Connected Cars: The Future is Now for Gasoline Retailers
Connected car technology increasingly helps consumers choose where and when to buy fuel. This may be key for fuel retailers at a time when sales can be hard-won in an era of depleted gasoline demand.
Advances in mobile technology are speeding up the world and creating a new breed of consumer – one that’s thirsty for on-demand content. That thirst is quenched by instant access to gasoline and diesel prices, traffic updates, movie times, even restaurant reservations.
There’s no denying that today’s consumers want to make more informed purchasing decisions. Everyone wants a deal, and any merchant resistant to or late in adapting to this new buying culture may be left behind. This is even more critically important to fuel retailers facing the long-term trend of lower same-store fuel sales due to rising fuel efficiency – not to mention more teleworking.
Location, Location, Location (and Gasoline Prices) Are Key
The price of fuel and the location of a station are the two most important characteristics in a purchasing decision. The convenience store and fuel retailer organization NACS calculates that 81% of all customer visits to buy fuel are driven by one of those two factors.
Consumers now have many options to shop around prior to purchase, and retailers must make sure their locations are visible to these customers. Otherwise, they risk losing out on both gallons and in-store purchases.
As an aggregator of real-time retail fuel-pricing data and station information, OPIS currently provides this data to a multitude of websites and mobile applications, satisfying growing consumer demand.
Popular navigation applications like Google Maps, Waze, and many others populate their fuel point-of-interest information using OPIS data, making it convenient for consumers to add a stop for fuel on a trip or to determine the lowest- priced station along their daily commute.
While many consumers rely on their smartphone or websites to provide them with this information, the real game-changer for fuel retailers is the connected car, where drivers have access to all this information directly in the onboard entertainment system.
Connected Cars Are no Longer the future – They Are the Now
By the year 2025, every new vehicle sold in the United States will be connected, according to the automotive division of OPIS parent company IHS Markit. Additionally, almost two-thirds of all vehicles owned and operated by American consumers will be connected by that point in time – an estimated 201 million cars.
In many vehicles, consumers already have an in-car experience built around making purchasing decisions for fuel. OPIS estimates that real-time retail fuel pricing data and location information is available in approximately 30 million vehicles currently on the road in the United States.
More and more models of cars are adding this type of data delivery service. Ford was one of the first manufacturers to display OPIS retail prices on its dashboard screens via SiriusXM Travel Link, and others have followed suit. OPIS retail pricing data can be found in Ford, Toyota, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and many other brands of vehicles, with more coming online each year.
If a fuel retailer’s pricing data is out-of-date in the OPIS database, many of these automotive brands opt not to show the station as an option to the driver. So, it’s important for retailers to stay connected.
Can the Car Become the Card?
Viewing station listings with current fuel prices is the most common experience in a connected car today, but innovations are changing that in a hurry. Many companies are realizing the power connected vehicles hold and the impact it can make on their business.
According to a September 2016 report titled “Monetizing car data,” McKinsey & Company estimates that connected-car data and services could generate $750 billion in global revenue by 2030.
Many innovations in the connected car industry are focused on consumer experience, attempting to provide next-level convenience for drivers. Xevo by Lear offers the Xevo Market platform that enables consumers to interact with merchant brands directly through the touchscreens of their vehicles and companion smartphone applications. Through Xevo Market, a customer can make reservations, find locations, and even order and pre-pay for carryout from many merchants nationwide.
To connect your station’s gasoline and diesel prices, click below to contact OPIS