While the type of products available via pump-top promotions can be bought online from Amazon and eBay, and in stores such as B&M, it’s the impulse nature of these purchases that still drives sales in forecourts. "People don’t visit a forecourt store expecting to buy a gardening tool," explains Karanbir Landa, director at DSL Group, "but when they are presented with one in-store, in front of them, they feel obliged to buy it."
He says that’s why sales of his company’s products are as strong as ever and sales of gardening products are currently going particularly well.
"Over the past few months, because of the good weather we’ve been having, sales of gardening tools have been very strong, helped by the fact that ours are branded with a name consumers will know, thanks to our licensing deal with Spear and Jackson."
Another strong seller at the moment is a block paving cleaner definitely an item many shoppers probably don’t know they need until they see it.
Asiffa Gadatra, sales director at Spot Promotions, says it’s definitely the convenience of the forecourt that works well for these products. "Consumers do buy on impulse but are savvy enough to know a good product and deal when they see one. Pump-top products are usually very popular and appeal to either the driver at the pump, or their close family member so for them to purchase is a no-brainer as it’s a good quality, excellent priced product that they need.
Landa says seasonality is becoming more important in the pump-top promotions sector: "By providing seasonal lines we give consumers what they want and help the retailer with their sales."
Landa says pricing is important too and they try to keep the rrps to under £20 if possible. "The current petrol prices mean people are spending £70 or more to fill up so keeping our prices to under £20 is important."
He says DSL products offer very healthy margins plus there is a rebate scheme for retailers where a percentage of the sales total is paid back every six or 12 months.
Kristian Harrison, manager at Laceby Lodge Services near Grimsby, is just one of DSL’s many satisfied customers. He says: "DSL supplies us with impulse products that give us extra sales. Recently we’ve done really well with cooling pet mats, because of the hot weather. We kept re-ordering more and sold out every time we had them. The customer service from DSL is great; we can order today and have stock tomorrow.
"Some products sell better than others but they do all sell and, to be honest, many of the products surprise you because you think ’that’ll never sell’ but it does. Most items are bought as impulse purchases but I did get asked for maps so I asked DSL for a stand and have them in the store permanently."
However, not all oil companies allow pump-top promotions. James Townsend, manager of Hicksons Forecourt in Lincoln, says that when the forecourt sold BP fuel, such promotions were allowed but when they switched to Shell they were banned. "I do understand their reasoning that the pos can clutter the pumps but I think if it is done well it is okay. We now just have the product displays in the shop but they don’t sell nearly as well as when we had the ads at the pumps so much so that we are thinking about removing them altogether."
Both Landa and Gadatra agree that technology accessories are always going to be big sellers. Gadatra says: "According to research undertaken by Consultancy UK, 85% of the UK adult population in 2017 owned a smart phone (versus 52% in 2012) and this number will have only gone up in 2018 this year. Almost 30% of those people are intending to buy a new or pre-owned smartphone over the next 12 months and this often equates to new accessories being purchased. With our mobile accessory products offering good quality with excellent price points, these are always popular pump-top promotions.
"Looking at the bigger picture, we believe that during the next 18-24 months digital reality will gain momentum and are already talking to manufacturers about products and accessories that lend themselves to this trend."
According to Landa, retailers need to do three things to capitalise on pump-top products:
1) use pump crowners outside as these products are not planned purchases; people will gaze at them when they’re filling up with fuel and decide they need an item.
2) have a floor-standing display unit as close to the till as possible to remind shoppers about the products they’ve just seen.
3) keep the display units stocked up at all times.
Gadatra adds: "We ensure all our pump-top promotional materials are consistently branded and look impactful and professional. We advise all our forecourts to ensure pos is visible and placed at the till, so that a consumer simply has to pick up a product and add it to their purchase. If they have to search for it in the store it can easily result in a lost sale."
Pumping up your sales
Pump nozzle advertising specialist t4Media operates AdNozzle, which is free for forecourts. The company says forecourt partners benefit from free AdNozzle equipment set up when their site is booked for the first campaign. It will then maintain and replace equipment as necessary with the exception of grade identifier changes or re-brands.
Advertisers range from national brands, products and services, through to local businesses and charities that are looking to connect with their local community.
With the right messaging, AdNozzle advertising prompts fuel buyers to take specific action immediately after they’ve viewed it. For example, research conducted around an ad for Bridgestone reported that 59% of motorists that saw the message went on to check their tyres while still at pump.
AdNozzles are currently sited at 4,000-plus forecourts in the UK. Among these is the Morrisons supermarket chain, where an additional format above the AdNozzles on the pumps is available. These PumpPanels offer the opportunity for multiple messaging and double the impact.
Current roadside brands include Total, Murco, Jet, Esso and Harvest Energy.
Clive Albury, retail operations manager at Harvest Energy, says: "Nozzle advertising is a great opportunity to make the pumps look ’fresh’ with up-to-date advertising. The customers handle the nozzles on site and can’t do anything to avoid reading the advertisements. It’s a great opportunity to engage the customers in advertising services that are available locally in a very cost-effective way."