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Shell retailer invests P2M for "stop-over" destination

CEBU, Philippines - While competition in the fuel retail industry is getting tougher, a Shell retailer invests at least P2 million to pioneer a concept making a gasoline station into a “destination.”

Shell Petroleum retailer Rex Carampatana, a franchisee of Shell Gasoline Station located in Cebu South Road in Lawa-an, Talisay, is embarking into a concept that answers the call from the tourism industry, to provide decent comfort room, and lounge for motorists or tourists’ especially in the stop-over facilities.

Carampatana, through his company Amare Service Station, is planning to open up more of a “destination” gasoline station concept in the future, saying that the “name of the game” now is differentiation.

He said in the fuel retail industry, where competition is cutthroat, one has to introduce something that attracts the customers, not just in price, but the total experience of customer. This includes; the customer service, the facilities and amenities and the total relaxing ambiance of the place.

Carampatana is making his Shell Gasoline Station, a stop-over-destination for south-bound motorists, providing a hotel-like designed comfort-room, a relaxing cafe accentuated with Cebu-made export quality furniture, and a free WiFi access.

Aside from these amenities, this unique gasoline station is the first to offer a function room facility, which accommodates at least 20 people, saying it will offered free-of-charge to the station’s clients, and other interested groups.

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In fact, this first-of-a-kind function room situated in a gasoline station has been used as meeting venue for transport groups’ meetings, and other small functions.

Carampatana is one of the very few Shell retailers in the country, that invested into re-engineering a gasoline station, in order to provide utmost customer experience, not just to buy gas and leave the place, but to linger, making it a mini “destination.”

Although the competition is too stiff, he said the prospects for fuel retailing is still encouraging, considering that there are more people owning private cars, and the growth population needing transport is also on its fast pace.

He said although there is a threat of shifting into solar-powered and other alternative source of energy for vehicle’s use, it will still take longer time for these alternative products to take over the fossil fuel.

Thus, the outlook for fuel retail is still good, regardless the competition. Carampatana reiterated that despite his big investment to re-engineer the look and the gasoline stations’ facility, he is confident that he can attract good number of loyal clients.

Carampatana has pioneered the paradigm shift in gasoline station retailing, saying return-of-investment (ROI) may take a while, what is important is he is able to build a good client base, not only because of the competitive product prices, but because of the unique experience its offers to the clients.— Ehda M. Dagooc

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