Visitors and exhibitors alike were full of praise for this year’s Forecourt Show, which took place last month at the Birmingham NEC.
The Show, which is the UK’s biggest trade-only event dedicated to the forecourt and fuel market, attracted a huge range of visitors who are serious about fuel retailing from supermarket groups including Morrisons and Sainsbury’s to Top 50 Indie forecourts such as Sewell on the go, as well as many single-site operators.
Ben Meech, technical manager at Sainsbury’s, for example, visited The Forecourt Show for the networking opportunities it offered and also to attend the Fuelling the Future panel session. The session, hosted by motoring journalist Quentin Willson, was jam-packed, with standing room only at the back (see News Extra).
Oil companies were also out in force with Shell and BP exhibiting for the first time in a decade alongside Greenergy, Gulf, Harvest Energy, Murco and Phillips 66.
Howard Nunn, BP’s UK sales manager, said the company’s key message for the show was the re-establishment of its core offer to dealers premium fuels; extended fuel card network for fleet cards; Wild Bean franchise; its new ultra-rapid charging offer, Chargemaster; plus the launch of its new loyalty scheme in June.
"The new loyalty scheme will allow us to bring a compelling and rewarding offer that is personalised and reflects BP’s unique combination of convenience retail and high-quality fuels and lubricants. Dealers are pleased and welcome it."
Nunn said there had also been a very good response to Chargemaster, with retailers very keen to talk about it. "The market is still very unclear. But what we are clear about is that to put a charger on a forecourt you need a rapid charger 150kW because the customer mission on a forecourt is so quick."
Ultimately BP’s aim is to service customers whatever fuelling requirement they need, and to work with dealers to support them in extending their offers to bring a consolidated offer that provides dealers with a fuel and non-fuel solution.
"Chargemaster and Wild Bean are the first two of a series of extended non-fuel offers that we’re bringing to market. Wild Bean is currently on 10 dealer sites and we want to add to those numbers."
Premium fuels and a new brand image were key topics on the Phillips 66 stand. "We are showing dealers that we are moving forward, refreshing our brand and adding to our offers with premium fuels," said the company’s retail business manager Oliver Mueller. "The new image will be trialled on 10 sites and will undergo a technical and consumer review mid-year," he said.
"It’s a fresh, clean, professional image which will be more attractive to customers and attract more business."
Mueller also talked about the testing of the new premium diesel and super unleaded fuels, which will be rolled out later in the year with a new Jet Ultra image. "Premium fuels appeal to a very loyal customer base that add value to the sector," he said
Visitors to the show were pleased with what they saw. David Craven-Jones, operations director at Top 50 Indie Sewell on the go, said: "My visit has been very worthwhile. We’ve just done a deal with Air-Serv for their contactless vacuums, air lines and jet washes across our 13 sites."
Exhibitors too were full of praise for the event. Oliver Yeo, founder of Grip Hero, said: "We’ve had countless confirmed orders including a pilot with a supermarket chain." And Justin Wasling, business manager at Euro Car Parts, said: "We’ve had a lot of interest from smaller forecourt owners, which is exactly what we wanted."