Under somewhat gloomy skies ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie addressed the Retail Media and Convenience World Awards Breakfast held this morning in Sydney. The well attended breakfast was a celebration of the relationship between retailers and supplier partners and sought to delve into the concept of growing and protecting retail convenience and petrol convenience markets. The key message to come from the presenters was the focus on the importance of customer knowledge and customer service.

Lou Jardin from SPAR Australia took the attendees through the often tumultuous, but always exciting and challenging retail experience, from hyper market to corner shop and back again. Lou passionately explained that understanding what your customer wants, and then making sure you are in a position to give it to them could not be underestimated. Lou challenged the room to focus on fundamentals, reminding all that 5 years ago many retailers were really struggling, and those that have survived to enjoy success today have done so because they have watched every dollar in and out, because they have tried new things, but were not afraid to discard those that did not work for them, but above all they focussed on business and customer service fundamentals.

Lou’s comments were echoed by James Lane from Coca-Cola Amatil who outlined the subtle changes in the way consumers are selecting items, primarily a movement to premium or more luxurious versions of staple products. James outlined that while there will always be subtle change in product ranges, packaging and positioning, the key things will remain customer favourites over the years – such as the Coke glass bottle, which has seen significant growth despite its recent 100th birthday.

ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie built on the comments of Lou and James to challenge the attendees further, to peer into the murky future and reimagine what convenience could look like in 20 years. Mark outlined the journey that ACAPMA has been on as an association, and the clear need that was identified for the Association to assist petrol convenience operators in managing the business pressures of today – as well as preparing for the likely future challenges of tomorrow.

Mark took the room through the process that led to the commissioning of the ACAPMA Fuel Retail in 2030 Initiative, which brought together a professional Futurist and industry experts to conceptualise what a “fuel site” could be in the future.

The resulting 3D visualisation of a petrol convenience outlet in 2030 was both challenging and exciting. The saying ‘convenience is local’ is given a future face with the resulting “retail site” looking less like the forecourt of today and more like a community hub comprising shopping, parking, meeting, distribution and socialisation spaces. Click here to watch the video.

The breakfast concluded with the presentation of the much coveted Awards and ACAPMA congratulates all of the winners.