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How are fuel retailers adapting to digital technologies? Five key trends

A new Accenture and PetrolPlaza survey explores where companies are on their journey towards digital technologies at the forecourt. The quick rise of certain disruptors has forced fuel retailing professionals to invest in new technologies.



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Author: Accenture / PetrolPlaza

Around 80% of fuel retailers will invest in digital technologies in the next three to five years, according to a new survey carried out by Accenture in partnership with PetrolPlaza.

With fuel margins getting thinner by the day, cars becoming more efficient and the electric vehicle revolution casting a shadow over the horizon, traditional fuel retailers are looking at digital technologies to improve their businesses and increase profit.

The survey identifies five key trends when exploring how retailers are adapting to digital technology:

1. Disrupting is accelerating. The rise of electric vehicles, changing consumer behaviours, increased vehicle efficiency and regulatory changes are speeding up the disruption process of the traditional fuelling business model.

2. Commitment to digital investment. Digital investments are expected to increase significantly to better engage with customers and improve services. Around 45% of professionals surveyed said their companies would be investing “significantly more” in digital technologies in the next 3-5 years with the target of achieving better customer retention and an increase in convenience store sales. Mobile payments were the preferred single investment (58%) by respondents.

3. Analytics enhances performance. Retailers believe analytics and big data (66%) will be the digital technology with the most positive impact on their businesses, followed by automation and mobility.

4. Digital maturity is the goal. The vast majority of fuel retailing professionals believe the digitization of their business is only getting started. Investments in skills training, automation and partnerships are the key steps towards that transition. Almost half of those surveyed (49%) said that access to digital innovation was the main incentive for entering into strategic partnerships.

5. Better foundations are needed. Embracing partner ecosystems will better address gaps in performance and drive the maturity of the business model. Outsourcing these digital services is for now the preferred option among retailers.

Accenture’s survey shows a clear trend in the fuel retailing market towards digital solutions at the forecourt. The biggest changes won’t necessarily appear first in Europe and the U.S. as Asian countries embrace new technology and innovation. More and more companies will enter into strategic partnerships to access innovation and new technologies.

*PetrolPlaza participated in Accenture’s Digital Fuel Retail Survey 2018. Read the full report here.

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