Personally I’ve always been a fan of pay@ pump but the majority of my industry colleagues would maybe disagree.
The reason forecourt operators distrust pay@pump is because the motorist no longer has to enter the shop to pay for their fuel so there is no chance they will purchase anything from the shop. If you apply this logic then there is no argument however, what if we look at this as an opportunity and not as negative! I also acccept that operators who deploy a “contract managers” system would be fearful of this change due to reaction from their retailers.
It’s widely accepted that the majority of petrol forecourt customers purchase fuel only, so why do we still make them enter the shop to pay? Also, during the Covid pandemic, on occasions fuel volumes dropped significantly but at the same time shop sales remained steady. Does this suggest that consumer would still use the shop regardless of the fuel purchases? I think the answer is yes!
In recent years the costs of installing pay@pump have dropped significantly while at the same time the list of benefits has grown. If the motorist only purchases fuel and pays at the pump then, as a result, the store requires less staff or the staff could be doing something more productive. If there’s one certainty in this industry it’s that staff will get more expensive. Another upside is the opportunity for the site to trade unmanned, this would be outside normal trading hours.
CCTV monitoring that facilitates this has been well developed by the hyper-markets which have operated this profitable model unchallenged for decades.
During the pandemic the demand in Ireland for pay@pump has grown significantly and this is against a backdrop of offering some of the greatest forecourt shops in the world. In the US almost every forecourt offers pay@pump and still they have very successful shops.
Now that pay@pump connects directly to the DOMS box I would suggest every forecourt should have at least one pay@pump island. With a challenging decade ahead, I believe it’s time for the sector to focus on their shop offer and allow technology to offer their forecourt customers a better service.