There are over 136 000 petrol stations in the EU, Norway, UK, Switzerland and Turkey fuelling some 250 million cars and over 35 million trucks[i]. It’s a huge retail market that needs a powerful POS mix to drive it.
While fuel remains the main profit generator, prices are rising, and margins are shrinking. At the same time, the growing number of electric and hydrogen-powered cars are set to decrease fuel consumption. This makes the sale of additional high-margin goods like food, snacks, drinks and motor accessories are more important than ever.
It’s why many petrol stations have evolved to become mini-supermarkets and even fast-food outlets. In a reverse scenario, many retail supermarkets now offer fuel retailing too, providing points-linked fuel discounts to encourage customer loyalty to their store brand.
More products, fuel more expectations.
In both cases, the more products they offer, the more types of payment methods petrol stations are expected to accept. Having a provider that can meet their needs not only for fuel in the forecourt but also deliver a great retail experience in the shop is vital.
So what does it take to empower the petro business across its multiple sales points?
Choice of payments
With the increase in contactless thresholds, more people now want to fill up their tank, then tap and go. Also the rising use of mobile wallets and alternative payments means mobile acceptance is now a must – especially for younger drivers. For commercial vehicles, field workers and commuters, prepaid cards and fuel cards are also commonplace. All this means petro retailers need flexible checkout devices that can accommodate the widest range of payment formats. Not just cash and card but digital wallets and, in some countries, alternative payments end even crypto.
Unattended & pay at pump
New technology, connectivity and formfactors are making it much easier to integrate payment devices at the pump or for EV chargers. Self-service pumps can be a lifeline in remote or rural areas – where they can be run 24/7 without staff. Meanwhile, in busy high-volume locations, where drivers want to be in and out fast, they help cut down on queues which can easily put off those wanting to buy other products.
More and more vending machines are being located in forecourts, offering high-demand items like drinks and snacks. Instore too, they are providing an alternative grab and go option for busy drivers and their passengers. Everything from coffee and donuts to gadgets and toll tickets can be bought and dispensed without having to wait at the checkout.
Hundreds of millions of drivers and passengers move through petro forecourts and stores, represent a captive audience for brands. It’s why advertising at pump and in store is such big business. POS devices with multimedia capability are a great way to deliver digital ads where they have the most impact – when customers are filling up, browsing in store or waiting to pay.
Drivers are often creatures of habit. Fuel rewards programs may be a strong defence against losing customers to aggressive competitors. Being able to issue and redeem points at the checkout is crucial to the success of any programme, having a smart POS that can deliver seamless loyalty experiences can help keep fuel customers coming back for more.
It’s not just the customer experience that’s important, it’s integration and support too.
Petro-retailing presents unique challenges both in location, where hardwired connectivity can be an issue on remote or roadside sites, and usage in arduous, outdoor, high volume, fast-paced sales environments. When looking for POS solutions optimised for petro-applications, security, reliability, connectivity and robustness are all key factors.
At Castles, we have a full range of world-class devices for all your petro installations including for EV chargers and applications whether it’s self-serve, portable or counter based. Our devices can also deliver integrated loyalty, marketing and value-added services and come with service and support to keep your sales engine running smoothly.