In November we joined the IFSF (International Forecourt Standards Forum) Annual Conference and explored this year’s theme of ‘Enhancing Consumer Experience’.
Digitization is indeed transforming the fuel industry. Every week we hear of new technological developments shaping the future of fuel and convenience retail, creating a more streamlined, pleasant and convenient purchasing experience for the end customer. At the IFSF forum Peter van Nauw (Snr. Director Automation & Payment Solutions) of our partner Dover Fueling Solutions (DFS) presented how they are enabling the evolution of the customer experience through digital transformation.
More convenient payment experience
Contactless transactions are now the norm in Europe, but the impact of COVID-19 has sped up the rollout of many contactless payment solutions across the region. Over the past year, thousands of fuel sites have been investing in contactless payment technologies to minimize health and safety risks to their customers. Contactless payment limits have also been increased to help retailers service their customers for all on site purchases, including their larger fuel spends. The indirect consequence of this is, of course, a faster, more convenient payment experience for the customer, improving their on-site experience and encouraging repeat business. This also means the retailer can facilitate a higher throughput. Combined, these factors ultimately mean greater profit to the fuel retailer.
In February 2020 DFS launched its Self-Checkout Kiosk, which enables customers not only to pay contactless, but to combine fuel and convenience purchase in one self-managed transaction. There are, however, still huge opportunities for growth in providing outdoor payment solutions. Throughout 2021 and due to the lasting impact of COVID-19 the growth of these products in the market will expand exponentially.
The consumer is driving the change in the industry
Keeping the forecourt, an ever-increasing focus on the environment has led to a boom in electric vehicle (EV), hybrid vehicle (HEV), plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) and battery vehicle (BEV) chargers appearing on site. The consumer is driving change in the industry, and the supplier must provide the solutions to the retailer. DFS has been working on systems that integrate these new chargers with existing point-of-sale equipment, which means their running and service costs are fully accounted for during reconciliation. This includes the set-up and sharing of the tariff, which can be instantly viewed by customers, site staff and the retailer’s head office thanks to cloud-based technology. Sales can also be combined with non-fuel retail purchases, so the customer can benefit from the convenience of paying for everything in a single transaction.
More personalized shopping experience
As a supplier, DFS is constantly searching for new ways to integrate new functionalities and technologies into the fuel retail site solution. Maintaining connectivity and communication between all on-site equipment, as well as the accurate gathering of data from these products, is key to ensuring the success of such solutions.
Digital transformation will continue to drive technological developments in the industry, and its growth will only get faster. In September 2020, DFS launched its Anthem UX User Experience platform to the North American market. This platform, which will be introduced to the EMEA region in the near future, is set to revolutionize the industry, and has already taken the USA by storm. Anthem is a user experience platform with an intuitive user interface, which provides a new way for fuel retails to connect with their customers through a flexible, unique content platform. The integrated Anthem platform enables contactless and mobile payment, QR code scanning to enter loyalty schemes and much more. Peter Van Nauw summarized by commenting ‘Fuel retail sites are evolving rapidly, destined to become a place of convenience for both in-store and non-traditional fuel purchases. Furthermore, the modern consumer is now expecting a more personalized shopping experience and central to this is the creation of preferential brand awareness. The key to making all of this a reality is digitalization.’
We really are living in an exciting time for technology and cloud-based solutions. Innovations will continue to evolve at a rapid pace, and we can’t wait to see where the next decade takes us. One thing is for certain: the customer experience will be unrecognizable, and the only way is up for the fuel retailer. If you’re interested in watching Peter’s full presentation, click here.