COVID-19 is a global crisis that is continuing to evolve. The timeline and full implications of this crisis are not yet known. What is known is that short-term solutions would be able to last for longer than expected, and long-term consumer behaviors will forever be changed when we reach the end.
So what strategies should fuel and convenience retailers implement next to limit operational issues, keep employees and consumers safe, and position their businesses for the next wave of change.
No stranger to disruption
Today, the fuel and convenience retail industry faces a critical inflection point. Two main factors are accelerating industry disruption: the onset of COVID-19 driving a substantial decrease in demand, and an increase in oil supply, triggering a significant drop in oil prices. Consumer habits are shifting from in-store to virtual purchases. New competitors are emerging. Store consolidation is squeezing margins. And with improved fuel efficiency, the advent of electric vehicles, and an increase in ride-sharing, demand for motor fuel has been on the decline. Fuel and convenience retailers will need to account for the additional overhead that comes with owning or operating a c-store in both the near-term and long-term. Ultimately, strategies need to be implemented to limit operational issues, keep employees and consumers safe, and position their businesses for the next wave of change.
What can fuel and convenience retailers do now - and next - to address critical, immediate people-needs of their business? At the same time, how do they transition through these challenging times to ensure their company thrives into the future? Accenture shared some interesting insights on how to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
Enhance consumers’ in-store safe, contact-less experiences
- Provide a tailored shopping experience that helps consumers feel connected.
- Limit risks by providing safe interaction consistent with state and local safety guidance.
- Fear of COVID-19 transmission has increased consumers’ expectations in availability of products, safety, proximity of shopping locations and their need for a sense of community. Now is the time to provide a tailored shopping experience that helps consumers feel connected while limiting risks by providing safe interaction consistent with state and local safety guidance.
Accelerate technology investment to enhance digital experiences
- Build relationships to drive loyalty.
- Plan to operationalize digital investments and foster innovative partnerships to enhance consumer engagement.
- One of the best decisions you can make is to invest in engaging your consumers to build relationships that drive loyalty. Plan to operationalize your digital investments and foster innovative partnerships so you can enhance consumer engagement through information sharing and a two-way dialogue that can maximize your efficiency and understanding of their needs. The shopping experience should no longer be limited to inside the store.
Build employee loyalty and invest in employees
- Ensure employees feel safe at work and are inspired and equipped to provide care and service.
- Attract top employees and keep the people who are the backbone your consumers rely on.
- It has never been more important to care for your employees, so they feel safe at work and are inspired and equipped to provide care and service for your consumers. Invest in your employees to build trust and loyalty— key enablers to attract top employees and keep the people who are the backbone your consumers come to rely on.
Rethink products and services to meet evolving consumer needs
- Focus on the increased demand for essential items and the shift toward online and convenience stores.
- Meet consumers’ evolving needs and provide a wide array of products and services.
- The products and services consumers want you to provide have changed. We’re seeing increased demand for essential items and a shift away from traditional retail stores toward online and convenience stores. This provides an opportunity for fuel and convenience retailers to meet consumers’ evolving needs and provide a wide array of products and services. Meeting this need by rethinking products and services will help build consumer loyalty.