More than half of all forecourts don’t have a cashpoint. A surprising statistic considering the potential business those sites without are missing out on. But does anyone really know quite what the opportunity is? Independent cash machine operator Cardtronics UK and research company Populus have just released their findings on the topic, following some key research with customers who reveal just how much of an attraction a site with a cashpoint is.

’The Value of Cash’ shows that 77% of shoppers consider a cash point on-site as an important service. While petrol naturally draws consumers in cars to the forecourt, a telling statistic is that one in eight (13%) of customers walked to their local forecourt to purchase goods and use in-store services. Furthermore, over half of customers (52%) travelled a mile or less to the forecourt, highlighting the convenience role forecourts play in the wider local community, not just for those looking to purchase fuel.

Jonathan Simpson-Dent, managing director of Cardtronics Europe, said: "We’ve always been given anecdotal evidence to suggest that a cash point is able to offer forecourt managers and operators a boost to their business, but now for the first time, we’ve been able to prove and quantify it. We are pleased to share this customer insight and think it could become a central aspect of the business models for forecourt operators if they are looking to expand and grow."

According to the report, cash machines boost in-store spending with cash machine users, who, among all spenders, are shown to have a higher average spend of £16.39. Those who didn’t use the cash machine spent on average 68p less. What’s more this money is spent on site, with a further £6.08 on average being spent on other services. Significantly those who withdrew money to spend in store, spent on average £13.09 on site.

For many customers, the cash point proved to be an additional pull for repeat visits, with 82% of cash machine users planning their shopping behaviour around the presence of a cashpoint. On top of this, 60% said they wouldn’t come back to the same forecourt if the cash machine was removed or faulty equating to a loss of on average £11.49 per customer who said they wouldn’t return. The report also shows that cashpoint users frequent their local petrol forecourt more than those who don’t use the cash machine, with 76% of users visiting at least once a week, compared with 67% of non-users. Over half (58%) of customers who came to the forecourt to withdraw cash or check their balance via the cash machine said this was their main reason for visiting the forecourt, over and above purchasing petrol.

Overall, usage of other in-store services at petrol forecourts tends to be planned, and to this end, more than one in four (26%) of customers said that the cash machine on-site at that particular forecourt was the one they always use.

"It is perhaps not surprising that in an increasingly time-poor society we want to achieve more than ever when we come to a petrol forecourt," says Simpson-Dent. "By offering a diverse range of services to their customers, petrol forecourts remain a ’one-stop-shop’ for the local community, and cash access is a central part of that customer experience."

case study: MPK Garages

Duncan Morris is the retail services manager for MPK Garages, which operates 25 forecourts up and down the UK. Twenty of these have cash machines installed, according to Duncan.
"We saw a real place for ATMs in the future of forecourts and have been rolling out installations in locations where we’ve seen the demand. "Traditionally, petrol is the main attraction of a forecourt, but in some places people come just to use the cash machine, without getting petrol," he says.
"I guess they’re in a hurry, but it shows the value of offering more than just one thing. Across the board, we tend to see a noticeable increase in footfall after installing the cash points," stresses Duncan.
"People aren’t necessarily buying more petrol, but they’re definitely spending more money in the shops."