Oil Company initiative Shell
Shell’s desire to improve customer experience sparked the re-introduction of forecourt attendants on nearly 300 company-owned sites last summer, a move that has hugely impressed motorists.
David Wood, Shell UK’s retail marketing manager, says: "Motorists have responded incredibly positively. We have received thousands of very positive messages from customers thanking Shell and passing on their appreciation for individual attendants. Clearly people love a return to real conversations and help in a world where much of life is becoming mechanised and impersonal.
"We hear a lot from our customers that their time is valuable," adds Wood. "Forecourt attendants helping customers with their refuelling gives motorists time to relax a little bit and to get some more value out of their visit to Shell.
"You can spend money in many different ways to engage customers in your brand, but actually having a one-to-one conversation, via our attendants, is the most powerful way to tell people what we’ve got to offer them."
Highly commended - Maxol
Maxol’s project to create a new brand position and identity earned the oil company a Highly Commended award in the Best Oil Company Initiative category, and there are now 54 forecourts sporting the new Maxol imagery.
Brian Donaldson, chief operating officer at Maxol, says the re-branding programme is continuing at quite a pace: "We’re spending heavily on re-imaging our existing company-owned network and our dealer sites as part of their contract renewal. We expect to have 100 company-owned sites and 125 dealer sites rebranded by the end of 2014."
Maxol is also on the acquisition trail, looking for existing service stations, as well as greenfield and brownfield sites for development. "We are in the middle of a press campaign targeting independent dealers who are looking to sell their business," adds Donaldson.
retailer Champion of the year
Jeremy Clarke made the jump from retail marketing boss of Murco to managing director of Top 50 Indie Motor Fuel Group (MFG) in January 2012, and has already made a big impression.
Among the initiatives he’s introduced have been changing MFG’s forecourt operation from direct managed to commission operator, and the signing of a new shop supply deal with Costcutter.
"Moving from Murco to MFG has enabled me to take the reins of a business bursting with potential in this highly competitive and rapidly changing market," says Jeremy.
"At MFG we operate with a relatively small team, where the results of a fast-moving decision process can be seen quickly, with immediate effects on our business and our profitability.
"Our plans for the future are to grow the business into one of the most dynamic and profitable independent forecourt operators in the UK."
Best range and availability award
Nisa won the Best Range and Availability accolade at the Awards. Raj Krishan, retailer development director at the symbol group, says: "We place huge importance on range and availability in our forecourt members’ stores.
"We recently invested in research into shopper missions which has highlighted three clear segments within the forecourt market transient, essential and convenience. Each of these has a different consumer base and stores need to reflect this. For example, if the store has a transient customer base, more food-to-go products need to be stocked.
"Range and availability go hand in hand and it is important that retailers ensure all products have strong availability at all times. Forecourt retailers must take into consideration the main shopper missions and be committed to providing the correct range to suit this."