How to Upsell Petrol with Chocolate

belgium-chocolateWhen I go buy petrol, they try to upsell me chocolate. It’s pink and nasty looking.

‘No thanks, I’m trying to lose weight,’ I say, feeling embarrassed.

‘No problem,’ the attendant replies.

‘No problem?’

Was their a problem?

If you run a business, it’s often interesting to look at these everyday situations and ask:

  1. Why did they choose a new brand of chocolate (at least for me) instead of a product I already know? Asking me when I’m typing in my PIN is distracting.
  2. Why are they trying to sell me chocolate instead of other products, or maybe a service? By the way, there is a car dealership right across the road. Why not offer a free test drive? There are also several schools in the area. Something practical for the kids on the way to and from school?
  3. What criteria were used to determine if this was the most appropriate product to sell to this specific demographic? What criteria should they have used?
  4. What sales are they potential losing by upselling this product instead of others? For example, a discount on the car wash, car insurance, or a magazine?
  5. Who supported the idea? Didn’t anyone say when developing the marketing plan, ‘Of all the things we can do to win customers and keep those we have, we’ll sell them cheap chocolate?’
  6. Who decided chocolate goes with petrol?

I suspect the petrol station has an arrangement to promote these chocolates, and money is money but…

Maybe it’s to do with positioning.

The risk in mixing the wrong types of products is:

  1. Customers feel you’re forcing something at them they don’t want. A healthy bar option would have been more successful, for example.
  2. Staff, if not comfortable making these pitches, deliver them without any confidence. They don’t believe it in either but have to deliver the script.
  3. It’s a shotgun approach, which makes it very difficult to do anything with the numbers.

There’s nothing wrong with experimenting and seeing what works. Offering very expensive luxury chocolates may have worked much better.

Why not treat yourself to these lovely Belgium chocolates?

What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen offered at a petrol station?

PS – What you would do different?