Driving the Customer Experience

Article Courtesy of forecourttech

Peter van Nauw, Sr. Director Automation & Payment Solutions from Dover Fueling Solutions (DFS), discusses how DFS is enabling the evolution of the customer experience through digital transformation.

DFS Nov 2020 Blog 1

DFS’ Self-Checkout Kiosk, enables customers not only to pay contactless, but to combine fuel and convenience purchases in one self-managed transaction.

Digitization is transforming the fuel industry. Every week, we hear of new technological developments shaping the future of fuel and convenience retail, creating a more streamlined, pleasant and convenient purchasing experience for the end customer.

Recently, Peter van Nauw, Sr. Director Automation & Payment Solutions from Dover Fueling Solutions (DFS), presented at the International Forecourt Standards Forum (IFSF) conference on how DFS is enabling the evolution of the customer experience through digital transformation. In this talk, Peter not only spoke of how digitization is revolutionizing the experience for the end customer, but how it is key to the success of the retailer.

Contactless transactions are now the norm in Europe, but the impact of COVID-19 has sped up the rollout of many contactless payment solutions across the region. Over the past year, thousands of fuel sites have been investing in contactless payment technologies to minimize health and safety risks to their customers. Contactless payment limits have also been increased to help retailers serve their customers for all on site purchases, including their larger fuel spends. The indirect consequence of this is, of course, a faster, more convenient payment experience for the customer, improving their on-site experience and encouraging repeat business. This also means the retailer can facilitate a higher throughput. Combined, these factors ultimately mean greater profit for the fuel retailer.

Statistics gathered from have found approximately 33% of shoppers will abandon a purchase if they are required to wait more than seven minutes to complete the transaction, with a whopping 50% of potential customers avoiding stores with long queues.

These facts, coupled with the finding that over 73% of shoppers prefer to pay using self-service technologies, have led DFS to go one step further.

In February 2020, DFS launched its Self-Checkout Kiosk, which enables customers not only to pay contactless, but to combine fuel and convenience purchases in one self-managed transaction. This brand-new product not only goes a long way toward improving the customer experience, but contributes further to an increased number of transactions per day for the retailer. Additionally, it frees up in-store staff to focus on other jobs, therefore improving overall site productivity.

There are, however, still huge opportunities for growth in providing outdoor payment solutions, which offer yet another way for customers to pay for their fuel purchases. DFS already offers several outdoor payment solutions, including the Tokheim Crypto VGA outdoor payment system, that is now being enabled with contactless payment, and the use of QR codes for an improved consumer experience. Throughout 2021 and due to the lasting impact of COVID-19, the growth of these products in the market will expand exponentially. DFS already has large scale rollouts planned over the next year.

Keeping to the forecourt, an ever-increasing focus on the environment has led to a boom in electric vehicle (EV), hybrid vehicle (HEV), plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) and battery vehicle (BEV) chargers appearing on site. The consumer is driving change in the industry, and the supplier must provide the solutions to the retailer. DFS has been working on systems that integrate these new chargers with existing point-of-sale equipment, which means their running and service costs are fully accounted for during reconciliation. This includes the set-up and sharing of the tariff, which can be instantly viewed by customers, site staff and the retailer’s head office thanks to cloud-based technology. Sales can also be combined with non-fuel retail purchases, so the customer can benefit from the convenience of paying for everything in a single transaction.

As a supplier, DFS is constantly searching for new ways to integrate new functionalities and technologies into the fuel retail site solution. Maintaining connectivity and
communication between all on-site equipment, as well as the accurate gathering of data from these products, is key to ensuring the success of such solutions. Currently, DFS
can harvest data from a vast range of site equipment and save it in a central “data lake.” Microsoft Power BI can then be utilized to gain unprecedented insight and ultimately track the customer journey, uncovering customer pain points, which can then be used to develop problem-solving solutions and further improve their experience. At the beginning of 2020, DFS entered into a strategic partnership with Microsoft to use this data to develop its cloud-based solutions, leveraging the Microsoft Azure platform.

DFS and Microsoft continue to collaborate on connected solutions that improve the customer and retailer experiences and therefore increasing profitability for the fuel retailer. Additional new digital transformation solutions will be launched in 2021, focusing on wetstock and fleet management, media, promotions and remote monitoring and management. All solutions will leverage IoT connected devices on site, intelligent computing at the edge, and the power of Microsoft Azure in the cloud.

Digital transformation will continue to drive technological developments in the industry, and its growth will only get faster. In September 2020, DFS launched its Anthem UX User Experience platform to the North American market. This platform, which will be introduced to the EMEA region in the near future, is set to revolutionize the industry, and
has already taken the USA by storm.

Anthem is a user experience platform with an intuitive user interface, which provides a new way for fuel retailers to connect with their customers through a flexible, unique content platform. The integrated Anthem platform enables contactless and mobile payment, QR code scanning to enter loyalty schemes and much more. Anthem gives the retailer the power to really drive sales both on the forecourt and in store.

Peter Van Nauw summarized by commenting “Fuel retail sites are evolving rapidly, destined to become a place of convenience for both in-store and non-traditional fuel purchases. Furthermore, the modern consumer is now expecting a more personalized shopping experience and central to this is the creation of preferential brand awareness. The key to making all of this a reality is digitization.”

We really are living in an exciting time for technology and cloud-based solutions. Innovation will continue to evolve at a rapid pace, and we can’t wait to see where the next decade takes us. One thing is for certain: the customer experience will be unrecognizable, and the only way is up for the fuel retailer.

This article originally appeared in forecourttech.