‘On The Run’ sounds like the title for a movie about fugitives but in the world of ExxonMobil, it is the name for the convenience store concept which the company officially launched in Malaysia today. As with some other oil companies, ExxonMobil is changing the character of its service stations and making them more than just places to buy fuel and lubes or pump up the tyres.
The first On The Run store is at the Esso station at the Cheras end of the East-West Link in Kuala Lumpur and by year’s end, another eight more stations will be opened around the country which will also have the store.
According to Abu Hassan Seeni Abdul, Retail Business Director of Esso Malaysia Bhd, ExxonMobil has spent some RM60 million in the past two years re-imaging its stations and making them brighter, cleaner and safer. This is part of the company’s customer-friendly culture initiative and the introduction of the On The Run stores is in keeping with the objective of providing customers with what they want.
“The On The Run store was developed taking the best features of Esso and Mobil stations in this area of operations, and is now seen in over 21 countries,” he said.
While more than half the 570 Esso and Mobil stations in Malaysia already have convenience stores, the difference is that an On The Run store is 3 times larger in terms of floor space as the minimum required is 3,900 sq. feet. Furthermore, the station must have a spacious site of at least an acre so that customers can park easily and also move around conveniently.
The layout of the store has also been carefully planned after extensive research into consumer habits. For example, ExxonMobil’s studies have found that many people instinctively turn to the right when entering such stores, and many would also purchase a snack if they buy a drink. And like supermarkets, candy and small snacks are placed near the payment counter to encourage ‘impulse buying’.
In some On The Run stores, there may be a fast food operator as well. In the case of the first one in Cheras, the operator is Ayamas but Encik Abu Hassan said that it is possible that other fast food operators will be present, depending on demographics of the locality.
Investment in a station with an On The Run store requires a minimum of RM5 million and it is ExxonMobil’s intention that every new station opened (8 – 10 annually) will include such a store concept. However, it depends on the locality and land size available, Encik Abu Hassan added.
“It is a good business and in fact, we have applicants who do not want to accept our offer of business for them if they cannot also have a convenience store at their station,” he revealed.
At the official opening today, ExxonMobil also kicked off its participation in this year’s Merdeka month celebration by distributing free Jalur Gemilang to customers. The company will also be having a number of other activities during this auspicious month and from August 4th, participating Mobil and Esso convenience stores will offer discounts of up to 30% on selected items.
“As Malaysia celebrates her 46th year of nationhood, ExxonMobil want to do our part to spreads the Merdeka spirit by distributing free Jalur Gemilang to our customers at selected Esso and Mobil stations. We will also fly the national flag at our head office and other office locations around the country and all our tank trucks will have the Jalur Gemilang on them,” said Encik Abu Hassan.