Success Stories

Out of the Box:
Transforming Shell’s growth and scaling its DTC business.

How a traditional company attracted, acquired, retained, and monetized users with a transformed direct-to-consumer app strategy.

About Shell


If you live in any continent but Antarctica, it’s likely you’ll find a Shell gas station in your country. People have used Shell products in their cars for more than 116 years. With the Shell Box app, they are now using it on their phone too. And more often.

This is a story of how a traditional oil and gas company transformed its DTC strategy to adapt to changes in consumer behavior. How they transformed their value proposition and their approach to grow their business.

The Challenge

From the Gas Tank to your phone:

Raizen, is a joint venture between energy companies Shell and Cosan, operates more than 7,500 Shell-branded gas stations in Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. Traditionally, staying at the top in a competitive industry as Oil & Gas, used to require heavy investment in branding and loyalty initiatives. Now it requires much more than that.

To build customer loyalty in Argentina, Raizen used to rely on Shell’s well-known brand and its popular airline mileage program. However,  with the changing tides in consumer behavior after the pandemic (i.e. people traveling less)  it needed a revamp and to differentiate its direct-to-consumer offers to stay relevant.

In October 2021, the Shell Box app was released. Raizen’s team was betting on a mobile paying wallet and benefits platform that would allow users to take Shell’s products not only inside their cars, but on their phones as well.

Raizen team knew that a paying app was great not only to add a cash flow stream but to add a first-party data stream as well. With users interacting through their loyalty programs and mobile wallet, they started seeing how often an individual customer was gettinggas, and more importantly, estimating when they would do it again.
However, creating stickiness and capturing active users for an app that is not used daily, was challenging. To solve this challenge the team needed to raise its app’s awareness, convince users to install it, and, most importantly, remind them to use it. 

The Solution

Fueling up:

Flagged by a globally recognized brand and positioned by traditional branding campaigns, Raizen’s Shell fuel station business stood at the top three in terms of market share in Argentina. However, to growing the Shell Box app, required a new approach focused on online campaigns based on performance. These campaigns would focus mainly on driving users and transactions. In November 2021 Raizen began working with Winclap as its Growth Partner, and its Paid Media Team.

An initial diagnosis found that despite previous successful loyalty programs capturing a great volume of users, organic user growth was dragging and Monthly Active Users (MAU) were low. To acquire valuable users (i.e. active transacting users) the team executed a phased strategy along the funnel with acquisition campaigns on Google, Meta, and TikTok.

Old users,  new transactions:

The Shell Box team leveraged its previous airline miles program popularity to bring old users to the new app. With the help of Winclap Paid Media team, they allocated the budget to both acquisitions for new users and retargeting campaigns to old loyalty program registrants.

The first stage was to optimize towards installs. Then, as the volume of these app events grew, campaigns started optimizing towards Registrations and Transactions. This way, Shell could acquire valuable users at each stage of the funnel while controlling the cost of acquisition.

During the seven months of the partnership in 2022, monthly average signups increased 2.7x while reducing the cost per signup 63% vs start. Similarly, Transactions augmented 5,7x with a reduced Cost per Transaction decrease of 63% vs the start of the campaign. In 2023, the goal was to maintain the volume of Paid Media events, while complementing activation with Owned Media campaigns to reduce Cost per Events. As of Nov ’23, signups have remained stable and transactions doubled, while reducing average monthly CPA- 50% and 83% respectively vs  2022 (Jun-Dec’22).

Pumping Content

Shell Box Paid Media campaigns were deployed on  Google, Meta and TikTok. Just like a diesel car won’t run on gas and viceversa, each platform needs its creative fuel to run properly. The Raizen team worked with Winclap’s Creative Studio experts to create and execute a content plan for every media platform.

  • On Google, the team created different YouTube and native videos testing duration and CTA. They highlighted the power of Shell as a globally recognized brand and the relaunch of their new app.
  • On Meta, they tested InFeed Ads and Videos in Stories with specific ad creatives differentiated between User Acquisition and Retargeting campaigns.

Breaking the shell:

  • On TikTok, Raizen faced an important creative challenge: adapting a traditional oil & gas institutional brand approach to TikTok’s more relaxed communication style. Little by little (or TikTok by TikTok) the Shell Box creative strategy adapted to this channel’s best practices. The team left aside its more institutional side, while sticking to its brand guidelines. They attracted viewers with videos using humor, trends and  native filters, crafting a more casual and empathic approach to the brand.

  • Unleashing this new creative approach allowed Shell Box team to start advertising creatively on other trending channels with similar codes like Instagram Reels.

Out of the Box: building a Quantitative Growth Model

A car doesn’t run only on gas. It also needs oil to lubricate the engine, appropriate air pressure and alignment for the wheels, and even a clean windshield to run efficiently. That’s why gas stations offer much more than pumping gasoline.
Similarly, app growth doesn’t run only with acquisition campaigns. A strong growth strategy needs to measure its performance impact and user retention levels. Cross-team initiatives need direction to be aligned to the same objectives. A growth machine’s components need to work in unison.


Thus, Raizen and Winclap needed to set up an integral strategy that would align their goals. For the first time, the Shell Box team invited Winclap to participate in its internal annual business reviews. During these sessions, marketing, performance, and BI leaders met with Winclap’s growth partners, retention managers and measurement & impact leads to discuss the Growth plan for the year.
Together they built Shell’s  Quantitative Growth Model (QGM), a strategic framework that aligned KPIs, strategies and tactics to achieve its goals. The QGM allowed the Shell Box team to:

  • Align objectives between cross-functional teams 
  • Define branding, acquisition, and retention strategies across paid media and partnership channels
  • Set Media Buying forecasts and targets
  • Set Monthly Active User goals and churn ratios
  • Define a North Star metric that made sense not just for marketing teams but for the overall business (e.g. # of transactions, the volume of litters of gas sold, $ incremental revenue generated )

Unlike a traditional media agency approach Raizen’s Shell Box team realized that a siloed strategy wouldn’t cut it. They needed a partner deeply involved in its Growth strategy to make all their efforts work together. It needed a full growth station. 

Together with Winclap we are conducting collaborative working sessions where we start with a business diagnosis and end with a Quantiative Growth Model Plan that represents our year's roadmap. We define different key metrics for acquisition, retention, costs, and investment efficiency.
We are developing annual plans where we complement our industry expertise with their Growth Transformation skills.

Rodrigo Parodi
Head of Performance - Raizen Argentina - Shell Box

Fixing the leak

Focusing only on acquiring users and dismissing retention is like continuing to pump gasoline into a leaking tank: your car will move, but it will be inefficient for your growth. Sooner than later you will have to address that drain. When Winclap’s Retention & Engagement team ran their first diagnostic, mid term (first six months) churn rate was around 30%. It was time to fix that leak.

Segment, personalize, reactivate:

To solve this, the team first needed to understand how users were behaving and segment them accordingly.
Winclap Owned Media’s data scientists used Shell’s user transactional data to feed an unsupervised machine learning model and extract behavior patterns. The clustering algorithms in this model grouped users according to their transactional frequency and value segmenting them by casual, core, or power users.
For example, among Shell Box frequent users the team found: 


ML- Cllustering algorithms were run to segment users according to their transactional frequency and values. With these clusters, Shell Box identified segments with particular use cases.

With this segmentation, Raizen could A/B Test and tailor their Owned Media (Email Marketing and Push Notifications) touchpoints along the customer lifecycle to maximize every cluster’s  transaction on the app and offline.

Some of these touchpoint test included:

  • Generic vs personalized naming  in emails and push notifications.
  • Image testing in push notifications and emails.
  • Testing time of day effectiveness in messaging

During the first 10 months of working together, achieved consistent growth in active users, with total Monthly Active Users (MAUs) increasing by 2.2x. This was due to the accumulation of recurring, and a steady increase of reactivated users, whose share increased from 10% on Feb’23 to 19% on Dec’23.

As of December 2023, the Shell Box team achieved:

  • Most reactivated users over the last twelve months.
  • Most recurrent users over the last twelve months.
  • Least amount of churned users over the last 5 months.

Measuring impact:

A common challenge among marketers is correctly measuring how their campaigns impact the business. CEO, CFO and other stakeholders must understand why it is worth to invest in marketing and growth initiatives. This goes beyond reporting standard optimization metrics like CPM, CTR, CAC, LTV, ROI, ROAS. It’s about showing how these initiatives reflect on an income statement or a cash flow. Raizen and the Winclap Measurement Team worked together to show how much value the Shell Box growth strategy brought to the business in Argentina.
To do so, they ran incrementality tests and showed campaigns’ impact in terms of financial metrics that every team related to:
For example, they showed that online campaigns brought an incremental 11% lift in the total amount of fuel sold during September 2023.

The Results

50%- Decrease in CPA
2,2x Increase in MAUs
11% Incremental increase volume of fuel sold (Sep’23)

Growth Transformation

What started as a loyalty program relaunch is now one of the top 5 most downloaded shopping apps in Argentina in 2023.
A story of how a traditional oil & gas business transformed its DTC strategy with an omnichannel experience that goes beyond the gas station.
A story of how a brand and a partner transformed a growth strategy that went beyond user acquisition. A cross-team and multi-funnel initiative that is attracting, retaining and monetizing valuable users, and showing how this impacts the business.


With the Shell Box app, Raizen is selling more gas, increasing revenue, and making customers happier.

The Growth Station

Working with cross functional teams, Raizen and Winclap aligned their goals, and plan and execute a full funnel growth strategy to achieve them.

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