ExxonMobil Web Map App Begs The Question: Why Not Mobile?

Written by Evan Schuman and Fred J. Aun
May 7th, 2009

ExxonMobil on Monday (May 4) proudly rolled out new Web mapping capabilities, which will feature improved turn-by-turn directions to stations with specific services including convenience stores, service bays, diesel fuel, ATMs and car washes. But the irony is that of all retail applications, none more than gas stations could benefit from a little PDA magic.

Is Mobil afraid of Mobile? Is not offering an on-the-road version of a find-me-a-gas-station-quick application an example of E-Commerce fuelishness? (No more. I promise.)

To be clear, the efforts of the petro chain are to be applauded as much attention to detail was clearly performed here, with Google mapping-powered gas station details displayed including whether a station accepts Speedpass, sells propane, has service bays, an ATM and a car wash and even whether it sells nachos, eggs or a cappuccino.

“Customers can easily plan their driving route which will identify all of the Exxon and Mobil branded stations along the way,” said an ExxonMobil statement. “Additional enhancements include turn-by-turn driving directions and the ability to find services you need, such as a convenience store, service bays, diesel fuel, ATMs, or a car wash.”

But is that the kind of info someone will search for at their desk? That seems less a mouseclick and more a steering wheel flick.

Granted, a desktop app is a lot easier to create, but isn’t that the old joke about the man who sees another looking carefully near the base of a lamppost? The man asks the searcher what he’s seeking and he says it’s his carkeys. Where did you lose them?, the man asks and he’s told: “Way over there, by that big Oak tree.”

Confused, the good Samaritan asks, “If you lost your keys way over there, why the heck are you looking here?” Replied the keyless ExxonMobile E-Commerce developer: “Because the light’s better over here.”


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