Convenience is king to the consumer, and nowhere does speed and efficiency influence the customer experience more than refueling. Ahead of her session on Revolutionizing Retail Convenience at Retail’s BIG Show 2017, we spoke with Carolyn Yapp, Shell Retail’s general manager of customer transactions, data and marketing, about how the organization is using data insights to streamline the customer experience.
How does the retail business fit in with Shell’s global business strategy?
Our reputation as the leading quality fuel brand has traditionally attracted customers to our Shell forecourts. In recent years Shell has begun to attract more customers for our food-to-go and coffee offerings. So we’ve really begun to see a massive shift in how people view our sites and the offering we can provide.
We are still seen first and foremost as a fuel company, but in the real world it’s the person behind the wheel driving the transaction, so we are constantly looking for new ways to meet those needs, and ensure our offer is tailored to each and every market we are in.
How is Shell using data understanding of the consumer to evolve its strategic approach?
Consumer expectations of convenience retailing are rapidly changing. Gone are the days where convenience was simply about speed, location and price. Time is now the ultimate luxury and shoppers are looking for efficient, high-quality and personalized experiences.
We use a mix of market research data, such as our Five Minute Economy report, and customer loyalty data to gain insight into our customer’s behavior, try to spot trends and help us innovate to provide services that almost preempt our customers’ needs.
When taking a deeper data dive into customer behaviors, what has surprised you about how, when, where and why consumers use Shell’s services?
On an average day more than 30 million people will visit a Shell site, but only about 35 percent of our sales are fuel-only, while almost 50 percent are convenience retail-only.
"On an average day more than 30 million people will visit a Shell site, but only about 35 percent of our sales are fuel-only, while almost 50 percent are convenience retail-only."Carolyn Yapp
We typically see three main types of customer. “Fill up and go” customers want quick, efficient service so they can get fuel and be on their way. Meeting their needs is all about making this simple transaction as quick and easy as possible. “Fuel-plus” customers are there for fuel and something else, such as a sandwich or a drink, as long as there aren’t long lines or other delays. The third segment of people don’t even come for fuel. They aren’t in a hurry and they will happily spend half an hour having a coffee and a sandwich. They want free Wi-Fi, nice seating and somewhere to park.
Each of our sites attract a different mix of these types and it is our goal to provide a tailored retail experience that meets the needs of a unique blend of customers.
Want to learn more about how Shell uses customer insights to inform their strategy? Hear Carolyn Yapp present in a breakout session at Retail’s BIG Show 2017 on January 15.