Posted By

Aaron Mireles


Before Don Frieden started his company, gas stations hadn’t innovated their payment technology
since 1997. He knew that needed to change.

Original Post | Innovationmap

Before Don Frieden started his company, gas stations hadn't innovated their payment technology since 1997. He knew that needed to change.

P97, founded in 2012, exists to use innovative technologies to simplify and energize daily journeys, Frieden explains on the Houston Innovators Podcast.

The fast-growing company — which has nearly 200 employees, most of whom work from Houston — has raised over $100 million in venture funding, according to Crunchbase, most recently closing a $40 million series C round earlier this year. This funding has supported P97 as its expanded its technology, even expanding outside of gas station payments and into other sectors, like consumer packaged goods, mobile app development, and alternative fuel sources.

Part of what P97 is focused on too is adapting new technologies, including biometrics, and applying them to the payments world. Voice-enabled payments is something in particular that Frieden is working on.

"One of the things we’re most excited about is voice enable payments through our partnership with Amazon's Alexa," he explains. "The landscape of payments at gas stations underwent this next revolution, and we're using cutting-edge speech recognition and artificial intelligence to allow drivers to pay for fuel just using their voice.

"It makes the process faster and more efficient, and is completely hands-free," he continues, explaining that biometrics are also safer compared to card transactions. "From this time I say, 'Alexa, buy gas,' six seconds later, the gas would be turned on and any loyalty rewards I have would be applied, all from the comfort of my car."

Frieden shares more about the future of P97, payments, and the energy industry as it intersects with P97 — including the future of alternative fuels — on the podcast. Listen to the interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.

The retail industry is at a crossroads. With more consumers opting for a wider selection of products online, brick and mortar stores are increasingly being seen as quick, on-the-spot locations that serve immediate needs. More convenient still are the c-stores on every corner and at the pump that provide consumers with fast access to the products they need most.

Just as consumers’ shopping habits are changing, so too are the methods they’re using to shop. With 77%of American adults now owning a smartphone, the opportunity to reach consumers wherever they are and provide personalized offers is greater than ever. 

Mobile Offers Drive Purchases

Mobile offers are emerging as one of the most effective and lucrative tools for marketers as they brainstorm new ways to engage with shoppers in an increasingly threatened retail landscape. Mobile offers (or marketing and promotions shared with customers via mobile) present a number of benefits for the convenience industry:

  1. They encourage in-store traffic.While consumers are taking more of their retail, CPG, and even grocery purchases online, mobile offers incentivize shoppers to go offline to redeem promotions in-store. 
  2. They make redeeming quick and easy. Mobile users turn to their phones for quick and easy use. Mobile offers provide a way for consumers to quickly discover new deals and redeem them in seconds.
  3. They personalize the shopping experience. Like a rewards program or any other shopper management system, mobile gives marketers a way to track purchases. But it’s also the vehicle for using that data to generate personalized offers that engage shoppers in the precious few minutes they spend in-store. With the right product offer sent at the right time, merchants can also build brand loyalty.

What’s on the Horizon?

As consumers continue to turn to mobile commerce for convenience and ease, brands must meet them there with offers that engage, build customer relationships, and drive sales. Convenience store brands can do this by offering:

  • More personalization. Any store can print a coupon. But what’s driving today’s consumers are the offers and promotions that speak directly to their shopping behaviors. As mobile dependency increases, c-stores must leverage data-driven campaigns that promote the right products at the right time. 
  • Omni-channel strategies. Despite consumer affinity for mobile, they still shop and live their daily lives across a variety of devices and mobile offers must be part of a comprehensive omni-channel strategy that engages consumers in multiple ways.
  • Mobile loyalty programs. Everyone is familiar with the age-old rewards program. But with advanced technology and mobile capabilities, loyalty programs will begin to look much different, relying on deeper analytics, two-way communication, and personalized content to build genuine customer relationships.

As consumer buying behavior shifts toward digital outlets, convenience stores are poised to take a larger piece of the consumer spending pie as they appeal to on-demand needs. By introducing a mobile component, c-stores can appeal to younger generations in powerful buying positions with targeted mobile offers that increase sales and build loyal customers for years to come. 

P97 Makes Mobile Offers Easy

P97’s mobile commerce and digital marketing platform makes reaching convenience store shoppers easier than ever. Now you can build offers based on deep data, like purchase history, consumer preferences, and location to convert more customers through promotions that appeal to their immediate needs. Plus, P97’s automation capabilities make offer creation, delivery, redemption, payment, settlement, and follow-up analytics easy to manage for a more complete picture of your entire mobile strategy. Start sending targeted omni-channel offers to bring customers in-store by scheduling a demo today.

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