Opinion: How P&C can evolve in 2024

The petrol and convenience sector, like many others, is faced with its own set of challenges amid broader retail disruptions. FIS’ Global Innovation Report found that retailers are more likely than average to be facing financial risk, with 89 per cent concerned about rising inflation, and 78 per cent worried about supply chain disruption.

As we enter the new year, economic headwinds are steering consumers towards spending on essential items and adopting a more selective palette. This makes it a necessity for retailers to adapt to evolving consumer preferences and tech innovations. Retail-tech trends are now focused on enhancing customer experience, leveraging AI-driven innovations, and integrating embedded payment solutions. But how and where these are applied is likely to change.

Digital interactions are now the norm for consumers of all ages. While the adoption of ecommerce, smart devices, and social platforms may have traditionally been led by younger generations, it’s clear that older generations are not only catching up but are eager for change.

For the petrol and convenience industry, success in 2024 hinges on strategies that cater to a diverse range of omnichannel shoppers.

Frictionless access to hybrid services like ‘buy online pay in store’ (BOPIS) and click and collect.

The integration of these services is increasingly prevalent and reflects the consumer preference for frictionless access to hybrid services. We have seen joint partnerships between leading petrol and supermarket chains Ampol and Woolworths, facilitating online orders for drivers to easily collect groceries while filling fuel.

Exciting new ways to aid product discovery, price and feature comparison across channels.

Petrol stations and convenience stores can embrace augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) within their mobile apps, providing customers with immersive experiences for discovering new products. Moreover, implementing tools for easy price and feature comparisons across channels can empower consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.

Intuitive tools that help buyers navigate more easily in store e.g. QR codes and apps.

Implementing QR codes and intuitive navigation features within mobile apps can assist customers while in-store. While QR codes can provide additional information about products or promotions, mobile apps can guide customers through the layout of the petrol station and convenience store, improving the overall shopping experience.

Individually personalised offers, promotions and loyalty schemes.

As consumers’ appetite for savings remains strong, brands can benefit by improving their ability to deliver the right offer to the right customer at the right time. The investment into loyalty schemes, promotions and individually personalised offers can provide brands with a competitive edge at a heightened time of store-to-store comparison shopping.

AI-driven content, bot-support and curated offerings.

Integrating AI-driven chatbots can offer real-time support to customers, providing information about products, promotions, and personalised recommendations. Furthermore, AI algorithms can curate offerings based on customer preferences, creating a more tailored and engaging shopping environment.

The right mix of payment choice to help shoppers budget responsibly or one-click and reoccurring payments that support mobile app users.

Payment flexibility, with options to prepay or use apps, digital wallets, contactless payments and cryptocurrency, among others can add an additional layer of convenience and ultimately persuade consumers to become recurring shoppers.

Overall, retailers need to connect not only across digital touchpoints but also across diverse consumer segments. Those who can effectively navigate this landscape will be best positioned to thrive in an increasingly competitive environment.

This article was written by Paul Koopmans, ANZ Vice President, Worldpay from FIS for the Feb/March issue of Convenience & Impulse Retailing magazine.

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