As has been proved in other industries, digitally-powered innovations can upend traditional business models. Here is the essence of the digital revolution: Technology enables transformed processes, empowering people to achieve more at greater speed and convenience.
Looking to year 2030, five trends challenge fuels retailers to remain relevant in the marketplace and innovate for success.
New technologies will disrupt established ways of doing business. Connectivity between devices is growing at an unprecedented rate. Gartner estimates that there will be about 250 million connected cars on the road by 2020.1 It doesn’t take a leap of the imagination to see how this trend will affect the industry. As customers plan their travel, increasingly “intelligent” vehicles will take into account traffic and pricing to advise them on refueling sites.
New workforce patterns are emerging. The daily commute may not exist in the form we know today due to co-working through flexible hours and conducting business outside of offices. Simultaneously, the working population is becoming increasingly concentrated: In 2013, there were 28 mega-cities (i.e. cities with populations of more than 10million) worldwide. By 2030, the world is projected to have 41 mega-cities.
The sharing economy will build momentum. People still travel in cars but are using them differently. Increasing urbanization, in combination with the sharing economy, means it is likely car ownership will decrease as more people subscribe to car-sharing services. The sharing economy may well shift fuels retailing from a business-to-consumer to a business-to-business model.
Consumers will expect greater convenience. By 2030, consumers will be increasing powerful in their ability to influence perceptions of a retailer’s brand and quality of service. For fuels retailers, it will be imperative to be the consumers preferred retailer to maintain or improve market share. Emerging organizations are able to analyze customer feedback through online marketplaces and social media, providing valuable insight to fuels retailers.
Fuel choices will diversify. In 2010 the very first mass produced plug-in electric car was launched. A study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that Electric vehicles to be 35% of global new car sales by 2040.3 By Biofuels, natural gas and hydrogen fuel cell technologies will become increasingly viable. This widening array of choices presents an opportunity for fuels retailers to transform themselves to “energy hubs”––in effect, becoming multidisciplinary providers to retain customers and win new business.
Plan to succeed in 2030
To thrive in the digital revolution, fuels retailers need to:
Start with data. Having quick and easy access to information and analytics can help fuels retailers assess customer journeys and personalize offerings to increase loyalty.
Collaborate and innovate. Fuels retailers can also gain by connecting with allies and suppliers to anticipate what is on the horizon and how best to prepare.
Improve agility and speed. Businesses need to be structured in order to identify and act on emerging threats and future-proof their capabilities at sites and head-office locations.
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