Developing technology solutions is how the company intends to keep ahead of the convenience competition.
David Bunch Interview by Essential Retail
Food retailers, in recent years, have had to adapt to changing consumer habits of convenience shopping. The world of energy is changing so much more than retail that Shell is using digital technologies to plan for the future of mobility services.
David Bunch, VP Global Retail of Shell Retail says, “Now we’re improving the sophistication of the ‘for tonight’ offer, we’re partnering with a number of brands and doing a lot of development ourselves to fulfill the mission of ‘food for later’.” Proving the power of its improved convenience offer, Bunch points out that 50% of its customers do not even fuel up when visiting its fuel service stations.
Developing technology solutions is how Bunch intends to keep ahead of the convenience competition. From trialling an Amazon Go-like proposition in China and assessing the possibility of robots to fuel your car so you don’t need to leave your vehicle, to completely rethinking how the traditional Click & Collect model can be integrated with energy services.
While Shell has a number of Click & Collect lockers in its fleet, Bunch isn’t convinced this is all Shell could offer in the world of fulfilment when the brand has such a valuable real estate. “Click & Collect, to be honest, is something we’re learning as we go,” he explains. “There’s a lot more demand than we’re ready to move with at the moment, so we’ve got to figure out how we move forward with that.” He adds: “We have to work out what drives the best economic model to make it sustainable and Click & Collect has a role to play but can’t dominate the entire offer. Would a bank of lockers have more economic value and customer need than an extra coffee machine that’s serving 120 cups a day?”
Several interesting pilots have been delivered by Shell, which has its own internal incubation program, one of which was ‘fuel-to-you’ offer, called ‘Tap Up’, a service that allows mobile app customers to request Shell to travel to them to fuel their car. First tested in the Netherlands, it is now planned to be launched globally, while also offering likely options to combine fulfillment of a bag of groceries at the same time.
By 2040, the government in England announced plans to ban the sale of new diesel and fuel cars, to encourage the take up of electric vehicles. Shell’s electric charging capabilities are being strengthened by the launch of the technology in the next few weeks.
However, the duration of charging an electric vehicle could encourage people to refuel at home. Bunch believes that customers will be more likely to stop at a Shell station to top up their vehicles, if charging is reduced to 10 or so minutes and they will have more reason to do so, if additional services could be enhanced, so that when customers are waiting for their vehicles to charge they can stop for a cup of coffee at a café, pick up their groceries, use a fast-internet connection to do some work or even indulge in a shoulder massage.
“Why should it be a chore to stop if you could make it a pleasurable experience? There’s a number of different possibilities,” he says. Source: Essential Retail PWKD21082017
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