Encouraging Response To Petron's Card Loyalty Programmes

Last update: 28/11/2014

By Salbiah Said


KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- Petron Malaysia Refining & Marketing Bhd, formerly known as Esso Malaysia Bhd, has received an encouraging response to its card loyalty programmes since their launch this year.

Head of Retail Business, Faridah Ali said the two programmes serve to complement its service station upgrading and rebranding efforts, which aim to strengthen the Petron brand in the Malaysian market.

She said the Petron Miles Privilege Card rewards its loyal customers with points and privileges while the Petron Fleet Card enables corporate clients to have better control of their fleet via cashless transactions.

There are now 1.2 million Petron Miles cardholders, comprising existing Smiles cardholders and new members. Since its launch in May, 100,000 have already signed up and this number is growing.

"This is just in a span of four months," she told Bernama in an interview.

The Petron Miles Card replaces the Smiles Loyalty Card programme. The new card rewards customers with 1 Miles point for every RM1 spent on Petron's world-class fuels such as Blaze 95, Blaze 97, or Diesel Max.


GOOD AS CASH

"Miles points are as good as cash and can be used to purchase products from Treats convenience stores and reward catalogues. Points can also be earned and redeemed from any of Petron's partner-establishments," said Faridah.

Miles points can also be used to enjoy the special offers from partners like Malaysia Airlines' Enrich, Plus Expressways' PLUS Miles Card, Johor Premium Outlet and Resorts World Sentosa Singapore's SEA Aquarium, and Universal Studios Singapore.

Motorists can apply for the Petron Miles card at no cost at any Petron, Esso, or Mobil station. It offers free membership for life and has no expiry date. Thus, Miles points can be continuously earned and spent over the years.

"All of these programmes are one-of-a-kind. They are designed to fit the unique needs of our customers. Our goal is to add more value to our products and services so our customers will have a more rewarding experience every time they fuel up at Petron," she said.


FLEET CARD WITH MICROCHIP-TECHNOLOGY

Faridah said Petron has also received encouraging response to the Petron Fleet Card since its launch in June. There are now nearly 7,000 fleet accounts including 100 recently-acquired accounts.

As part of efforts to provide innovative solutions, the Petron Fleet Card is the only fleet card in the country that uses microchip-technology. It works as a postpaid card with a 31-day credit term, she said.

"To efficiently manage their fuel expenses, we give our Fleet cardholders the option to restrict fuel purchases to diesel or mogas and set a daily or monthly purchase limit on each fleet card assigned to a specific driver.

We have also in place a real-time online tracking system to help our clients to monitor their fuel purchases, anytime, anywhere," she said.

The Petron Fleet Card comes with an advanced chip technology that provides convenience for every fuel transaction while ensuring protection of users' data. As an additional security feature, the new card comes with dual card functionality which requires identification of vehicle and driver before any transaction is done.

On the benefits of using the Petron Fleet Card, Faridah said that besides better fleet management, it is available free of charge, with no annual fees or service charge.

With the new card, corporate customers can continue to enjoy earning Miles points by fuelling up with Petron's world-class products, such as Blaze 95, Blaze 97, or Diesel Max, at more than 560 Petron stations.

Faridah said the Petron Fleet Card programme contributes at least 10 per cent of its total retail sales volume, with the figure expected to grow even further.


REBRANDING ON TARGET

Petron Malaysia is a subsidiary of Petron Corp, the largest oil refining and marketing company in the Philippines, which has been operating for the past 80 years.

Since taking over ExxonMobil downstream subsidiaries in 2012, the company has been moving aggressively with its upgrading and rebranding blitz in line with its new identity. It has been given three years by ExxonMobil until March 31, 2015 to convert all ExxonMobil service stations to Petron.

"We started our rebranding and upgrading programme in June 2012 and we are on target to complete the programme by the first quarter of 2015. There are now 460 service stations (out of the 550) that have been transformed to the Petron brand," said Faridah.

On the budget for promotion and technology, she said throughout the year, Petron will be covering both "above-the-line and below-the line tactics" to maximise its reach to customers. It has also launched Petron Malaysia Facebook page to enhance its online presence and widen its reach.

On whether Petron can be mistaken for any Petronas station, she said Petron distinguishes itself from the national oil corporation with its blue and red colours and distinct logo.

"We have also been able to successfully establish ourselves by staying true to our brand promise, the same values that have driven the company's success in the Philippines. These are innovative products, excellent service, and successful partnerships built on trust, and caring for our customers," said Faridah.

For the first half of the year, Petron Malaysia posted a nine per cent increase in revenue with RM5.99 billion in sales, an improvement from last year's RM5.5 billion, on the back of higher fuel sales.

Total sales volume for the first six months increased to nearly 15 million barrels from 14.65 million barrels last year. Domestic sales surged 12 per cent to 9.81 million barrels from last year's 8.76 million barrels on the back of stronger retail and industrial sales.


THIRD LARGEST RETAILER

On its market share, Faridah said the company is confident that it would be able to expand its business given its network and operational initiatives, coupled with the country's strong economic growth. Petron is the third largest retailer in Malaysia after Petronas and Shell.

Petron has built 10 new service stations in key locations and targets to build another 30 this year, she added.

"We aim to make Petron products and services more accessible to our Malaysian consumers, especially in underserved markets," she said.

Together with newly-built stations, the company now has 560 stations nationwide.

To a question on smuggling, she said the issue is an industry and national concern which requires coordinated efforts, noting that Petron continues to work closely with its dealers and relevant government agencies to address the issue.

On the global oil price fluctuations, she said, like any regional player, global crude oil and finished product prices have an impact on its bottom line.

"For instance, we have been seeing a continuous downward trend in global oil prices which will result in narrow margins.

"However, we have programmes in place to mitigate this including our retail network expansion to increase sales volumes and programmes at our refinery and depot network for better efficiencies," said Faridah.


HERE TO STAY

Looking ahead, she said Petron is very optimistic of its business given its inherent strengths that serve as a stable platform for future growth.

The company, she added, has an extensive retail network, a strong brand, a wide and efficient logistics network, and a very experienced and capable management team.

Faridah said Petron's priority today and in the next few years is to grow its business as well as execute plans to upgrade the refinery and improve its retail network.

"We are also excited about introducing innovative services and quality products to customers and focus on creating more value to our consumers.

With our programmes and vision, we hope to make Petron Malaysia the brand of choice. We are definitely here to stay," said Faridah.

-- BERNAMA