The future of Gas Stations: how to become a customer-centric business center? | NTT DATA

Mon, 13 December 2021

The future of Gas Stations: how to become a customer-centric business center?

Did you know that almost 60 million people visit Singapore's central airport every year? As a matter of fact, a big percentage of the audience frequent it as a mere attraction of the country itself. How can it be possible? This is because Changi, Singapore’s multifaceted airport, has won more than just a few prizes as a great place to spend time in, whether you’re flying or not. Free massages, a movie theater and even an art exhibition is what you can find inside. Multi-service spaces have proven to attract wide audiences while making it possible to profit steadily out of them and service stations are no exception: In fact, they are wisely starting to involve themselves into this trend. In addition, COVID-19 has inevitably accelerated the need for contactless, more efficient ways of attending the clientele. Offering environmentally-friendly energy alternatives to reach a wider audience can be a great example of it, but it surely isn't the only way of conquering a vast spectrum of customers.

So, what should service stations do to become multi-service business centers?

A sustainable future for multi-service stations

The increasing need for multi-service is no news: The rise of governmental and corporate policies in favor of the environment is currently occurring all over the world. The governmental policies inaugurated these last years, such as The Green Deal, are strongly supporting the idea of more efficient and more eco-friendly spaces. By 2030, it is expected that the number of electric cars bought will grow from 5 million to 250 million. This projection reflects a sustained annual growth of 38% that is far from being unrealistic. In a world where “carbon-emission zero” is the ultimate goal to achieve, service stations are now in need of becoming a part of the solution. Supporting and facilitating the journey by including multimodal energy business models can definitely be a game changer.

However, in addition to the need for a wider spectrum of fuel alternatives, customers’ demands have also been changing during the last decade. Although consumption patterns have been constantly evolving, the COVID-19 pandemic has definitely accelerated the evolution of these needs. The recent lockdowns have been generating new habits and now, more than ever, technology is a huge part of people’s daily lives. Consequently, innovative alternatives such as shared-mobility models are taking the lead toward the new cultural shift we are experiencing. UberEats or even Beat Tesla, a mobility service that is completely personalized and fully supported by electric cars, are clear examples of the kind of substitutes that people are now expecting to find at their fingertips.

Nevertheless, the fact that service stations can’t aim to provide every single service demanded isn't a surprise. In fact, an industry ecosystem is vital in order to generate a complete multi-service center that emphasizes achieving an optimal customer’s experience. An alliance between different market areas is what can create a memorable experience for the client, who might visit the station to refuel, but also to go shopping and relax.

Disruptive technologies as a way to go

If a wide eco-friendly energy offer and a convenient multi-service business center is what the future aims for, the only way of achieving that future service station is, without a doubt, disruptive technologies. Incorporating advanced technologies into the customers' journey wouldn’t only mean including self-attended kiosks or bots that use Artificial Intelligence with which you could have a talk. Instead, the focus should be on providing a data-based adventure for the client: hyper-personalized service offering, geolocalization of the vehicle, and traffic information, are some of the valuable inputs that IoT devices can provide, in order to create a frictionless customer experience.. Further, Cloud-based commerce platforms and smart apps can help create the link between the consumer and the business center. Consequently, disruptive technologies end up being what make the service stations of the future possible.

It’s been a while since gas stations have begun making the shift from attending the vehicles, to attending the owners of the vehicles. The customer experience is therefore what truly matters when it comes to conquering a solid, loyal client spectrum and not just providing only vehicle-related products. More than ever, today’s consumption habits are constantly evolving, and pleasing the audience means being able to adapt to their preferences. In order to create a long-lasting business, it’s important that the environment, each particular client, and the vehicles they possess, find a way to coexist through the emerging disruptive technologies available. Creating an alliance with holistic service systems, such as Everilion Station, can easily help initiate a new interactive model with the client, where the customized attention is prioritized and the hard work is relegated to the most qualified experts.