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 recently published NACS Convenience Voices 2021 survey shows us the impact that digital offerings and loyalty programs have had on the convenience store industry in recent years. According to Leroy Kelsey, NACS’ director of research, “A byproduct of retailers pivoting to more digital offers during the pandemic was that shoppers are adopting the industry’s digital apps and loyalty programs at a much higher rate”. With more than half of convenience-store shoppers having a loyalty program on a mobile device, it’s important for retailers to adopt digital marketing efforts that capture their customers attention and encourage them to make in-store purchases. With many oil and gas companies launching mobile apps that allow customers to pay for gas and other in-store items with their phones, developing a digital marketing strategy has never been easier.

Strategy Sells

When it comes to a successful marketing campaign, in or out of the app, it really all begins with strategy! An effective marketing strategy will help promote desired behavior within your app and drive revenue as a result. Here are some of the most popular tactics that companies use to accomplish this:

· Encourage engagement with strategic ad placements.

· Promote social shares with the intention of attracting more installs.

· Use loyalty offers to attract repeat customers.

· Engage your active user base with features updates and bonus offerings.

· Promote virtual goods for in-app purchase.

Another thing to keep in mind? Many of the successful in-app strategies piggyback on fundamental principles utilized in traditional marketing campaigns. For example, targeted campaigns are proven to be much more successful than general outreach. And this all goes back to the fundamental marketing commandments:

· Know your audience: Knowing the habits, age and lifestyle trends of your target audience will help ensure your communications resonate and drive engagement.

· Keep it creative: The most successful in-app campaigns will always be on-trend and creative. Make yourself stand out and give your audience a reason to resonate with you.

· Do the research: As is the case with just about everything, staying on top of what your competitors are doing is crucial. Full-screen video and offerwalls are effective in-app strategies but also check out what the top downloads are doing, as well as those being highlighted by Google and Apple.

Omni-Channel Messaging

Once you’ve determined your strategy, it’s time to choose your communication method. Omni-channel messaging allows business to communicate with their customers through multiple channels, both inside and outside of their app. For example, a customer is driving home from work and receives a push notification for a discount on fuel. While their filling up, they receive an in-app offer to save 10 cents on

their favorite soda. After they go into the convenience store and purchase their soda, they receive an email that thanks them for their purchase, and tells them how many loyalty points they have earned for using their app. In this scenario, push notifications, in-app offers, and email were utilized to encourage the customer to go into the store and complete a purchase, but it doesn’t have to stop there.

Multiple Channels, One Goal

Customers can respond to messages in different ways, so it's important to know how to use each channel and when it's appropriate to use them.

Push Notifications: Push notifications are messages that users receive when they’re not using the app. The message is usually very short and encourages users to open the app. Push notifications should only be used a few times a week to prevent the user from turning them off in their notification settings.

In-App Offers and Messages: In-app offers and messages are displayed within the app, usually on the home screen. Offering special deals and discounts within an app encourages users to open their app when they enter the store or plan to make a purchase.

Interstitials: Interstitials are advertisements that appear on a screen when a user is actively using an app. Interstitial ads are a good way to grab a user's attention, but shouldn't be used too frequently, as users can get annoyed by constant interruptions.

SMS: SMS is a text messaging service that allows subscribed users to receive promotions, news and offers through text. This is another tool that can be used to catch a user's attention when they are not actively using their app.

Email: Email marketing is a great way to communicate with users about offers, upcoming events and app updates. Additionally, emails can be personalized for each user based on how often they use the app. Companies often use personalization to send welcome emails, birthday messages and offers, and loyalty point updates.

By using multiple channels to connect with users, companies can increase app usage, sales, and brand awareness.

Targeting the Right Users at the Right Time

While it may be tempting to send the same push notification or in-app message to every user who's signed up for an app, targeting specific groups of users is much more effective at driving app usage. Omni-channel messaging shouldn't only be used for mass communication, but also to influence specific user behavior. For example, if a user signs up for the app but hasn't added a payment method, they can receive a push notification reminding them to add a card to their wallet. If a user has added a payment method but hasn't made a transaction, they can receive an email offer giving them a $2 discount on their first purchase made through the app. If user groups can be identified and targeted individually, omni-channel messages can help them move down the user funnel and become returning customers.

Getting Started

Launching an app and creating a digital marketing strategy may seem like a difficult task, but P97 offers an easy solution. P97’s Consumer Engagement Platform not only allows you to design and implement custom offers and messages but gives you the ability to target specific user groups based on consumer

usage data. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to gain insight on your customers, increase app usage, and drive sales! Contact P97 today.

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