The FINANCIAL — Gulf Georgia wishes to congratulate its customers on the New Year by offering the very special and unique product – ‘G-Force Euro’ diesel, specially developed for winter. In addition, the company is offering discounts on fuel for Gulf Club members. Not only during the New Year period but throughout 2015 Gulf Georgia will be encouraging very positive emotions amongst its customers, making their lives more exciting by offering new products along with excellent service.
“Our policy and strategy is always to create something exciting for our customers,” Hristo Ivanchev, Chief Commercial Officer of Gulf Georgia, told The FINANCIAL. We are the largest retailers in Georgia. We try to keep in touch with our customers constantly. We have on average 40,000 people coming to our stations every day all around Georgia. So it is very important for us to care about all these customers and celebrate the New Year together with them. For New Year we are offering special discounts for our loyal customers who are Gulf Club members. We have already given away 1,500 cards. Our maximum discount that customers can benefit from is about 10 Tetri per litre depending on the product they buy,” he added.
“On top of this we have just launched a new product which is related to our diesel fuel. It is G-Force Euro diesel specially developed for winter. This is a unique product which we are offering to our customers. This is the only diesel fuel which is made specifically to withstand very low temperatures. At the moment the weather is fine but we have made this offer to last not just over New Year but to continue until February. I recommend that every driver in Georgia use this fuel in winter and thus save their cars’ motors. It is more expensive for us to offer this product but our strategy is to provide the best value for money for Georgian motorists. We try to find the best balance between price and quality, product and services. This fuel will be 3 to 5 Tetri more expensive per litre than the Euro diesel that we normally offer,” Ivanchev said.
Gulf Georgia has recently started issuing a premium segment fuel – G-Force, which decreases friction and cleans engine deposits. The new product has increased the sales of Gulf fuel and led to the company’s increased market share.
“After a month of offering G-Force we saw a significant increase in sales, of about 20 percent. G-Force gives you greater and improved power to usual. You feel the difference extremely quickly, from the very first time you fill your tank up with it. It keeps your engine in a better condition because it cleans all the deposits. It reduces friction in the metal part of the engine. These are important things. So, if you care about your car, would like better performance and to be able to feel a difference, then I would strongly recommend this product. From my own experience I know exactly what this product achieves. As this product has turned out to be so successful we have decided to introduce new premium products in 2015 as well,” Ivanchev explained.
Q. You say that Gulf is going to offer new products in 2015, so could you please tell us how you choose which products to introduce?
A. Normally we try to meet people’s expectations in Georgia. We conducted research which revealed that the number one reason that Georgian drivers choose which petrol station to fill up at is the quality on offer there; both the quality of the product itself and the quality of the service are also important. This is why we are constantly putting a focus on quality. Choose the best quality is one of our company’s values and we are happy that Georgian customers also have the same value. Quality has brought success to Gulf as we have attracted those customers who choose quality. Accordingly, premium products’ sales have increased more than the sales of basic products.
Since we are a petroleum company and since this is the most important thing for Georgian drivers, we had to address it properly. Hence, we developed this formulation. It took some time. We were not the first to launch so-called premium fuels here, but ours is certainly the best out of those that are available in Georgia.
Furthermore, we will be increasing the number of Gulf stations in 2015. We are pretty well-positioned on the market. There are 125 Gulf-branded stations, which is enough for Georgia. We have ideas for how to attract more customers to the existing stations by giving them even more than what they are getting now.
There is a really high level of competition on the Georgian market. We are focused on increasing loyalty amongst our customers. We invested a lot of money this year in marketing programmes and in developing a loyalty programme. Our results have shown that Georgians really respect these types of activities.
The year 2014 was very interesting for us. We changed our approach to meeting customers’ needs to a better way than before. We are more marketing-oriented now. The most significant development was our Gulf Club, which we launched in February. Another very successful step was launching G-Force fuel. The beginning of the year was difficult as the oil price was high, while demand was lower.
Q. How would you assess the year 2014?
A. At the beginning of 2014 there was a decrease in oil sales compared to the same period of 2013. However, in the last quarter of 2014 we increased compared to the last quarter of 2013. Year on year we have almost the same sales, but the trend is very positive. From different sources we have the highest market share which is around 24 percent in the gasoline and diesel segment, without gas.
The auto-gas market doubled in 2014 compared to 2013. It is developing very fast. There are some areas in Georgia where demand is higher than supply in terms of the number of stations. Natural gas is cheaper than gasoline and that attracts customers. I guess that the auto-gas market will develop faster than the gasoline market in 2015 as well. This trend will continue in Georgia.
In the past the only thing was to have fuel, a low price and a proper market from which to import the fuel. Then more competitors appeared on the market and the standards of competition increased. The customers became more demanding and the companies started offering more. For example, a part of our service is not only filling up cars but cleaning car windows as well.
We have invested around USD 7 million in the renovation of our terminals to make them look better and safer. We have opened 12 new Gulf stores all over Georgia.
Q. What is your message for the New Year?
A. I am from Bulgaria and I have found Georgia to be a very exciting country. The people are really very hospitable here. In my professional life I like the most how Georgian motorists care about their cars, about quality and service. I would like to wish a very happy 2015 to all Georgians! I want to wish everyone a brighter future. I would also encourage them to come and try our services!