Fuelled up for retail

Petrol stations are no more limited to just 'fuel'. They have evolved into convenience hubs catering to the varied needs of motorists like food, dry-cleaning, courier services amongst others. That is where retail takes its next halt!
New shopping destination

Brands trying to increase their presence and recall are exploring new retail destinations to catch the consumer’s eye! Petrol stations happen to be the new destination for setting up your store.

A lot of retailers are exploring this avenue to reach out to their customers. DHL has recently tied-up with BPCL and HPCL for having express outlets; White Tiger has a unique tie-up with HPCL for collection centers at HPCL petrol pumps in Delhi and NCR. Nirulas, In & Out stores, Café Coffee Day, Mc Donald’s and Ferns N Petals etc are a few who have already set out on this journey. 

The rentals at petrol pumps are lower than those of high streets and malls which is one of the reasons making it an attractive destination. There is a great deal of margin on rentals as compared to those of a high street or a mall which enables a retailer to increase his share of profits. Commenting on the same, Chandrashekhar Pitre, Senior Director Marketing, South Asia, DHL Express says, “Opening Express outlets at petrol stations is a cost-effective solution. The petrol stations in comparison to the rentals in high streets and malls are lower by approximately 30-40 per cent.”  

The footfalls in a store at a petrol pump will surely depend upon where the station is located. You will be cashing on the customers who are either hungry or those who forgot a shoe lace or someone who forgot to pick up a little essential thing like a safety pin or a hair pin or even certain cosmetics when it comes to women. Agreeing to this Pitre tells, “This model works out quite efficiently due to good visibility and high footfalls.”

Karan Chabbra, Franchisee, Ferns N Petals who has a shop at petrol pump in Gurgaon says, "I am happy to take a decision to open a shop at the petrol Pump in Gurgaon. This outlet is doing very well as the petrol pump is placed near the corporate offices and the shop also gets remarkable response from the residents around, apart from this the outlet also enjoys the benefit of catering to customers who are on the go and pick up flowers on their way."

Why stores at petrol stations?
With the changing scenario and customer needs, you can never be sure of what all you would be looking at on a petrol station in future. Formats which are of help to people when they are on the go are the ones that will succeed the most. 

Pitre says, “Our business when we shifted shops from high streets to petrol stations has seen a positive change in volumes. There has also been a significant increase in store profitability. The obvious advantages are low investment, faster roll-out, instant reach, improved reach through foot print expansion; you can ride on the footfalls of the petrol-pump and costs saving.” It is easy to anaylse that this is a profitable proposition for a retailer.  

Scenario in the US
The concept of retailing at a petrol station has been definitely an influence of the west where it is very common to find even large size stores making available everything from a needle to clothes to anything you would need under the sky! India is not yet there but is surely speeding up on the concept.  

Convenience and service are critical driving forces for an industry and outlets at petrol stations promise to do just that!

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