Over the past decade, customer experience has been at the heart of revenue growth strategies in just about every industry. From fast-moving sectors such as technology and retail to more conservative industries such as banking and healthcare – customer experience excellence has been shown as a critical factor in why customers choose one brand over another.

One retail segment that hasn’t fared as well is retail fuel and convenience stores. Despite their struggle to provide exceptional customer experience, the opportunity for revenue growth for those gas stations is substantial. A 2017 study by GasBuddy and Cuebig revealed 121 million consumer trips to gas stations that year.

In its December 2018 article entitled “Fueling the Customer Experience,” CSP Daily News makes the case that convenience stores must become a destination. They note: “Gas stations and convenience stores can be unsanitary, inefficient, and years behind in technology. The stations with slow customer service, slim selections in food and beverage, and unhygienic facades won’t last because these stations do not empower the customer. The future gas station should be a destination instead of an inconvenient pit stop. A clean, tech-forward environment will help streamline in-store processes, encourage additional spending by adding new services, and keep customers coming back for more. Gas stations and convenience stores must innovate and digitize to best meet the customer’s needs, leading to increased sales, a transformed reputation, and operational efficiency .”

As gas station owners/operators look beyond clean facilities and digital payment options to improve customer experience, what happens inside their convenience store could make or break their profitability.

In a new study, Canopy to the Store, GasBuddy found that conversion depends on a c-store operator’s ability to meet consumer needs of safety, cleanliness, and hospitality. It has been made even more critical in the aftermath of COVID-19, where consumers are wary of touching dirty pumps, door handles, and retail fixtures. Additionally, consumers show “a strong interest” in specific strategies and promos that can move them from the pumps to the store.

VP Racing Fuels is a lifestyle brand that understands customer experience and has been helping owners/operators of gas stations and convenience stores become a destination for general consumers and automotive enthusiasts alike. VP offers operators access to a program that includes three distinct customer experiences to lure consumers to the pumps and into the c-store to spend.

The first is VP’s fuel program, which is unlike any other. Under the VP program, owners/operators can buy their pump fuel from their choice of fuel distributor (or even purchase directly) to obtain the best deal. Low-cost fuel means a price advantage to sell more gallons at the pump while ensuring consumers get a good deal. According to a 2017 research report by Market Force, 77% of consumers rated price as a key component of choosing a gas station. VP’s fuel program gives operators a competitive advantage. Another experiential component of VP’s fuel program is the ability to sell ultra-premium fuels at the pump, such as VP 101 street legal gasoline, and bulk race fuels such as VP 110 and others, as well as 5-gallon pails of VP’s popular race fuels for amateur racers and automotive enthusiasts alike, either in the store or in a VP Fuel Cube. The combination of selling premium unleaded pump fuel plus various ultra-premium race fuels draws high-value customers to the station and high-margin fuel sales while delivering extraordinary convenience for consumers with motorsport and power sports vehicles.

The second unique offering that VP makes available to its branded gas station customers is the ability to increase revenue inside the c-store from items such as Madditives® (automotive performance additives), 2-cycle and 4-cycle small engine fuels, and VP-branded utility containers and apparel. Excellent merchandising and distribution support plus a recognizable performance brand contribute to incremental profits and better customer experience by bringing one-stop-shop “convenience” back to the c-store.

The third component of VP’s fuel program is its operations and marketing support – two areas where fuel operators may struggle. VP provides access to ultra-low credit card rates, point-of-sale vendors, grand opening and other marketing campaigns, and access to celebrity appearances to enhance customer experience and drive traffic to the location.

The consulting firm, Accenture, notes that “the fuel retailing experience has largely been untouched for decades. Around the world, customers drive to a fueling station, pay for and dispense fuel, and leave. Fuel retailers need to deliver a return on the customer’s physical and digital experience to increase sales through retention and conversion.”

VP Racing Fuels meets the need of today’s gas station owners/operators by offering an alternative to traditional branded programs for improved customer experience and finally making the gas station a destination.