southwest, you know where this author is going.


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