It’s been another busy month as we completed the research on the latest Top 50 Indies listing, which shows a burgeoning group which has grown at the rate of more than 300 sites in the past year (see report on page 20). And of course more growth will come with the conclusion of the sale of Esso’s final tranche of sites and Shell’s disposal of 250 sites, expected to be completed later this year.

Guest speaker at the well-attended dinner to celebrate the publication of the latest Top 50 Indies listing, was David Moss, general manager for Shell’s Retail retail business across Northern Europe and a director of Shell UK. He told retailers that the demand for greater convenience was changing the face of retail, with people looking for ever-more efficient shopping experiences to give them back time to do the things they want to do. But this didn’t necessarily mean a quick in and out visit; it was more a question of offering more products and services under one roof, with a personalised, efficient format and of course, great customer service.

He also said that 25-34 year-olds have a large disposable income which they are willing to spend, provided there is the right shopping environment. They are also extremely influential not just making a decision about their own purchasing, but because they network all the time, they influence others. With most of the younger generation seemingly umbilically attached to their smart phones, it is also extremely relevant that by 2020, experts predict that 50% of all mobile payment transactions will be via a smart phone.

In fact Shell has already taken a leap into this territory in partnering with PayPal to become the first fuels retailer in the UK to offer mobile payment at pumps nationwide, via a phone app (see news page 5). Shell has benefited from feedback it gets from the 25,000 comments a month made on its ’tell Shell’ customer satisfaction survey. There’s no reason why you can’t benefit from that insight too!