Jan 20, 2022
Six Stand-Out Insights from EdgePetrol’s CEO, Gideon Carroll
The DFS and EdgePetrol partnership provides retail fuel pricing intelligence to independent owners and operators. Together, we will help customers improve their business operations and results. Live volumes, margins and profit numbers give retailers all the data they need to combat market consolidation, aggressive competition and volatile prices.
Gideon Carroll is CEO of EdgePetrol. After qualifying as a chartered accountant, he joined Trafigura in 2009, where he was responsible for finance management across oil products and market risk, specifically for the gasoline desks in London, Mumbai and Geneva, before moving to Gazprom in 2015. With exposure to retail fuel pricing through his gasoline trading experience, Carroll discovered there was a need for access to real-time data across volume, margin and profit to help retailers make better decisions, inspiring him to build and then launch the EdgePetrol product in 2017.
AS YOU REFLECT ON 2021, WHAT DO YOU THINK HAS BEEN THE MOST CRITICAL MOMENT FOR YOUR INDUSTRY?
There are so many to choose from with volatile oil prices, fluctuating volumes and some big market consolidation moves, but the most critical factor for fuel retailers in 2021 has to be focused on supply. In the U.S., the Colonial Pipeline hacking, followed by trucker shortages, has not only changed the way fuel retailers think about security of supply, but also shown the importance of fuel retail to the economy and day-to-day lives of consumers. This shift has also had huge impacts in the U.K., where in September 2021 we suffered a fuel supply shortage for two weeks.
There are some great examples of fuel suppliers and retailers collaborating together to serve their local communities and keep supply flowing. A fuel retailer having real-time data in these times proves critical, now more than ever. We were also pleased to support Sky News and Financial Times with accurate and reliable data at this time.
WE'VE HEARD YOU ARE "CUSTOMER-OBSESSED." HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A FOCUS AND PRIORITIZE THE CUSTOMER WITH THE AMOUNT OF ROADBLOCKS AND CHALLENGES THE INDUSTRY HAS BEEN FACED WITH?
Our partnership with our loyal and supportive user base is the key to everything we do. The “Edge way” is to listen first and ask why, and our task is to turn these conversations into software solutions to solve problems in a changing market for our users. We continue to learn every day from our ever-growing entrepreneurial user base. Someone once told me, “Your first 100 customers in any business should be given the red carpet and VIP treatment.” Now we have surpassed that milestone, our task is to make sure we continue to be “customer-obsessed” and enhance the experience of our users as we scale our business.
LOOKING AHEAD, HOW DO YOU THINK RETAIL FUELERS CAN TRANSFORM THEIR OPERATIONS TO ATTRACT AND RETAIN A NEW GENERATION OF CUSTOMERS WHILE ALSO ADAPTING TO A CHANGING FUEL MIX?
The Energy Information Administration predicts fuel volumes in the U.S. will reduce every year now through to 2050. This means each gallon needs to produce more profit to get the same results. Therefore, a change in operations, whether that is through CAPEX investments on-site (new pumps, facilities, shop, car wash, hot food etc.) or through more intelligent pricing strategies using software like EdgePetrol is needed. Or both!
The fight for volumes is also on, but aggressive fuel pricing is playing less of a factor. We continue to see price as a dominating factor for consumers, which has reduced since 2015, from 72% to 52% in 2020, according to NACS Consumer Fuels Survey. This is because the new generation of consumers buy in a different way, where convenience plays a key role. Social media and advertising platforms, such as DFS’ award-winning Anthem UX™ user experience platform, will have a big say in the outcome of this fight.
The shift to alternative fuels that part of the industry is experiencing is also exciting, and the best-in-class retailers will no doubt turn this into an opportunity. A new commodity can help them diversify their retail offer, real estate and convenience store concept accordingly, and will keep them relevant for a new generation of customers. This won’t be for everyone, but there is some time to go before it has a significant impact, so it will be interesting to see how things develop.
THE INDUSTRY HAS RECENTLY SEEN AN ACCELERATED ADOPTION OF, AND INTEREST IN, DIGITAL INNOVATION. WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THIS? HOW IS EDGEPETROL HELPING CUSTOMERS WITH THIS ADOPTION?
The accelerated adoption of digital innovation is a win-win-win. A win for the industry, a win for fuel retailers and a win for the end consumers of fuel, as this will drive efficiency and experience all the way through the fuel and convenience supply chain.
EdgePetrol is not just a believer in its own solutions, but in encouraging fuel retailers to excel across their business. Our partnership with DFS is clear evidence of that, and as we look to the future, we will strive to combine our offerings to show even more value to our users.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT FOR 2022?
Number one is traveling to the U.S. to meet our new and growing customer base and the EdgePetrol U.S. team! That has been a long-time coming.
Events and in-person meetings returning properly is also really exciting and important. Of course, it is great for us, but the networking and sharing of knowledge across the industry players is beneficial for everyone.
FINALLY, DO YOU HAVE ANY HIDDEN TALENTS?
Believe it or not, I am a bit of a whizz on the saxophone! I am also an avid bike rider. I am yet to try both at the same time though!