Blending Together

Blog: Convenience Stores, Quick-Service Restaurants and Fuel Stations are Blending Together More and More

November 21, 2023  |  NINO HÖRTTRICH

The fuel and convenience industry is on the move – more than ever before. F+C retailers know they must evolve their business and are eagerly looking for ways to create new, appealing environments that offer more than just fueling up and buying a snack. There are several good reasons why this evolution is mandatory, so let me share some of the main drivers.

Blending of segments
Does your local C-store also prepare fresh meals? Fresh food was one of the biggest convenience trends already last year, but it’s still growing. One key driver for this trend is the growing number of electric vehicle drivers, who expect more than just a quick shopping experience when charging their car. Longer dwell times of customers require creative thinking on what to offer in addition to the traditional service. Perhaps you remember the “fuel-plus” to “plus-fuel” prediction? It’s now a reality. Fuel stations become more of a store by giving people more choices when it comes to shopping, dining and entertainment. Fuel retailers want to give their customers good reasons to stay loyal, especially as fuel retailers feel the pressure of a new competitive situation. For example, when quick-service restaurants (QSRs) become fuel stations too by installing EV charging stations in their parking lots.

This strong blending of QSRs, convenience and fuel retailing requires more than pure creativity in terms of business concepts. Retailers are looking for effective ways to connect and streamline all forecourt, convenience store and QSR processes to make consumer journeys as smooth as possible – ideally with one touchpoint for everything.

Self-service is on the way
Self-service plays an important role in this new F+C environment set-up, and it is already a big topic for the industry, whether it is self-checkout of self-ordering. Retailers want to give their customers more options to order, shop and pay, according to their individual preferences. Additionally, they want to leverage their workforce in a more consumer-oriented way by reducing the time staff members are ‘locked’ behind the POS counter. But consumers don’t want to pay for fueling their car at the pump, then go to the C-store and use a self-checkout to pay for the items in their basket followed by using a self-ordering terminal in the QSR. The ideal frictionless consumer journey involves combining all these elements at one touchpoint. That’s why retailers are looking for solutions that allow their customers to order their food, scan all the items in their basket and pay for fueling and additional services like lottery or car wash at one station. Of course, with the same level of convenience when it comes to the payment process, providing all options from card over mobile to cash as well as the integration of their loyalty program functions. 

Sounds like a wish list, but it is indeed the best way to create an appealing experience and to keep customer service high, especially in times of labor shortage. The good news is that it’s all possible.

Creating ‘triple win’ F+C environments
Retailers want to automate their F+C environments to make the journeys for customers and employees easier, but they also want to keep solution footprint and costs low. Challenge accepted! The self-service and checkout solutions from Diebold Nixdorf enable retailers to easily combine all segments and create single consumer touchpoints, without being locked into a single hardware and software vendor. At the same time, the solutions allow maximum flexibility to create self-service, semi-self-service and attended journeys with the same set of devices, and switch between all those deployment options whenever necessary during the day. A ‘triple win’ situation: the consumer gets the desired choice and convenience, the staff members cover a broader set of tasks and get more time to serve the consumers, and the retailer benefits from a secure investment that keeps them flexible today and tomorrow.

Let’s drive the new era of fuel and convenience retail together.

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