Perth’s weekly petrol price cycle and the ensuing chaos on Mondays when cars spill out onto the road in the hunt for cheaper fuel could be a thing of the past if a new app catches on.
Dissatisfied with how restrictive fuel pricing was for Caltex executive Mick Jarvie and his other fuel industry mates left the corporate world to bankroll and develop EzySt, a fuel comparison app that lets retailers send offers for cheaper than retail fuel.
The app was launched in August and trialled in WA for 12 weeks, with offers from WA retailers such as Puma Energy and the EG Group, which operate Caltex Woolworths stores.
While there are plenty of fuel comparison apps and websites already available, such as Fuel Watch WA, Mr Jarvie said EzySt differed because not only did it compare nearby prices, it allowed users to find further discounted fuels, with some during the trial offering cuts of 30 cents per litre or more.
Mr Jarvie said during his time at Caltex in sales, marketing and fuel pricing roles, he became frustrated at the rigidness of pricing.
“It was because I saw the need for this kind of platform for the industry it was a constant frustration that it wasn’t possible to set prices for consumers individually,” he said.
“You really only had one price board at a site and it didn’t allow you to use more sophisticated strategies or even give people what they wanted.
“Talking to other retailers since we left, the biggest frustration from marketers seems to be the lack of contact with consumers.
“What was missing was a way for fuel retailers to connect directly with consumers and make their offers visible and available.
“Fuel is a very frequent spend and its the opportunity for retailers to engage very well with consumers but they just don’t do it.”
Mr Jarvie said WA was chosen to pilot the app because of the nature of the market.
“WA motorists are more tuned into looking for better deals on fuel so it was a good place to start and test that and test our proposition,” he said.
“Also, it was a bit easier to start with a 24-hour pricing rule we didn’t have a really dynamic market where prices were changing six times a day. It was an easier environment to kick off.”
He said 76 per cent of WA users used the app more than once in terms of redeeming an offer and more than 50 per cent had used it more than three times.
One of those users is Paul Goldie, a videographer from Wembley Downs.
“An app like EzySt is going to make a real difference – and the fact that it proactively flags the best deals with me is really convenient. I save time and money,” he said.
Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association chief executive Mark McKenzie welcomed the introduction of the app into the market.
“In recent years, there has been a quiet revolution within the service station industry as retailers change their businesses from simply being a place to buy fuel to being a convenient ‘one-stop-shop’ for consumers,” he said.
Extracted from SMH