Digitisation, Propelling The Forecourt Retail Sector Forward

Picture this. A customer gets into her car with her Wi-Fi on, and quickly realises she needs to refuel. Making her way home, a pop-up notification alerts her that there is a garage nearby with a drive-thru service, plus it’s running a two-for-one promotion on pies. While refuelling, she places her order with the store without getting out of her car. She then makes her way to the drive-thru to collect and pay for her items, seamlessly.

This is convenience at its best. The good news is it’s not as far-off a concept as you might think, with technologies like IoT, finding new ways to proactively engage with customers in a personal way to make their lives easier is a reality. The sky really is the limit.

For example, the process of refuelling and purchasing goods at the station’s store can be taken a step further with technology such as the Internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and analytics, already offering customers fuel discounts, digital rewards, and mobile payments. While AI technology is learning to build smart shopping baskets for customers.

Really, the opportunities and possibilities become endless.  It’s safe to say more and more convenience stores are moving towards the forecourt. Demand for speedy, on-the-go purchases continues to rise and the forecourt convenience retail sector has carved out a thriving niche for itself. But enabling technologies like these can really be used to propel the sector into the future.

Technology is paving a new road leading to new ways of engaging and attracting customers to the forecourt.

And, as card payment technology and secure payment connectivity improves, attractive factors such as speed and convenience will improve too and with it, the progressive growth of the forecourt convenience retail sector itself.

In this fast-paced world, it only makes sense that more focus is being placed on catering for these on-the-go experiences for customers.

Just take the recent transformation of the Halfway House in Johannesburg which has been converted into a convenient one stop shop for commuters, featuring a petrol station, a Kauai for the more health conscious, and even a Takealot pickup point, to name a few.

The forecourt retail sector has only scratched the surface of all the possibilities that could be achieved. The sector is ready for digital disruption.

XLink, as a leading provider of connectivity solutions for the forecourt retail sector, helps forecourt retailers get future ready by orchestrating this vision of true connected convenience, accelerating those on-the-go experiences customers are looking for.

Innovation doesn’t need to be complicated or costly and digitisation isn’t a scary word. The future of the forecourt could be spectacular if technology is fully embraced. Or, it could stay the same as it is now and watch as the future passes it by.

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