Published in Inside Franchise Business, August 2019
A point of distinction in the market is valuable for any business. So could service be the game changer in the service station arena?
My first job (that put me through school and early university) was as a pump jockey or petrol station attendant. This profession went into extinction 40 years ago – and yet in visiting New Zealand recently, I see it is being revived as a forecourt concierge.
In New Zealand Shell has been sold and rebranded to Zed, and one of the new marketing ploys is to have a forecourt concierge available to fill your tank for you if you would like (at no extra cost).
Could this work again in Australia?
Service at the fuel pump returns to New Zealand's service stations | Inside Franchise Business
Service return to service stations
Marketing is a big spend for the oil companies, and it would be very interesting if one of the major retail chains (Caltex, Shell/Coles, Woolworths, United, 7/11 or BP) were to try and take a jump on the rest by offering service – something they have been low on over the years.
If they were to do this, there could be an argument over price. However the oil industry has been running on very good margins for some years now, and they continue to move prices up and down so much, no one ever really gets a good point of comparison.
It could be a game changer, especially in higher socio-economic areas, or business areas around CBDs, where people would love to not have to refuel their own car.
Maybe a smaller chain would want to try it? Shell could use its Liberty brand sites as a test run, and if it really made a difference move it into Shell/Coles locations?
The last major change in market share in the oil industry was probably when Shell/Coles and Woolworth/Caltex introduced their shopper dockets. The industry has normally stayed relatively stable with market share driven by the number of sites and the competitiveness on the price boards.
A forecourt concierge could be a new factor that could put the word service back into service station.
Want to read more about what’s happening in convenience stores and service stations? Innovation at convenience stores as 7-Eleven trials cashless concept; why Caltex exited franchising; and what’s influencing the convenience store of the future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Peter Buckingham is the Managing Director of Spectrum Analysis Australia Pty Ltd, a Melbourne-based Geodemographic and statistical consultancy. Spectrum specializes in assisting clients with decisions relating to store and site location, strategic network planning and territory planning using various scientific and statistical techniques across Australia and New Zealand. To contact Peter email firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 61 398300077.
Click on the link to the following article https://www.franchisebusiness.com.au/news/service-return-to-service-stations/
Peter Buckingham is the Managing Director of Spectrum Analysis Australia. He is a certified Management Consultant, and a Fellow of the FCA and IMC.