Future-Proof: The Changing Landscape of Fuel-Retail

The fuel-retail sector has seen a remarkable change over the last few years, and more so since the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This change in the market landscape highlights both new opportunities and revenue growth alongside the

need to future-proof business practices rapidly. 

Shifting consumer behaviors, and new technologies entering the fuel retail arena are crucial to business growth.  Efficient utilization of fuel station real estate such as expanding EV charging stations, retail shops, restaurants and business centers are just some of the ways to pave the path towards the future. 

Redesigning the value proposition

In fuel retail, just like in other retail experiences, customers are now expecting a smooth, personalized digital experience.  Industry leaders offering technological disruption understand how to translate client needs into value by providing platforms to support omnichannel purchases, all forms of frictionless payment, and 24-7 real-time data and analysis, both on and offline. 

One of the biggest pain points for consumers today is the lack of time. They are willing to pay more and remain loyal to retail service providers who help them resolve their hectic lives by implementing the technology required. Top client-focused innovations include self-service options that interface with mobile devices and portable payment terminals at the station forecourt.  

Aligning strategy to convenience

Aligning strategy to convenience requires rapid adaptation, embracing the current strengths of fuel retail to build market share and drive revenue. 

Fuel stops are distributed based on need and population density, with more c-stores located in heavily populated regions. Every fuel station, and fuel retail store does not have the same customer demographic. Consider the difference between a store located in a rural area vs. in an urban setting; both consumer segments and their spending habits are different. Engaging analytic software can help make informed decisions, highlighting high-performing product lines and individual spending trends. It’s time to leverage data and attain the strongest return on investment for your retail space.

By analyzing customer behavior and spending habits, fuel-retailers can pivot their product holding and sales strategy to meet their market needs, and more importantly, to meet their client needs.

Remote management of sites

The future of fuel retail will require client-focused solutions, and universal disruption across all aspects of the industry. One of the most exciting new areas of innovation is centralized, management and control of store functions, allowing owners to operate from any location, save time and improve efficiency by accessing inventory tracking and updating product prices.

With solutions such as remote site management and cloud-based platforms, business owners can gain command of back-office operations, eliminate manual processes, view live sales, reduce errors, and maintain control of multiple stores, from anywhere.  

Favorite features:  Data visibility across retail sites, real-time alerts to proactively track critical information, and flexible 360-degree remote management.

Joining the digital journey 

Consumers are increasingly embracing online shopping experiences. The digital expansion has accelerated over the last few years, with customers expecting full digital retail experiences. With the rise of click-and-collect or pre-purchased item collection, fuel-retail providers need to capitalize on providing hyper-convenience to their customers and offer the same. 

Across Europe, consumers have largely turned cashless during the pandemic, with contactless and online payments increasing exponentially. The COVID-19 Effect on European E-Commerce and Retail from PXP Financial surveyed consumers in six European countries, finding widely varying appetites towards a cashless society. In the research, 41% of consumers across the six countries – UK, Spain, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland and Italy – indicated that they would feel positive about a cashless society. Poland topped the tables of going cashless with 54% of respondents indicating positivity towards dropping cash. Italy followed on 49%, Spain next with 42% followed by the UK at 40%.

Source: ibsintelligence  

Software to support change

Future-proofing fuel retail requires insight into each store’s target demographic, with tools to support each location and customer’s specialized requirements. Multi-channel, holistic purchasing solutions, improve the customer experience, and allows customers to shop according to their personal preferences. 

Data is king! Use objective information and insights to keep your business agile and dynamic, monitoring outcomes, quickly pivoting, and optimizing offerings to ensure consistent relevance. Orpak develops software platforms to help build accurate customer insight and support all types of payment.

An awareness of the interplay between emerging technology, a changing customer experience, and a new business model that encompasses them is key to future-proof the fuel retail industry.

Contact us to learn how to meet today’s always-on business world with the Passport X multi-layer platform for fuel retailers.