Recently, the American publication Vending Times reported on some interesting news that may increase sales for beverages and other food items as well (link here). Vendgogh, a company that provides “gas island solutions” have come up with a concept where gas consumers can integrate their beverage and snacks purchases with their fuel purchase. The gas pump machine that normally asks the customer which grade of gas they want to fill up and if they want a car wash, can now also be programmed to prompt about purchasing drinks and snacks. As more and more fuel stations are fitted with technology to allow for payment at the pump, these same stations are seeing their basket size decrease with less opportunities to influence the fuel customer. The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) indicates that about half of all gas customers do not go inside the store, and therefore gas stations have half as many opportunities to drive incremental sales. The premise of this concept gives petroleum stations increased opportunities to convert pay-at-the-pump consumers without them ever having to enter the fuel station kiosk or store.
While fuel is the core of this channel’s business, growing the basket size is just as important here as in other channels. Customers may prefer paying at the pump since it’s convenient and quick, but gas owners prefer the customer come inside since there’s many more opportunities to up-sell the customer. Have you bought a beverage or lottery ticket as part of your fuel-up? That likely is a result of suggestive selling by the store clerk. Without the ability to add on beverages, snacks, lottery tickets, or cigarettes, the gas station is only getting base business. And with so many gas stations around, the competition is fierce for the customer’s dollar. Even the same chain will be competing with the next closest gas station in the chain for the same dollars.
Vendgogh’s beverage gas pump unit re-establishes the suggestive selling opportunity for the gas station. By maintaining the customer’s convenience to pay at the pump, the fuel station also has the ability to up-sell beverages and snacks, which drive over 40% of a gas station’s in-store sales. Beverage purchases drive about 25% of the in-store sales, so popular beverage options such as energy drinks, carbonated soft drinks, and bottled water can be expected to be filled in the vending unit.
Gas stations can always rely on one thing: customer trips. There will always be motorists that need to refuel, and therefore provide gas stations with opportunities to influence their refuel purchase. Having a machine to assist in growing the customer’s basket should be a welcome tool across the overall petroleum convenience channel.