By Gavin Lennox, Invenco CEO: It may seem almost counter-intuitive but retailers offering an effective ‘pay-at-pump’ option is significantly increasing store traffic. While confidentiality prevents us from sharing actual customer data, there is a consistent pattern of increased in-store sales from those who offer payment at the pump coupled with promoting offers on the payment terminal screen.
This aligns with recent Foot Traffic Research studies by US driver app, GasBuddy, across 100 PCR sties. It established 73% of drivers spent more than five minutes at a fuel stop and, according to its 2017 Q1 report:
“For the time-strapped consumer looking for shorter lines and faster transaction time, convenience stores are the new coffee shops, grocery stores, QSRs, liquor stores and more. Nearly three-fourths of GasBuddy users spent more than 5 minutes at any location during Q1—good news for retailers looking to capture customers beyond the average 2-3 minutes it takes to fill a gas tank.”
While a subsequent study in Q2 2017 further supports this finding: “74% of respondents say they stop at stations and stores for something other than fuel. Retailers should take advantage of these more frequent trips by marketing their loyalty programs and other in-store promotions …”
Benefits of on screen promotion at the pump
This aligns with trends Invenco and its partners are seeing. To capture this ‘ready-to-spend’ market the impact of combining on screen promotion with ‘pay-at-the-pump’ is four-fold:
1. For the 25% who just want to fuel up and go, they are only occupying pump space for the 2-3 minutes it takes to fill the tank and complete the payment transaction on an Outdoor Payment Terminal. Enabling fast turnover at the pump at peak, maximizes your ability to serve those who do arrive on the forecourt wanting to purchase more than fuel.
2. Simultaneously, those fuel-only customers are removed from in-store queues. Smaller lines make it more attractive for those who do want to spend, to come into the store and make a purchase. It also enables retailers to offer additional revenue streams, such as made to order food or barista coffee, which are otherwise difficult to execute – especially in peak periods.
3. A timely offer at the pump is proven to give that final push some customers need to act. While they may have been sent a promotion on a loyalty app or seen your on-site promotion the more encouragement to purchase at the time of transaction, the more likely the conversion.
Savvy fuel retailers enable customers to purchase coffee, food, car cleaning and other services at the pump. The OPT issues a printed voucher that can then be redeemed in-store, at a kiosk or from a drive thru window, without having to join another queue to order and pay.
4. The ability to effortlessly change your offer to meet the time of day is also key to increasing non-fuel sales. The same Foot Traffic research identified 60% of respondents purchased coffee on the way to work with a second consistent peak between 11am and 1pm. This offers a great opportunity to “capitalize on the crowd using their lunch hour to fill up by offering in-store promotions and great on-the-go lunch options.”
An important part of your marketing mix
You should be able to change your OPT screen messaging from offering a morning coffee special to promoting a sandwich special to meet these daily peaks. You should also be able to put smiles on your customers faces by dishing up on-the-spot changes if there is a sudden downpour, heatwave or local event. The more dynamic you marketing is at the pump the greater the chance you have of converting your fuel customers into spending more.
Instead of thinking of the payment terminal on your pump as purely a functional necessity it should now be considered an important part of your marketing mix with the ability to generate genuine ROI in its’ own right. More than ever before, selling fuel is a numbers game and you should be doing everything you can to have those numbers working in your favor.