Over the past decade, the sudden influx and growth of smartphone usage has forced a response from the retail industry. However, for the Fuel and Convenience sector, we have seen a more cautious approach. On the whole, it is largely due to regulation and the use mobile phones on the forecourt, but as phone safety has improved, regulations have begun to adapt.
One of the biggest challenges we hear when selling Cloudics is the response, “We already have an app.” There are apps and then there are apps. The biggest challenge of all is retail companies thinking it is cheaper and easier to build their own app, and this is not something new. Many companies in the past tried to make their own point of sale. Many companies tried to make their own back-office system. We know of some companies who tried to make their own fuel controller!
The vast majority failed, discovering that the development was more costly than envisioned, that development leads and IT Managers lead the scope, and then left the company with a huge amount of technical debt which nobody else could pick up. Companies found themselves struggling to keep pace with multi-region retailers because of the experience and features they were bringing into the standard solution.
Then there was the big one. Security investment was not as good as planned, causing leaks of data, and even fraud.
Today, when we speak to retailers who claim to already have apps, they usually have something basic, something to show fuel pricing and maybe some loyalty details. They claim they are not interested in investing further because they are not seeing the customer uptake they expected, or that people download but don’t use. But does that mean that apps don’t work, or does it mean your app doesn’t work? In fact, for Cloudics, every seventh fuelling is performed via our mobile payment app in Estonia and we are able to activate 80% of users who download the app through campaigns.
Some retailers have tried to find a way to enable pay at pump, but interacting with fuel controllers can be tricky, especially if you have multiple brands across your estate. The way around that? A QR code on the pump and enable post-pay. Good idea? Sure, if you don’t mind your customers being forced to sign 3d Secure every month. If you don’t mind your customers sometimes driving off thinking they’ve paid. Sure, if you don’t mind huge unsightly QR codes everywhere. Sure, if you don’t mind the risk!
Cloudics touches every single element of the forecourt retail experience from one single app. Pay for fuel, order food, sign up to the coffee club, even the car wash subscription, charge your EV, scan your shopping, add time to your jet wash, add tokens to your vacuum time, shop and fuel anytime, interact with the store.
Developing a solution that does all that and more, and simply works, takes time, money and effort. The long-time costs of maintaining the solution, making sure it works on the new iOS version, or the new Android, whilst maintaining backwards compatibility, requires dedicated teams. And that is why most apps out there, simply don’t attract the users, because there is no user experience.
So now is the time to start thinking about your next generation of app.
Now is the time to think about how to interact better with the customer. Now is the time to look at ways to get the customer who always pays at the pump, to come inside the store for a coffee. Now is the time to monetize your EV experience, and convince the customer to order some food from the car, instead of just watching Netflix.
Now is the time to move to Cloudics.
For more information, visit: www.cloudics.com