Price compliance is a fact of life for fuel retailers.
Failing to comply with legislative regulations, such as anti-trust laws, price gouging laws, or environmental protection policies can be a fatal move for any fuel retail network. Two Texas retailers, for example, faced hefty fines and reputational damage after raising their gas prices as high as $9.99 per gallon following a hurricane. Thousands of customers filed complaints.
As an analyst, price compliance should be your top priority. With potential fines running into the millions of dollars, you can't leave any room for doubt or confusion.
Here's a quick, easily-referenced checklist of everything you need to make consistent decisions for price compliance in your network.
1. Do you have a consistent set of pricing rules?
In the most volatile fuel markets, prices can change multiple times per day.
Instead of reacting to these price changes on a case-by-case basis, you need to develop and execute a consistent pricing strategy that takes into account the potential fluctuations in the market.
Depending on where you're located, your pricing strategy might need to be molded around existing market regulations and limitations like minimum and maximum margins, frequency of price changes, and more. The first thing you need to do when developing your pricing strategy is learn the laws by state, country, region, or micro-market and apply your pricing rules to different groups of stores.
If your network expands across borders, this process can become increasingly complicated. Fuel pricing and network planning technology can help you manage it more easily.
2. Are you able to track and validate your data?
When it comes time for a pricing audit, you need to be able to track down and validate all of your data to avoid any critical errors.
For any price that goes into the field, you should be able to:
That way, in the case of an audit, you'll be able to determine exactly why you were sending certain prices on any given day. For example, if your market was in a state of emergency and you needed to go outside your normal strategy, then having all of your data tracked, organized, and auditable will help protect your business.
3. How much of your strategy can be automated?
Humans make mistakes.
The more pricing activities you can automate, the less potential for human error — and the greater your chances of surviving the audit.
When configured with the right rules and data, pricing tools can help eliminate manual actions such as gathering field data and implementing price changes in-store. The right system can send new prices directly to the POS system in the store, on the signs, and on the pumps to reduce the potential for error.
4. Do you receive proactive alerts?
When you use a pricing tool to automate most of your pricing strategy, it needs to be set up to run in the background and highlight price exceptions for you, without the need for any robust system administration.
Proactive alerts about these exceptions will tell pricing analysts when something has gone awry without them needing to dig for it in their database. This feature is key for surviving the pricing audit and being able to correct errors as soon as possible.
If you don't have a pricing tool to manage all of these factors for you, then keeping track of your pricing strategy is extremely difficult — especially if you have sites operating across states, countries, and other regions around the world.
Many fuel pricing analysts think that they have it all under control — until something goes amiss and they're hit with devastating non-compliance fines.
You need to be proactive about compliance. Adopting a comprehensive pricing solution and consulting a fuel pricing expert during the configuration and implementation of that solution can set you up with a fool-proof pricing strategy.
Kalibrate is the most trusted fuel price optimization provider in the market. With experience in markets all over the world, we have the tools and the expertise to help you survive the fuel pricing compliance audit. Speak with one of our experts today to learn how to get started.