Digital Transformation in Oil & Gas Retail
As conventional fuel retail changes, innovative models that provide for more personalized experiences and flexibility for customers will drive revenues for Oil & Gas retailers. Digital channels can become another platform to communicate and connect with customers.
According to the NACS, half of the time spent inside a convenience store is dependent on the store’s ability to serve. The average gas station consumer takes about 1 minute to select their items and an additional 1 minute to checkout. For most customers, proper convenience is being able to purchase what they need as quickly as possible. Expanding and investing in contactless and faster checkout options has a direct impact on improved in-store customer experience.
Our client, a multinational oil and gas company, planned to implement a self-checkout solution at select stores. MI-GSO | PCUBED San Francisco supported the client in managing the pilot, based on a Test & Learn approach, as well as performing impact and outcome analyses.
The client aimed to optimize purchase efficiency and increase convenience store (c-store) sales while putting customers’ convenience and flexibility first. As part of the Test & Learn approach, a self-checkout was implemented at a few pilot stores. The goal of the pilot was to understand the impact on key strategic focus areas, such as customer experience and operational efficiency. The outcome of the pilot would lead to a future rollout in a broader network of stores.
In today’s market, there are several different self-checkout technologies and methodologies. Implementation of the solution requires both software and hardware updates, and integration of the new checkout technology with existing point of sale (POS) systems, kiosks, cameras, and sensors.
Checkout options for age verified products such as alcohol, tobacco, and lottery tickets, still requires human intervention. As such the new technology needed to make use of proper store layout, as well as integration of cameras and additional sensors. Key success factors for the pilot project included solution reliability, impact on customer experience, and impact on operational efficiency.
MI-GSO | PCUBED was engaged to plan, manage the rollout and communications, and gather data to assess the impact on operations and in-store sales. The program required coordinating activities between multiple teams, external vendors, and partners specializing in different aspects of c-store and fuel retailing.
Approach & Methodology
Many organizations have demonstrated that Test & Learn processes help drive innovation. Our client adopted this agile-minded approach to testing out ideas at a small subset of locations, improving and adapting before cascading. A benefit of this highly iterative process is that it enables a constant flow of revealing insights about customer behavior based on real-time data. This enables new iterations to better target the desired customer experiences.
The first step was to identify the pilot locations and define the objectives of the pilot. The second step required identifying process changes in collaboration with different stakeholders to support the introduction of the new technology. The MI-GSO | PCUBED team then defined the overall implementation plan in alignment with external vendors and other internal teams.
In addition to facilitating communications across the program, our team reported on progress and provided demos to relevant stakeholders.
The team also developed a digital dashboard using data analytics and a business intelligence reporting tool. The new dynamic reports on store-level sales and transaction data automated what was previously too difficult to track manually. This enabled the client to track usage data and assess the impact on sales. Additionally, they could discover inefficiencies and areas for improvement.
MI-GSO | PCUBED provided project management services and data analysis expertise that helped in executing a successful pilot and subsequent scale-up at more locations.
The team established:
- A Test & Learn methodology, including site selection parameters, duration of the pilot, and assessment KPIs.
- A process for incorporating advanced checkouts at stores within the network.
- Digital Dashboards to assess the self-checkout usage and impact on sales.
By facilitating communications and coordinating activities across different teams, departments, and vendors, the M|P team optimized client time and enabled them to focus on innovation and improving customer experience.
@ MI-GSO | PCUBED USA