EV numbers are growing, particularly in Norway and the question is what can fuel station operators do about it? The answer according to Circle K is to build a more sustainable business with real ‘purpose’ featuring the largest EV charging station in the World, a sophisticated, healthier food offer and join it all up with the latest interactive digital technology.
According to Circle K, its mission is to become the world’s preferred fuel and convenience retailer. The new store format offers a fantastic customer experience and provides a wide of fresh food options, great coffee and comfy seating with better services. This will ensure more repeat visits and stronger customer loyalty.
Reopened in January 2018 the Rygge highway location will at completion be the world’s largest multi-standard charge-park established with planned 44 Tesla chargers, 20 Ionity chargers in addition to the existing 4 Grønn kontakt chargers. Currently Tesla has deployed 34 chargers and Grønn kontakt 4 on site. This setup will be industry benchmark for deployment of chargeparks at highway sites, serving multi-charge standards for all EV types. The 50+ high capacity chargers enables rapid charging and low waiting times even at peak hours. This is building for the future in Norway, a country where 50%+ of all cars sold are now hybrid or full electric vehicles.
The Rygge site also provides a step change in food service and has won the Norwegian championships in fast, fresh food. Service is second to none and the store reports that it’s not just doing what the competition does a little better but is reinventing forecourt convenience retailing for the modern consumer.
The store exterior features the latest strong Circle K branding and an intuitive open layout, that’s easy to navigate.
The new food experience encompasses a Mexican offer and deli, exciting customers with big eat burritos, tasty tacos and spicy quesadilla, alongside deli fresh sandwiches, healthy subs and salads. It puts great food at the core of the offer, which can all be paid for at innovative self-service checkout solution.
There’s a new look and feel to the physical store too, with a bright, warm and welcoming interior, featuring stripey decor, modern trendy lighting and contemporary seating areas. And the digital store benefits from extensive digital marketing, touchscreen ordering and engaging, interactive digital promotions.
It’s all combined to drive sales with Circle K reporting food and drink sales are up by 25% at Rygge.
The customer feed back is positive stating that the new look store has changed their perceptions of petrol stations and that the store encourages them to relax and spend more time at the location. Others think the food offer looks better quality and is less focused on fast food options. The overall feedback on the redesign is very position, says Circle K: 78% are very likely to revisit, 65% think it meets their needs better than before and 28% rate the store for offering a tempting food selection (based on 600+ interviews).
Younger customers - those aged below 30 - are even more positive in their responses in many areas:
• Agree even more that it has a better atmosphere than other stations (64% agree completely vs 50% for the total sample)
• Agree more that the stations are adapted to young people (64% completely agree vs 49% for total sample)
• Agree more that the stations have a more tempting food selection (70% agree completely vs 53% for the total), that the food is fresher than other gas stations (50% vs 31%)
• They give a better score on the statement ‘a selection that suits me’ (80% agree completely vs 72% for the total and on the flexibility of the menu - 69% vs 53%)
• There is a tendency that they have used the self-service cashier to a larger extent
In summary, the new Circle K Store is ahead of target and launch ready. Overall the concept has been well received and able to create a ‘wow effect’. The overall strategic positioning, the selection and quality of the food, the service and the atmosphere is a clear improvement. This finding is consistent among all customers (including female and regular Circle K clients) and across stations but is even more positively endorsed by younger shoppers.
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