Report finds half of consumers are likely to switch fuel stations for significantly enhanced customer experience; more than half notice advertisements on or around the fuel pump, with almost one-third convinced to enter c-stores as a result.
AUSTIN, TX – October 3, 2023 – Today, Dover Fueling Solutions (DFS), part of Dover Corporation and a leading global provider of advanced customer-focused technologies, services and solutions in the fuel and convenience retail industry, released its second annual Future of Fueling Report. The report explores how consumers' elevated expectations are impacting the fuel and convenience retail sector while investigating the ways cutting-edge innovation can secure customer loyalty.
"In the ever-evolving landscape of fueling and convenience retail, competition continues to grow. Understanding consumer expectations and preferences has become critical to a retailer's success," said Kendra Keller, Vice President and General Manager, North America at Dover Fueling Solutions. "We developed the second annual Future of Fueling Report to uncover the experiences consumers desire, ensuring that we can best support DFS customers with innovative technology, products and solutions that will help them win over new customers and retain frequent fuelers."
The insights gleaned from the Future of Fueling Report reveal five key trends shaping consumer behavior and preference and how fuel and convenience retailers can leverage these insights to enhance it:
1. The Impact of Experience: DFS found that 50% of consumers will likely switch fuel stations if a competitor offers a significantly enhanced customer experience. Data from younger consumers indicates they might be willing to drive further for high-quality service. While location and price remain critical to consumer choice, these findings illustrate stand-out customer experiences as a differentiator for fueling and convenience stores.
2. From Dispenser Media to the C-Store: Over half (51%) of consumers notice advertisements on or around the fuel pump, with close to one-third (32%) saying fuel pump commercials and ads have convinced them to enter a convenience store. That number is higher for younger generations, with nearly half (46%) of Gen Z and millennial consumers citing they are more likely to be swayed into a c-store based on ads shown on or around the pump. Based on these findings, fueling retailers should view their dispensers as prime real estate for displaying media and advertisements.
3. Perceptions of Self-Service Solutions: More than 40% of all consumers are likely to use self-ordering technology for their c-store food and drink purchases. That percentage is higher for younger generations, with Gen Z (57%) and millennials (59%) much keener to do so than Gen Xers (45%) and baby boomers (30%). This enthusiasm sets the stage for fuel stations to forge partnerships with cutting-edge technology providers, enabling them to deliver fast and convenient experiences.
4. Growing Payment Security Concerns: Protecting consumers’ payment data should remain a top priority for all fueling retailers. For the second year in a row, consumers ranked payment security (79%) and speed (73%) as the most valued features. Fuel station owners have a significant opportunity to ease payment concerns, educate consumers on payment security protocols and implement the latest payment and security technologies to attract new customers and retain frequent fuelers.
5. Future Fueling Predictions: Consumers aren’t picturing an unrealistic technology overhaul at gas stations — simply an improvement on their current experiences. Many consumers envision greater convenience while refueling, such as having options for an email or text receipt, a more automated fueling process, and smart pumps that know their preferences without asking. Finally, some consumers believe technology can support gas station features that suit various individuals, abilities and needs.
“With 50% of consumers likely to switch gas stations, delivering exceptional customer experiences is key in retaining and growing your market share, and the Future of Fueling Report has unveiled promising insights into how this can be actioned,” said Scott Negley, Senior Director, Product Management at Dover Fueling Solutions. “By combining crucial services with emerging trends like self-service, advanced payments and tailored pump experiences, retailers can provide the reliable, quick and convenient experiences today's consumers desire.”
DFS surveyed 1,003 consumers in July 2023 to understand the sentiment around the current and future state of gas stations and convenience stores. All respondents were based in the U.S. and represented a sample that reflects U.S. census data regarding age and gender identity.
Click here to read and access the full Future of Fueling Report.