Through the support of Growth Energy and Prime the Pump, 12 out of the top 20 fuel retailers are selling E15 today. There are 1,800 sites selling E15, with that number expected to surpass 1,900 sites by the end of 2019. Over the past several years, Growth Energy has dedicated extensive time and resources toward the development and infrastructure of E15 and consumer research with the ultimate goal of to positioning retailers to gain a competitive edge that allows them to sell more E15.
Certain practices help retailers successfully sell E15, including marketing at the pump and overall dispenser configuration, as well as fine-tuning the narrative of the fuel product to consumer preferences. To help maximize the competitive advantage offered by E15, retailers should sell the fuel at a majority of their dispensers. By marketing E15 at most of their dispensers, the fuel is treated as a product that is widely available at a site and not a niche product
Additionally, through Growth Energy’s consumer research, we found that if E15 is marketed using a name similar to other gasoline grades, like Unleaded88 or Regular88, the sales increased dramatically. To consumers, E15 has no meaning, and they strongly encouraged retailers to use gasoline names similar to 87 octane. Unleaded88 communicates the octane of the fuel the way consumers are accustomed to seeing it. Retailers who take advantage of advertising their Unleaded88 on a price sign can also see better traffic and sales results. More than 90 percent of the fuel retailers offering E15 are labeling it as Unleaded88 or Regular88.
Fine tuning the product narrative to potential customers also helps contribute to the success of selling E15. Consumers are looking for a fuel that is good for their vehicle but also for the environment. By positioning Unleaded88 as a fuel that is cleaner burning, consumers correlate it with something that is “Engine Smart, Earth-Kind” and good for the air we breathe. Meanwhile, by communicating to consumers that Unleaded88 emits fewer toxins than other fuels, it positions the fuel as “Engine Smart, Earth-Kind.” Precise messaging allows retailers to educate consumers in a way that resonates with them.
To help retailers take full advantage of resources, Growth Energy has a dedicated hub for marketing Unleaded 88, completewith brand guidelines and consumer resources.
Retailers who have implemented these best E15 marketing techniques are reaping the benefits.
If you’re interested in joining the leading retail innovators and succeeding with E15, feel free to contact Growth Energy’s Vice President of Market Development Mike O’Brien.