In 1888, Bertha Benz, wife of Mercedes Benz co-founder Karl, took a 60-plus-mile round trip from Mannheim to Pforzheim in Germany to showcase the new Benz Patent-Motorwagen. Along the way, she refueled by purchasing benzene from pharmacies foreshadowing the fuel-plus-convenience stores of today. The first such dual-purpose store opened in 1913 when there were approximately 500,000 vehicles on the roads. Now, about 287.3 million registered vehicles in the U.S. fuel up every day and the added extras drivers pay for include everything from basic groceries to freshly brewed coffee.
Gone are the days when fuel stations were closed on Sundays and after 5pm. The industry has long realized the need to be open 24/7 and to enable consumers grab-and-go convenience. But Fuel and Convenience retailers are challenged to keep up with an increasingly decentralized payments infrastructure; limitations imposed by service providers; and regulatory complexities of managing face-to-face payments across different channels and countries.
This is why AEVI introduced a cloud-hosted payment management system that allows retailers to provide customers complete autonomy to pay at the station, when they want, using whichever payment method they choose. For operators, it means 24-hour revenue generation and reduced costs.
More than a traditional terminal management system (TMS), AEVI has created a full payment management system that integrates:
- Indoor and outdoor terminal endpoint management
- TMS functions
- Payment application configuration and updates
- Gateway, routing, and transaction rules
- Card acceptance management
- Support for mobile and alternative payments
- Data and transaction dashboards
AEVI’s industry-specific solution, AEVI Motion, is point of sale (POS) device-agnostic and acquirer-agnostic, which allows larger Fuel and Convenience retailers to establish a single payment gateway for managing all acquirers and digital payment methods including Mastercard, Visa, Google Pay, Apple Pay and other alternative payment methods like Alipay; mobile and eCommerce. This brings simplicity to payments and allows them to drive down transaction fees with a single solution managing all terminals and payment schemes securely and fast, even enabling cross-border acquiring.
Payments: maximum convenience, maximum return
There are around 135,000 service stations across Europe and 110,000 in the US, supplied by approximately 200 worldwide oil and gas companies. In Europe alone, those stations are responsible for selling 300 million metric tons of diesel and petrol/gasoline. Despite these impressive volumes, the process for handling retail fuel purchase transactions has been fraught with inefficiency, high costs, complexity and lack of cross-border capability.
Typically, Fuel and Convenience retailers work with multiple acquirers in different countries in order to navigate regulation, hence can face excessive fees, costs and inconvenience. AEVI Motion’s open platform routes all transaction through a single gateway and takes away the complexity of payments.
Over the past five years, this sector has faced its greatest-ever disruption and change, thanks to innovations from electric cars and ride-hailing services, to reduced travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pace of evolution is expected to continue for at least the next decade. To maintain market share in this volatile environment, providers have sought to diversify to create an all round service and shopping experience but continue to lag behind the rest of the retail industry in terms of the payments convenience offered to customers.
These retailers have only recently begun to implement mobile payments and loyalty schemes, which consumers have come to expect in other retail segments.
Is fuel now the add-on?
Consumers have access now to all sorts of sophisticated apps to help them find, compare prices, and even pre-purchase from fuel stations. How can retailers compete without falling into the trap of lowest-cost pricing? By reimagining the business as convenience-plus-fuel, rather than fuel-plus convenience.
These days, the forecourt in-store experience you offer is what will help you keep your competitive edge and attract more customers, not how low on fuel price you are prepared to go.
In a 2019 report, consulting firm BCG advised that “fuel retailers must develop a comprehensive response that adjusts the products and services they sell, adapts their network and business model, alters the layout of their service stations and convenience stores, and harnesses new digital tools.”
AEVI Motion’s open platform enables Fuel and Convenience retailers to embrace new opportunities by quickly onboarding new technologies and to connect with digital solution partners. It allows them to transform the payments experience to more seamlessly match the holistic consumer journey in their next-generation service station. Cloud-native, service-based solutions can help retailers implement a truly connected experience spanning POS, back-office, loyalty, payments and digital solution, as well as enabling the smooth routing of payments to multiple end points and simpler, more cost-effective cross-border payments.
“Payments are a key factor in responding to changing customer needs,” says Martin Štefan, SVP AEVI Motion. “Large Fuel & Convenience retail chains are eager to build customer ‘stickiness’ through loyalty programs like fuel discounts and to turn their outlets into destinations through outstanding in-store experiences.”
Our AEVI Motion industry-specific payments gateway solution has provided greater transparency, control and cost management to leading retail chains in Europe and North America, including Total, BP, Shell, OMV, Auchan and EW Eurowag.