Gas Retailer Rolling Out Interactive Displays At Pumps

August 24, 2012 by Dave Haynes

Saint John, New Brunswick-based Irving Oil – a big player in gas retail in Maritime Canada and upper US Northeast – has introduced a new service that tries a different spin on the media on gas pumps thing. IRVision, as it is called, is interactive.

I don’t have much enthusiasm for the content plan, but think the customer experience mindset has some possibilities with time.

Irving is the first company in the retail gasoline industry, says a news release, to offer touch screen interactivity on the front of the pump. Each screen provides the fueling customer with full audio controls and features entertaining, informative content, including Irving promotions, weather, community news, local sports, safe driving tips, and live web cams for local traffic monitoring.

The touch screen functionality also enables customer perceptions about the Irving brand, the station’s appearance, and a variety of other data points to be captured during the customer’s experience and reported in real time.

“Through IRVision’s innovative technology, we are able to offer a unique fueling experience to our customers,” says Harry Hadiaris, General Manager of Irving Oil. “We recognize that our customers are on-the-go and the way they gather news and information during their busy day has changed. That’s why we’re excited to offer them relevant, engaging content and the opportunity to give us feedback all while they’re filling up.”

I will, to my last breath, refuse to accept consumers pop out of their cars and realize a sudden need to catch up on news, weather and traffic reports that were available via radio, GPS and mobile Internet when they were IN their cars. Is commoditized news you almost can’t escape these days really that engaging?


And do people really want to be poking away at a touch screen off a highway in New Hampshire in February?

Probably nope. Because it’s FREEZING!

However, this isn’t presented and doesn’t smell like an advertising play, with Irving Oil having visions of a gusher of untapped media revenues. “The content Irving displays through IRVision,” says the release, “is specifically designed for their stations and customers and is not loaded with advertisements.”

Yay. Irving seems be thinking instead about customer experience, and that ‘s actually interesting. They can always revise the programming until they get a content mix that actually does resonate with their customers, and perhaps builds some loyalty. The media model can instead be about driving stuff like impulse buys inside the station, enrollment in credit card and loyalty programs, and community programs, like the efforts Irving is backing to protect the Bay of Fundy habitat that’s home to very rare North Atlantic Right Whales. That’s probably way more meaningful than the rounding error of media money from paid advertising.

IRVision is currently installed at Irving locations south of the Canada-US border in Portsmouth, Derry, and Goffstown, New Hampshire and in South Portland, Wells, and Eliot, Maine.

It can be installed on existing fuel pumps easily, and the company says it is exploring plans “to expand the offer at more Irving locations in the future.”

Hat Tip to Digital Signage Today, where I first saw word of IRVision.

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