Fuel retailers are facing an increasing number of commercial threats on a number of fronts. Along with the threats from other traditional oil industry retailers, there is the ongoing threat from supermarkets offering low fuel prices to entice customers to spend in their stores. However, increasingly technology disruption is driving new threats but also providing opportunities.
Innovations such as mobile payment allow people to fuel their cars, pay instantly and drive away without having to queue in store. This is great for modern technology savvy consumers who want to just pay and go. However, with in-store sales representing nearly 75% of gross profit this can cause major challenges for fuel retailers. These challenges are now driving other innovations in mobile apps, loyalty programmes, and "just walk out technology" similar to Amazon Go to encourage the customer back to the store.
The drive (no pun intended) to improve, personalise and enhance the experience for the customer will be key to unlocking future revenue growth. Some have claimed that data is the new oil. What is for sure is that the data being generated by these digital innovations combined with strong data analytics will be invaluable to fuel retailers to shape their strategies to meet both traditional and new challenges.
With in-store sales generating nearly three-fourths of gross profit, taking the customer from the pump to the store has become fundamental to any successful c-store business.