Ten Square Begins Product Rollout

You’re likely to be zoning out while you’re pumping gas, but one company thinks you’re actually in a prime position to receive marketing messages.

San Jose, Calif.-based Ten Square, which delivers interactive ads and coupons to Internet-enabled gas pumps and convenience store ATMs, unveiled its national rollout plans on Wednesday, targeting 20 major U.S. cities for expansion in 2001.

At the same time, Ten Square trumpeted an agreement with CITGO Petroleum Corporation, a deal which allows the company to potentially deliver interactive digital content — including ads and e-commerce opportunities — to more than 13,000 CITGO retail locations. The proprietors of those gas stations, though, will need to sign on to get the Ten Square technology deployed.

“Making Ten Square’s highly targeted business-to-consumer content available to our retail consumers provides an opportunity to offer interactive and valuable offers from local and national advertisers,” said Bill McCollough, general manager, marketing services of CITGO. “And, for our marketers and retailers, the technology offers the potential for an additional revenue stream which is definitely a home run. We are thrilled to be among the first to deploy this innovative technology, and we anticipate that it will be extremely well-received by our customers.”

The company already has agreements in place with several top pump and ATM manufacturers — such as Marconi Commerce Systems, Dresser Wayne, Tokheim Corp. and Tidel Technologies — to make Ten Square’s technology compatible with their systems. It also has deals with more than 40 independent petroleum retailers to use Ten Square-enabled pumps.

Once the rollout is complete, Ten Square will have a presence at more than 2,800 gas stations and convenience stores — not counting potential CITGO retailers — in Atlanta, Dallas, Miami, New Orleans, Phoenix, Sacramento, and San Diego, delivering an anticipated one billion ad impressions monthly.

Those ads come from national advertisers like Coca-Cola Co., as well as local retailers who will be targeted through a deal inked last year with Val-Pak Coupons.

Petroleum retailers benefit from the incremental revenue from the promotional offers and coupons provided on Ten Square’s digital network on their stations’ pumps, and they have a chance to market their own products and services to the individuals who are pumping gas. And that’s an important business. While gas sales make up over just half of the revenue these retailers earn, the high-margin sales come from food and other goods sold by the station’s convenience store.

The national rollout comes just months after Ten Square completed a two-week pilot program in Atlanta, during which some 6.5 million impressions were delivered to 250,000 consumers at seven British Petroleum, Texaco and Chevron stations. Company executives said participating petroleum retailers and technology partners were so impressed with the results that the company was hard-pressed to meet demand for its product.

“From our participation in Ten Square’s successful Atlanta pilot, we have certainly seen a substantial increase in sales after making the network available to our customers,” said Steve Hall, vice president of Atlanta-based petroleum retailer W.H. Fergusons Texaco/Shell.

Besides revenue from ad sales and promotions, Ten Square offers an additional incentive to petroleum retailers and convenience stores — low-cost setup. Since the station’s pumps and/or ATMs are already Internet-enabled, little hardware or downtime is required to set up Ten Square’s ad system, according to the company.

Ten Square markets only to stations with Internet-enabled pumps. While stations with those devices make up only about 10 percent of the U.S. petroleum retailing market, some of those firms are expecting to see growth to 75 percent within four years.

“Our rollout to major U.S. cities represents a huge win for Ten Square,” said Ten Square’s president and chief executive, Scott Slinker. “We have built a national network that will rollout multiple customized applications and create multiple incremental revenue streams for our partners. In the near future we will support new platforms like cars, vending machines and pay phones. Ten Square is a win-win-win for consumers, partners and advertisers.”

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