Versatile and Convenient, Propane May be the Value-Add Your Retail Store is Looking For
By Tammy Hirsch
Convenience is still king for many Canadians. Consumers will often choose one-stop shopping over saving a few pennies if it saves them time. Providing a service or offering that gives customers more convenience can be the reason they choose your business over the competition.
Not only could propane products help you beat out competitors, but they could also offer a new stream of revenue by bringing in customers that you otherwise wouldn’t have attracted.
Demand for propane is growing in Canada. Cleaner, affordable and readily accessible, propane can go anywhere and is used for multiple purposes, from warming an outdoor patio, firing up the grill or heating a home or business. This versatile and efficient energy source is also widely used by the construction industry to power forklifts, cut steel and keep sites warm in the winter. It can be used by landscapers to power lawnmowers and torch weeds as well as by farmers for a variety applications such as heating barns and powering a tractor. Transportation operators like Southland Transportation use propane buses to safely take thousands of kids to school every day and delivery fleets like UPS use it for distributing goods to consumers throughout North America.
One of the reasons propane is growing is because it has a significant advantage compared to other traditional energy sources – using propane improves air quality, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and protects the environment. It is a much cleaner energy source than heating oil, diesel, and gasoline, and in some regions in Canada, it’s even cleaner than the electrical grid.
Propane products for your operation may include offering propane cylinders that can be used for barbeques, gas appliances in recreational vehicles (RVs), and other portable equipment. If you have the space, you could also offer propane fireplaces, heating lamps and other outdoor products that use cylinders.
Two ways to offer propane products are through a propane filling station or a propane tank exchange program.
Offering a propane filling station for people to refill the ever popular 20 lb cylinders or ASME tanks in RVs is a great way to grow your customer base and grow your revenue. And the large white propane cylinder, we might add, offers an easy free ‘white billboard’ for advertising. This option however, requires a bit more investment and time as employees who work with propane must be properly trained through a certified body and keep up to date on regulations. The Canadian Propane Association’s Propane Training Institute (PTI) can help with convenient online training for your employees. PTI provides the country’s most comprehensive suite of propane training courses that meet every federal, provincial and territorial regulation governing the safe transport and handling of propane plus they are available in both official languages.
But if installing a propane refilling station is not an option, a growing, alternative is offering a propane tank exchange program. This concept takes the filling and refurbishment of propane cylinders to off-site locations and creates an easy transaction for convenience stores and gas stations.
Adding propane to your product mix is added value for your customer base and an opportunity to grow your revenue. For more information about propane and the Propane Training Institute, visit the CPA website at www.propane.ca. We also invite you to follow us on social media to learn more about propane and National Propane Day that takes place on March 21.
Tammy Hirsch is a highly experienced marketing and communications professional with over 20 years of expertise in the energy sector. Since 2016, she has served as the senior director of marketing and communications at the Canadian Propane Association (CPA), where she has been responsible for planning and implementing communications strategies to promote propane and the industry across Canada. Tammy’s role at the CPA includes overseeing publications, managing partnerships with member organizations, leading web marketing and social media campaigns, and engaging with media outlets to promote the benefits of propane. Prior to joining the CPA, Tammy spent seven years at Equinor, the Norwegian state oil and gas company, where she was part of an award-winning stakeholder engagement team. Tammy is a graduate of the University of Calgary, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in communications.