TomTom has released a new sat nav system that tracks petrol and diesel prices in 12,000 fuel stations across the UK and allows users to compare fuel prices in their current location. The new technology is likely to increase competition between neighboring fuel retailers, but will also offer up a number of marketing opportunities that fuel retailers should not ignore.
TomTom is offering a fuel pricing service with its new sat nav.
TomTom, the sat nav company, is launching its Go x40 Live sat nav series, which tracks fuel prices as well as provides the usual navigation facilities. The new products, which were launched in the UK in mid-November, are priced from GBP299.99 (E360). TomTom has also teamed up with fuel retailers to offer a prepaid fuel card which can be redeemed at any service station in the country.
The fuel price data are updated on a daily basis by contacting an online server through an inbuilt SIM card, for which motorists pay a monthly subscription of GBP7.99 (E9.50). The fuel prices are provided by NAVX, a third party company which sources the data from a combination of petroleum companies, credit card companies and car drivers themselves. As well as tracking fuel prices, the new system enables users to look up the addresses of over 11 million businesses, follow the weather forecast, and track the location of friends who also have a sat nav device.
The new system is likely to appeal to the sizeable proportion of motorists who constantly seek out the cheapest fuel. Indeed, a study undertaken by Datamonitor in September 2008 revealed that 62% of motorists use the brand of service station that they perceive to be the cheapest.
Although the fullness of the data is questionable, the new system is considerably more efficient and less time-consuming than current methods of comparing fuel prices, such as checking websites like PetrolPrices.com. The increased availability of fuel price data is something that cannot be ignored by fuel retailers, as it will more than likely lead to greater local competition, especially between comparatively expensive sites and nearby low cost fuel retailers.
Overall, however, the fuel retailing industry should use the technology to its own advantage, especially when developing marketing opportunities. This could be done by offering to match the lowest price within a given area, or by advertising certain promotions next to their price listing. Rather than ignore it, fuel retailers should embrace the new technology and leverage the increased marketing opportunities that the device offers.