Smart service stations: digitization as a driver of conversion

Industries are embracing technology and data management to generate even more value in their business models and the oil and gas industry - especially service stations - are no strangers to this phenomenon.

The digital transformation changed the experience at the stations: more speed, agility and a new range of convenience services.

Industries are embracing technology and data management to generate even more value in their business models and the oil and gas industry – especially gas stations – are no strangers to this phenomenon.

On the one hand, different technological tools - such as an ERP for example - provide a more holistic vision of business operations, allowing to optimize resources, reduce costs and maximize profits thanks to the efficient management of customer management, sales, administration and accounting, resources , control of material and products, etc.

On the other hand, gone are the times in which the same employee was in charge of loading fuel and charging the client in an inflexible manner, with the intermediation of physical receipts and long times. Today, payment management systems allow service station managers to control the entire process from a computer or mobile device in a few clicks, which means less time and more efficiency. The automation of the circuit in fact, optimizes the management of the stations and achieve higher levels of satisfaction among customers. 

But also, as part of a comprehensive digital transformation, today one can think of "a connected station" that provides a totally personalized service thanks to the integration of data.

Service stations can today use a series of data capture systems that allow them to analyze the customer (schedules, habits, preferences) and at the same time personalize the user experience of the stations themselves but also of their associated services. The final result? A change that results in customer loyalty and, therefore, more profitability.

It is about taking advantage of digital technologies to offer drivers the services they need, and not just related to cars or fueling. Today, the orderly and systematized use of data aims to provide customers with the best possible experience while at the service station.

The Internet of Things (IoT), for example, allows remote sensing from car washes to lighting, refrigerators or fuel tanks, thus improving their maintenance. In addition, this technology contributes to making service stations more sustainable and efficient, by generating energy savings.

On other occasions, digital technologies serve to achieve simple improvements, but which report a direct benefit: the service centers of the stations increasingly increase the gastronomic offer for customers, so that artificial intelligence, for example, allows data to be crossed to develop a predictive model that, based on attendance hours, can determine the best time to have a certain offer of orders ready (hamburgers, baked breads, among others) so that your customers can take it with them in a few minutes and have the express experience who are looking for this type of shopping experience. 

The digital transformation also reaches a new range of services for the stations. Many oil companies already have apps that allow their customers to pay for fuel charges, make purchases online and use the stations as order pick-up points, or are even key points for shared mobility services. 

From the apps you can also request lunch or dinner or other products from the stores that you can pre-order from mobile applications and pick up in minutes, without getting out of the car or standing in line, just with a QR code. They are even thinking about the installation of patent readers, which will allow the implementation of various commercial actions with the prior authorization of the client, thus raising the level of quality of service that they offer today.

This is the present and the future of service stations. A whole range of services that, thanks to new technologies and digitization, will continue to grow to make life easier for people. 

Julio Cesar Blanco – March 3, 2023

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