Global megatrends changing the fuel retail landscape
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a bright spotlight on the ways every industry has had to adapt and meet new changes, and most industries will be adapting to these changes for the foreseeable future. But the forecourts have additional fuel consumer trends on the horizon as well, from the rise of high-speed electric vehicle charging to the increase in alternative payments.
The pandemic certainly caused shifts in the fuel consumer trends, cutting down on demand for fuel as customers stayed closer to home. Uncertain demand for fuel due to lockdowns, social distancing, and the impacts of ongoing variants will likely continue into the coming year. Many retailers took this opportunity to focus more on convenience options, viewing their offering as a convenience store selling fuel, rather than strictly a petrol station. Several fuel consumer trends will allow retailers to prevail despite a continually disrupted climate at the forecourts.
One of the biggest fuel consumer trends is a change in customer expectations. More than ever, customers are now expecting tailored offerings based on their previous purchases and personal demographics. According to Accenture, “This level of experience has become essential for new brand loyalty,” and retailers should be ready with personalized offers at the optimal time and day to suit their customers’ buying preferences.
While the use of credit cards and pay-at-pump technology have been digital innovations in recent years, digital transformation has now kicked into high gear. Several technological innovations are particularly well-suited to improving the customer experience at the forecourts, including the following:
Internet of Things:
The growing Internet of Things (IoT), where the internet connects objects and transfers information and data wirelessly, has great implications for the forecourt. Many customers already utilize the IoT to pay using their mobile phones, and the rise in connected cars will allow customers to pay using their vehicle.
Artificial intelligence is able to help retailers send offers (perhaps directly to a customer’s connected car) at the right time and even at the right location based on previous clicks and internet browsing history.
Finally, blockchain is allowing retailers to cut down on third-party distributors by helping coordinate purchases from various suppliers.
Two major auto innovations are driving full speed ahead at the moment: autonomous vehicles and electric vehicles. Autonomous vehicles will be more likely to be part of fleets, creating the opportunity for more business-to-business transactions.
Electric vehicles, on the other hand, are driving the introduction of high-speed charging stations at forecourts across the globe. And while these will necessarily offer customers an ultra-fast charge, retailers will need to create opportunities for their customers to dine and work while their cars charge.
Capitalise on trends with Azpiral
With these fuel consumer trends in mind, retailer loyalty programmes will need to innovate and adapt to meet shifting demands for personalized offers, alternative payment options, and a broader selection. Retailers are clearly embracing digital transformation though, as Accenture reported “more than eight in 10 (81%) of fuel retailers plan to increase their investments in digital solutions over the next three to five years.”
Azpiral can offer retailers a versatile digital solution that provides customers with a variety of ways to spend loyalty points, allowing them to choose products from a predefined list to reserve as part of the offer.
Get in touch via email@example.com today to learn more about how to capitalise on the top fuel consumer trends and put your forecourt business over the top.