If you had spent the last 5 years outside of Australian and just
returned home, the industry-wide changes that have occurred in the service
station industry would be self-evident. Specifically,
the vast majority of fuel retailers in Australia have invested in changing
their service station sites from just being a retail site selling fuel (perhaps
with some ‘chips, chocs and drinks’) to being an integrated retail business
selling fuel, groceries, coffee, prepared food and a range of convenience services
such as pre-paid mobile phone sim cards.
“Our industry has invested large sums of money in recent years to create
a national network of local community retail sites that provide a convenient one-stop
location for Australian consumers to fill up their cars, top up their groceries
and get good food fast”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie.
“And like most retail markets, individual fuel retailers are using
very different retail models that convey very different looks and feels”, said
As evidenced by the findings of the 2019 Monitor of Fuel Consumer
Attitudes that was released by ACAPMA last week (see https://acapmag.com.au/2019/11/australian-service-stations-more-than-just-fuel/), eight out
of 10 consumers are still only buying fuel when they visit a service station.
“The results of our recent research suggest that consumers have
still not recognised the large scale transition that has occurred in our
industry in recent years”, said Mark McKenzie.
A very probable explanation for this fact is the current way we
‘talk’ to consumers. Service stations have, and continue to, attract customers
via the display of our prices on three story price boards that are prominently
positioned at the front of the site.
While this practice allows people to compare prices between fuel
retailers before entering a given site, they reflect a customer conversation
that is wholly price centric.
“In the main, we don’t talk to our customers beyond a big price
board that displays the price of our fuel – and we wonder why many don’t
consider us for groceries and high quality grab and go food”, said Mark
“Our industry must find a way to talk to our customers differently
– not one that continues to be founded in fuel prices”, added Mark McKenzie
“We must find an innovative way to make them aware that we sell value
for money groceries and food products as well as a range of convenience
services – and a new app called EzySt may just be the answer”, said Mark
In an Australian first, a new open digital marketplace for the
petrol-convenience industry called EzySt is set to launch this month.
EzySt is a game-changer: it will enable fuel retailers to publish
special fuel prices and convenience product deals directly to consumers’ mobile
phones. Consumers will then be able to indicate their product preferences, so
retailers can give personalised offers on products that matter most to the
A pilot program involving 40 Puma Energy sites in Perth has just
finished, with several thousand users redeeming fuel and shop deals. Initial
industry feedback and the customer response to this trial has been
pilot provided us with some really interesting insights about our customers,
including their buying preferences and frequency of purchase,” said Alan Plews,
General Manager Retail at Puma Energy.
was also great to see our staff get behind the initiative and feedback from
customers has been really positive as well”, added Alan Plews.
The app is the brainchild of Sydney-based company The Pricing
Project – which is led by former Caltex executives Mick Jarvie and Ben
Everitt, and technologist Damian Funnell. The business has previously launched other
useful fuel industry software such as PriceScape and PriceSync.
“This is all about P+C retailers building a direct
relationship with their customers, communicating their value proposition, and
encouraging loyalty and repeat business,” said Mick Jarvie.
“Motorists are increasingly connected to the digital world and
coming to expect easy access to information about the offers available to them”
said Mick Jarvie.
“While there have been a range of individual fuel purchase apps launched
by different networks, the industry has not developed an app that addresses
this customer need and so we set out to develop one”, added Mick Jarvie
The Pricing Project team saw there was a
particularly strong case for independents as well as majors. Smaller businesses
don’t necessarily have the resources for ‘above the line’ marketing of their
products in the same way as bigger businesses, but even bigger businesses
appear to have struggled to engage customers in discussions about their total
“With EzySt, all market participants are literally
now on the map,” said Mick Jarvie.
Buying group New Sunrise will
participate in EzySt from launch, publishing offers on behalf of New Sunrise member
“In this this dynamic, fast
changing competitive market we need to be smarter about how we communicate with
our customers”, said New Sunrise Managing Director Steve Cardinale.
“Simply having instore
promotions is not enough, we need the ability to connect and reach out to
people driving past our sites who are not aware of the great offers inside the
store”, said Steve Cardinale.
“We also need to understand
who is visiting our stores and how often, and appeal to them directly with
offers both on shop and fuel that will reward them for loyalty – EzySt
enables us to do this and the best part is its use is very straightforward and
accessible”, added Steve Cardinale.
retailer Urbanista – owned by Sydney based Nader Petroleum Group – is also participating
in the EzySt launch.
“The Urbanista team has always tried to push the boundaries of the
traditional P+C business and our team was really impressed by how EzySt can be
used to create bundled petrol-convenience offers and make them instantly known
in the marketplace ” said Manging Director Eddy Nader.
The team behind EzySt believe the app represents a rare ‘win-win’ for
consumers and retailers in a market that is becoming increasingly challenging.
“We want the EzySt experience to be first class not just for motorists
but for retailers setting offers,” said The Pricing Project’s Ben Everitt.
“We’ve worked hard to ensure that almost any form of fuel or convenience
deal can be published in EzySt, and set to be displayed at given times in the
day (e.g. peak hour) or made available over multi-day periods”, added Ben
The EzySt app allows retailers to readily assess the impact and take up of
their offers in real time. If the offer is not bringing in customers, then
changes can made instantly.
The customer segmentation functionality is very powerful. It allows EzySt
users (i.e. consumers) to be grouped in a way that makes sense for individual fuel
retail businesses operating in local markets, with bespoke offers made directly
to chosen market segments.
The EzySt launch will include WA, Qld and NSW, with the rest of
the country to follow shortly afterwards. The app will display the board prices
of all retailers using publicly available information. It is estimated that fuel
and convenience offers will be displayed for approx. 800 – 1,000 sites operated
by participating retailers at launch date.
“EzySt is an open platform that is available to all retailers and,
at least on the face of it, looks to be a critical solution to the challenge of
how we get Australian consumers to recognise that fuel retailers do more than
simply sell fuel – by talking to them in a very different way than just sticking
a price board in their face ”, concluded Mark McKenzie.
More information including registration of interest form can be
found by visiting the EzySt website: www.ezyst.com.au