Service stations are changing the way they operate worldwide. New forecourt locations pop up in emerging markets, and owners implement the latest technological automation for faster service.
These changes in service and technology are being driven by the demands of evolving driving habits and changing expectations for services. This article goes in-depth into the top 4 service station trends.
1. Electronic payments
Fast, efficient, and secure electronic options other than debit and credit cards are becoming more accessible across all industries.
- Mobile wallets. Mobile wallets like Apple Pay and PayPal use GPS tracking, QR codes, barcodes, and near-field communication through mobile devices to secure electronic money transfers. When selecting a Payment Service Provider (PSP), double-check that you’re choosing one that supports mobile wallet payments.
- Carside Service. Payment apps like BP’s BPme app make payments so efficient that customers don’t even have to leave their vehicles. Drivers can now pull up to a petrol station, use the app to request specific products and services so they are ready for collection once they have filled up the car..
- Augmented reality tools: Equipped with the glasses, the service station attendants can scan payment codes on a customer’s smartphone and complete the transaction in 30 seconds.
2. Data-fueled promotions
Discounts and special offers are a traditional marketing strategy for petrol stations here in Australia. It remains a tactical way to drive traffic, sales, and brand awareness, and technology offers service station owners advanced methods to create and gauge campaigns.
When customer data is stored in the same system, you can better understand your customer base and business, create relevant sales reports, and personalise promotions and products.
Another opportunity to collect data and gain insight into your customers’ preferences is implementing a loyalty program. This kind of program can drive sales and build a robust and loyal customer base. As customers use the loyalty rewards, you can gain an amalgamated view of their data and use the information to create personalised rewards, offers, and communications.
3. Diversification of services
To attract and retain customers, service stations need to provide solutions that simplify their lives. Differing revenue streams, such as food and beverage, made-to-order takeaways, and cafes, are excellent options for keeping your customers engaged. There are solution services that provide systems where you can manage food service, fuel, and your c-store in the same capacity. This way, you can mitigate the cost and time required to integrate multiple systems and gain a single view over your operations, from fuel pump service to inventory and food sales.
As eCommerce grows in popularity with no end in sight, logistics and deliveries are expanding. Some service stations even utilise store space for package pick-up lockers, where customers can receive deliveries at their convenience.
A lot of ServoPro members are using services such as Uber Eats to get their products out to customers who they normally wouldn’t do business with.
4. Automating with technology
Automation is a reliable and efficient way to upgrade your service station. These days, everything is being automated. Customers want streamlined services immediately – convenience is the objective.
Service stations worldwide have implemented innovative technology such as automated fueling arms, artificial intelligence (AI) tools for vehicle and driver recognition, and an unstaffed c-store that customers can enter by scanning their QR code at the door. The store then automatically charges their accounts for the products they took.
Automated services enable service station owners to spend less time on routine tasks and more on providing customers with the fast, quality service they expect.
If you’re looking for advice on making your service station more profitable, our team can help. ServoPro is Australia’s leading membership for fuel retailers, paving the way for innovative solutions that lead to a successful business. Contact us today to learn more.