Things are about to get a whole lot cooler at Shell fuel pumps. Excentus and Fuel Rewards®, in conjunction with FIS, are making reward redemption a lot easier with instant capabilities at over 13,000 Shell-branded fuel stations nationwide. Consumers can get their accumulated points savings instantly just by swiping their linked form of payment. This real-time redemption option provides industry differentiation and delivers both convenience and value to Shell fuel customers.
Loyalty360 recently spoke with Brian Jefferson, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Fuel Rewards, owned and operated by Excentus, a PDI company, to discuss these issues.
Could you give us a little bit of background on the new real-time redemption initiative between Fuel Rewards, FIS, and Shell? 
The joint initiative between FIS, Shell, and Fuel Rewards will allow customers at participating Shell fuel stations across the United States to redeem rewards points from a variety of loyalty programs in real-time directly at the pump. This is facilitated by the FIS Premium Payback redemption network, which links thousands of retail point-of-sale locations with customer card rewards programs. Shell will implement FIS Premium Payback at their pump POS systems, in partnership with PDI, which powers the Fuel Rewards program that offers consumers cents-per-gallon discounts at Shell stations nationwide.
Put simply, this initiative gives customers the ability to redeem points instantly, directly within the transaction flow, from a variety of rewards sources. This increases consumers’ buying power, simplifies redemption, and drives traffic to Shell stations. Customers also experience real-time interaction at the point of sale and recognize immediate value from their rewards program.  Financial institutions that participate in the program get to reduce their outstanding points liability and boost their card usage frequency because of the initiative’s high perceived value to the consumer.
Is this solution unique to the Shell consumer program or is this the first time they can participate in an instant redeem option?
Fuel Rewards program members have always been able to redeem their rewards instantly at the point of sale at Shell pumps. However, this is the first time that members of other loyalty programs in the FIS Premium Payback network can instantly redeem their rewards at Shell locations.  
Do you see this as a differentiator in driving fuel and convenient store traffic?
Yes. As more than 23 million consumers currently participate in the growing FIS Premium Payback redemption network, we expect many of those consumers to seek out Shell locations to enjoy real-time redemptions. As our 2017 “Roads to Rewards” survey indicated, the ability to earn or redeem loyalty points is the second most-cited reason (43 percent) customers visit a particular convenience store, after location (44 percent). Because loyalty-rewards earning and redemption is such an effective motivator for consumers, this initiative will drive both new fuel and convenience store traffic as customers are attracted by the convenience, value, and redemption potential of the FIS Premium Payback program.
Aside from consumer convenience, what are the other benefits of this new solution?
This initiative will generate incremental sales growth for Shell and Shell location operators, as well as provide cross-marketing opportunities, increased foot traffic, higher offer redemption rates, and increased market share. The FIS Premium Payback initiative also complements Shell’s existing relationship with the Fuel Rewards program, allowing customers to “stack” their rewards for even greater value. The joint initiative also allows customers who participate in the FIS network to have more opportunity, flexibility, and retail locations to redeem their unused rewards.
This also delivers value to the various financial institutions that participate in the FIS Premium Payback program. Because fuel discounts are redeemed frequently (and valued highly by consumers), this allows participating banks to enjoy “top of wallet” card usage, while at the same time providing an additional redemption channel that helps them reduce their points balance liability.
The work Brian Jefferson describes here provides a relevant example to the fuel rewards and convenient store space. First, it showcases the way businesses can partner to mutual benefit. This is something that nearly all companies could do more of to good effect. In addition, the work emphasizes the necessity of real-time interaction. Customers have come to expect the advanced technological capabilities that enable interaction anytime and anywhere. Finally, Jefferson notes how important loyalty is for fuel stations and convenient stores. While this information may not be surprising, it is worth repeating nonetheless.   

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