Shell UK is focusing on developing food and coffee on the go offers in a bid to fuel growth on its forecourts.
Addressing the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Food, Drink & Agriculture Group last week, Shell UK marketing manager David Wood explained how Shell has spent the past few months transforming the way food and coffee is retailed in its outlets to help drive growth in the face of stiff competition from the multiples.
Shell has identified six core sets of customers, pinpointing ‘road warriors’ as the most important to achieving its long-term goals.
“People who live in their cars, either for their commute or as part of their job, are very important to us – they are very busy and they tend to stop for more than just fuel, with food and coffee at the heart of that,” said Wood. “In 2009, we were very product-focused, but we weren’t as good at offering a retail experience. If we wanted to attract ‘road warriors’ and encourage them to spend more, it was clear that we would have invest in our shop formats and make the stores more appealing and inspirational.
“At Shell our intention is always to provide consumers with fuel that is high quality, in consistent supply and competitively priced, but to maintain profitability and grow our retail business, we needed to do more to encourage people to spend more in-store.
A new Shell store model has now been unveiled and has so far been implemented in more than 100 stores, with the new look set to be in place in over 250 outlets by the end of the year. Next year, Shell will continue to extend the concept to further stores.
The new-look Shell Select Deli2go outlets have “revolutionised customer flow” in forecourt shops, according to Wood, positioning food and coffee at the heart of each outlet. The stores have a much brighter, natural and contemporary feel than previously, with external photos of food and coffee to entice customers on the go and inside, Costa-branded coffee machines and foodservice areas for hot snacks located next to the tills.
“We have now created a much better in-store ambience,” said Wood. “But we are very much focused on sales and growth at these new-look stores. It’s a continual challenge we are fighting, to find growth beyond fuel.”
Shell UK currently has around 900 branded service stations. By the end of the year, this will increase to more than 1,000.