As part of its retail branding strategy and customer-centric, value-added initiatives, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd announced a phased unveiling of its XTRACARE brand of retail outlets across the country.
To begin with, a total of 1,080 retail outlets of IOC would be upgraded to the XTRACARE category by March 31, 2005. In the second phase, an additional 1,800 retail outlets would be brought under the XTRACARE fold, according to Mr Gautam Datta, General Manager of IOC in-charge-of West Bengal.
Addressing a news conference here, Mr Datta said the launch of XTRACARE was a "culmination of a series of planning in retail design, product & service upgradation, capability training, automation, loyalty programme and retail site management techniques all benchmarked to global standards".
Mr Datta said that while XTRACARE outlets would be located within the confines of urban centres, the Swagat brand of IOC outlets would be located on highways.
These branded outlets would offer branded fuels and have value-added facilities such as the availability of ATMs, fast food centres, BSNL cards, medical facilities and pollution control checks.
A tie-up has been forged with the Gates Foundation whereby awareness of AIDS and family planning would be facilitated through the Swagat outlets located on highways.
According to him, IOC's retail branding initiative was kickstarted in mid-2003 under a project that was nicknamed "Operation Everest".
XTRACARE outlets were benchmarked to global standards of quality & quantity, housekeeping, maintenance and customer service certified by global certification major Bureau Veritas.
Asked to what extent IOC's branding initiatives had translated into in terms of incremental sales of the company's products, Mr Datta said it would be difficult to quantify the same in view of the huge volumes that was involved.
"Our branding initiatives are driven more by the demands of our customers than by our desire for a better bottomline. Suffice to say that sales of IOC's products have grown in a situation when the size of the overall pie has not," he said.