Oil&nonOil: from refuelling stations to “multi-service” centres: how the business model is changing

 In EXHIBITION, Oil&nonOil 2021 Verona

A conference organized by Fortech to analyse opportunities and critical aspects

The new business model for service stations was the focal point of the “From service stations to multi-service stations” conference organized by Fortech held on the second day of the 16th Oil&nonOil event. The company’s brand manager, Emanuela Ciuffoli, introduced the topic in terms of “servitization”, in other words, converting service station business from product-centred models to service-centred models. Points of sale are effectively fact becoming multi-energy and multi-service retail centres: in just over eight years, 69% of vehicles will be ‘smart’ cars that exchange data with the outside world,” said Ciuffoli. It will therefore be possible to increase customer loyalty, improve brand reputation by delivering services quickly and create strategic alliances. The critical aspects in this process, according to Fortech, lie in the complexity of the infrastructure and ever-expanding skills and responsibilities.

The person in charge of relations with institutions and local authorities at Unione energie per la mobilità (Unem), Massimiliano Giannocco, on the other hand, recalled that “92% of energy needs in transport is covered by petroleum-based products” and that the average age of the Italian car fleet is among the highest in Europe. He also stressed that the Italian fuel network is particularly capillary and widespread, with over 22,000 service stations. Out of these, only 23% have non-oil business activities. Giannocco defined the network as “obsolete and redundant, with an underdeveloped concept of supplementary services” which should aim towards the creation of “energy points of sale for mobility” with a complete offering of fuels. This context requires regulatory reform to impose national/regional programming in compliance with EU principles which also qualifies the Italian network by bringing it closer to European standards”. Giannocco then highlighted the need to rationalise the network and modernise service stations.

In conclusion, Massimo Banci, sales director at Fortech, highlighted multi-service management of service stations, turning them into mobility centres where oil, markets, car washes, electric charging stations and parking areas converge. “The strategy of embracing new solutions in such service stations must start with entrepreneurs, who know the context and the needs of consumers well,” he explained. Banci also outlined the latest generation smartPOS | Touch management system “designed to manage all the numerous services of a modern point of sale. We have also exported services to the forecourt terminal, thereby becomes multi-service oriented”. Banci added that it is a “single checkout system” with a touch screen monitor and barcode reader for faster payment transactions.