Strategies to help fuel retailers get ready for the EV age

Preparing for the rise of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in the fuel and convenience retail market

December 8, 2021
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Strategies to help fuel retailers get ready for the EV age
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Strategies to help fuel retailers get ready for the EV age

The Electric Vehicle (EV) revolution is not in its projection phase anymore. It's here. And for fuel retailers, the rise in EV ownership means that gas stations are competing for a shrinking number of gallons. As fuel and convenience retailers get ready for a new marketplace, they’re in need of a way to integrate EV into their business models and monetize it.

How will EVs impact gas stations and C-stores?

EV companies are aggressively strategizing to make more charging stations available throughout the country. That also entails developing ways to help customers find those charging stations and make it as easy as possible to own and operate an EV without disruption.

The growing EV footprint nationwide can be attributed to big moves by companies like EV charging network EVgo. They’re partnering with General Motors to build 3,250 DC fast-charging stalls in 52 metropolitan markets. Plus, PlugShare is a free EV driver's app that helps 300,000 monthly active users to find charging stations, leave reviews, and connect with other plug-in vehicle owners. In July 2021, EVgo acquired Recargo— the company behind PlugShare. It looks like the wheels are turning.

In the future as fewer people need to go on-site to fill up with fuel, retailers may lose the opportunity to bring customers in-store to sell higher-margin products. A recent Alix Partners report put it well:

"(T)he rise of the EV market is likely to disrupt the economics of existing gas stations by draining revenue and profits related to direct fuel sales, and eliminating the fueling occasion that brings customers into the store. In addition, an increase of EVs on the road will force consumers to visit c-stores and gas stations longer due to charge times — resetting expectations for the fueling environment — and require retailers to make additional investments in their sites."

Industry consensus is that for gas stations and c-stores to stay in the market, they must develop an electrification strategy that optimizes footprint, invest in digital engagement, and renovate existing business models.

Can fuel & convenience retailers benefit from the rise in EVs?

Yes. Now is the time to lay the foundation for future success by making data-driven decisions and leveraging your physical space for more customer engagement. Retailers can diversify their business and increase profits by taking all remaining gallons from competitors in this shrinking market and creating new revenue streams to offset rising costs. Plus, fuel retailers may also plan to become a hub for EV. Explore options for investing in charging stations, and sign with apps like PlugShare so consumers can find you first.

Fuel retailers who want to win the market today need to focus on the factors that compel customers to choose them. Oil and gas are not the main drivers anymore. So, what can fuel and convenience stores offer to meet customers’ evolving needs? Create more opportunities for customers to choose you and stay onsite longer-- for more reasons.

Options include:

  • Personalized Promotions. Providing customers with more value differentiates your site from the competition. You just need to make sure it’s profitable. Think beyond standard loyalty programs, BOGO offers, discounts, and flash or seasonal sales. Today, customers compare prices more than ever and use apps daily to make purchasing decisions. So, go where customers are already engaged. The Upside platform knows where and when customers are looking for food and fuel-- the product that gets people through the doors. The free cashback app improves the customer experience, drives loyalty, promotes repeat business, and guarantees profits.
  • Car Wash: While there are many variables in determining car wash profitability (location, weather patterns, timeline for return on investment), the benefit of an on-site car wash is simply that it brings more customers on-site.
  • Recharge Zone: Retrofit your spaces to allow customers to take advantage of free wifi, have a quick bite, or take a break from driving before the next meeting, errand, or destination. Customers who stay longer, purchase more.

Learn more about how Upside can help you create those new revenue streams and boost your bottom line as the industry dramatically changes. Fill out the form below.

Strategies to help fuel retailers get ready for the EV age

The Upside Team

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The Upside team is made up of data scientists and industry experts who are passionate about delivering empowering content to our readers. With a focus on providing practical insights and meaningful perspectives, we create engaging materials across a wide range of topics. From exploring industry trends and offering expert analysis to sharing useful tips and inspiring ideas, our team works diligently to provide you with the information you need to thrive.

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